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Luciana Martins Inaugural Lecture

Venue: Birkbeck Clore Management Centre

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Professor Luciana Martins delivers her inaugural lecture: 'Drawing together: the visual archive of travel in Latin America'


How can we explore the visual archive of travel to recover traces of cross-cultural exchanges and encounters in Latin America? What place does the act of visual documentation have in the culture of scientific observation and collection in the field? How can we re-connect histories of European scientific fieldwork to questions of Indigenous cultural heritage and value? In her inaugural lecture, Professor Luciana Martins explores the multiple lives of the colonial visual archive, considering the transmission, reassembly and re-use of historical collections of drawings, photographs, films and artefacts. Focusing on specific case studies of Europeans who undertook fieldwork in tropical Latin America during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, including British botanist Richard Spruce, Italian artist-ethnographer Guido Boggiani, and the French anthropologist Lévi-Strauss and his wife Dina Dreyfus, she offers new insights into the practices of image-making and collecting in the field, as well as the afterlives of expeditionary collections.



Luciana Martins is Professor of Latin American Visual Cultures within the department of Cultures and Languages at Birkbeck, University of London and Visiting Researcher at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Her books include Tropical Visions in an Age of Empire (co-edited with F. Driver, Chicago 2005) and Photography and Documentary Film in the Making of Modern Brazil (Manchester 2013). She is currently working on a monograph entitled Drawing Together: The Visual Archive of Expeditionary Travel supported by a Leverhulme Research Fellowship (2016-18); and, since 2015, on a Brazil-UK collaborative research programme with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew on the digital repatriation of the biocultural collections of 19th-century botanist Richard Spruce, recently funded by a British Academy Knowledge Frontiers award (2019-20).


This is an hour lecture, followed by a drinks reception 

Please note that while this event is free, booking is required.


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