The Centre for Iberian and Latin American Visual Studies celebrates 10 years

CILAVS, now an established hub for research in the UK and overseas, promotes the best research on the history and theory of visual culture in the Hispanic and Lusophone worlds.

Image credit: Max Aguilera

This year, the Centre for Iberian and Latin American Visual Studies (CILAVS) at Birkbeck celebrates its 10th anniversary. Created in 2007, CILAVS is now an established hub for research networks in the UK and overseas, promoting the best research on the history and theory of visual culture in the Hispanic and Lusophone worlds. In its anniversary year, the Centre will be hosting a special programme of events.

CILAVS has also brought to London some of the most important artists, filmmakers and scholars in the Iberian and Latin American fields: Carlos Monsiváis, Pedro Costa, Luis Camintzer, Roger Bartra, Jean Franco, Cecilia Vicuña and Karim Aïnouz, among many others. It has developed a rich and varied programme of activities including talks, workshops, film screenings and festivals. In their Virtual Museum, you can browse some of the results of these projects, which include the online research resource Latin America in Photography and Film and Weaving Communities of Practice, a searchable database on textiles in the Andes.

Dr Mari Paz Balibrea, the current director of CILAVS, said: “We are very proud that our Centre is going from strength to strength. Our plans to further integrate it as part of our postgraduate taught provision, the prospect of new national and international research and teaching collaborations and the strength of our academic members’ research projects and publications are proof that CILAVS will continue to be at the heart of the School of Arts’ research life and that of Birkbeck as a whole.”

The Centre has enabled collaborative doctoral partnerships with organisations outside of higher education, including the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Royal Society and Victoria and Albert Museum. It has also organised conferences, book launches, exhibitions at Birkbeck’s Peltz Gallery and many other public events in collaboration with other Research Centres in the School of Arts, Birkbeck Institutes and beyond. Over the last 10 years, the Centre has attracted very substantial research grants from AHRC, British Academy, Leverhulme Trust and other bodies, including private donors. The Centre is currently running a virtual exhibition of 10 years of events posters and newsletter covers to give a glimpse of their activities.

Having opened the 2017 programme with a retrospective of avant-garde filmmaker Vivian Ostrovsky in February (with Professor Laura Mulvey as discussant), Professor John Beverley joined the Centre in May to offer a Masterclass on The Politics of Theory, as well as a public lecture on A New Orientalism? The Question of Literature as Such and Islamic Fundamentalism. Professor Beverley’s events mark the beginning of a collaboration with the Department of Hispanic Languages and Literatures at the University of Pittsburgh, including staff teaching exchanges and research partnerships. As part of this collaboration, the year concludes with the international conference Border Subjects/Global Hispanisms on 24-25 November 2017.

Dr Luciana Martins, Director of CILAVS from its founding until 2014 and co-director from 2014-16 with Dr Balibrea, said: “Looking back, it is rewarding to see how our Centre developed over the years, realising how privileged we are to have been able to share ideas and foster research with outstanding colleagues and practitioners in the arts and humanities, both nationally and internationally, reaching out to the creative, cultural and heritage sectors. CILAVS now is the place of reference for studies in the visual cultures of the Hispanic and Lusophone worlds in the UK.”

Further Information