'Mapping a New Museum' - A book to rethink the role of the museum

22nd June 2022

Edited by Laura Osorio Sunnucks and Jago Cooper, ‘Mapping a New Museum’ showcases projects in Latin America supported by SDCELAR and seeks to rethink the museum’s role in today’s politically conscious world.

Presenting a selection of innovative projects that have taken place in Latin America over the last year, Mapping a New Museum begins to map out possibilities for the future of the global museum.

The projects featured within the pages of this book were all supported by The Santo Domingo Centre of Excellence for Latin American Research (SDCELAR) at the British Museum (BM), with the aim of making the BM’s Latin American collections meaningful to communities in the region and others worldwide.

These projects illustrate how communities manage cultural heritage and, taken together, they suggest that there is also no all-encompassing counter-narrative that can be used to “decolonise” museums. Reflecting on, and experimenting with, the ways that research happens within museum collections, the interdisciplinary collaborations described within these pages have used collections to tell stories that destabilise societal assumptions, whilst also proactively seeking out that which has historically been overlooked.

The result is, the book argues, a research environment that challenges intellectual orthodoxy and values critical and alternative forms of knowledge. Mapping a New Museum contains English and Spanish versions of every chapter, which enables the book to put critical stress on the self-referentiality of Anglophone literature in the field of museum anthropology.

Laura Osorio Sunnucks, head of SDCELAR says:

Mapping a New Museum showcases some of the diverse research carried out with or funded by the Santo Domingo Centre. Some of the research described in the book is about the British Museum’s Latin American collections, while the rest deals with contemporary creative and historical interests in the region. Importantly, most of the contributors in the volume take committed political positions about their research context.

This book seeks to be a sketch for how we might disentangle the colonial relationships that continue to be reinforced by collection research in museums like the British Museum. The contributions show tensions in that effort, as well as the importance of locally specific frameworks and sensibilities. In line with our hope that Centre’s activities are primarily relevant in Latin America, the book is in Spanish as well as English.


You can find the book at this link and read an excerpt here:





    • The Museum as Institution – El museo como institución

Jago Cooper & Laura Osorio Sunnucks


    • Non/Institutional Interventions – Intervenciones no / institucionales

Laura Osorio Sunnucks


1. Paths to the Past through Oca’õ, Agõkabuk and Munduruku Material Culture – Pasos al pasado a través de Oca’õ, Agõkabuk y el material cultural Munduruku

Jair Boro Munduruku


2. Under the shelter: Archaeology in the Caves of Rurópolis, Amazonia, Brazil – Bajo el refugio: arqueología en las cuevas de Rurópolis, Amazonía, Brasil

Vinicius Honorato


3. Colombian Amazon: the Millenary History of Serranía la Lindosa painted on its walls – Amazonia colombiana: la historia milenaria de la Serranía La Lindosa dibujada en sus paredes

Francisco Aceituno, Gaspar Morcote-Ríos, José Iriarte & Mark Robinson


4. Assessing Holocene Coastal Environmental Dynamics in North Western Guyana – Evaluando las dinámicas ambientales de la costa del noroeste de Guyana en el Holoceno

Louisa Daggers


5. A Review of Guyana’s Amerindian Heritage Month on its Twenty-Fifth Anniversary – Una revisión del Mes del Patrimonio Amerindio de Guyana en su vigésimo quinto aniversario

Romona Bennett


6. Afro-Peruvian Zapateo: Ritual, Challenge and Language – Zapateo afroperuano: ritual, desafío y lenguaje

Juan Felipe Miranda Medina & Walter Manrique Cervantes


7. Tomorrow: Presidential Message – Mañana: Mensaje presidencial

Nereida Apaza Mamani


8. Invisible Homeland, an Artist Residency at the British Museum – Pátria invisible, una residencia artística en el Museo Británico

Nereida Apaza Mamani, Laura Osorio Sunnucks & María de las Mercedes Martínez Milantchí


9. Journal of Travel and Tours at the British Museum – Un diario de viajes y recorridos dentro del Museo Británico

Nicolas Grum


10. London “A-Z” – Londres “A-Z”

Nereida Apaza Mamani


11. Huwe Moshi (Coral Snake) – Huwe Moshi (Serpiente Coral)

Sheroanawe Hakiihiwe


12. Untitled – Sin título

Feliciano Lana


13. Digital Repatriation of Biocultural Collections: Connecting Scientific and Indigenous Communities of Knowledge in Amazonia – Repatriación digital de colecciones bioculturales: conectando comunidades científicas e indígenas de conocimiento en la Amazonía

Luciana Martins


14. Genocide Collections at the British Museum: House of Shadows, Basket of Seeds – Colecciones del genocidio en el Museo Británico: casa de sombras, cesto de semillas

Oscar Román-Jitdutjaaño, Alicia Sánchez, Juan Alvaro Echeverri, Ana Maytik Avirama, Laura Osorio Sunnucks, María de las Mercedes Martínez Milantchí & Maria Fernanda Esteban Palma


15. Decolonising the Representation of the Camënsta People at the Museum. Developments in the Bëngbe Benacheng project – Descolonizando la representación del pueblo Camëntsá en el museo. Avances del Proyecto Bëngbe Benacheng

Marcelo Marques Miranda & Jully Acuña Suárez, con el Colectivo Ayentš


16. Unfolding Maya Blue – Descubriendo el Azul Maya

Lorena Ancona


17. Technological Continuity & Innovation through the Archaeology of Mona Island, Puerto Rico – Continuidad tecnológica e innovación a través de la arqueología en la isla de Mona, Puerto Rico

María de las Mercedes Martínez Milantchí


18. Sovereign Practices of a Women’s Agriculture in San Basilio de Palenque, Colombia: “Peanuts taste like heaven to me” – Prácticas soberanas de la agricultura femenina en San Basilio de Palenque, Colombia: “El maní me sabe a cielo”

Amber Henry & Basilia Pérez Márquez


19. Shitikari (Skyscape) – Shitikari (Cielo de estrellas)

Sheroanawe Hakihiiwe


    • Short Epilogue – Breve epílogo

Chris Gosden


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Publications related to women’s and maternal health with Wixárika communities by the author of this exhibition


Gamlin, Jennie B. (2013)
Shame as a barrier to health seeking among indigenous Huichol migrant labourers: An interpretive approach of the “violence continuum” and “authoritative knowledge”
Social Science and Medicine 97 75-81

Gamlin, Jennie B. (2023)
Wixárika Practices of Medical Syncretism: An Ontological Proposal for Health in the Anthropocene
Medical Anthropology Theory 10 (2) 1-26

Gamlin, Jennie B. (2020)
“You see, we women, we can’t talk, we can’t have an opinion…”. The coloniality of gender and childbirth practices in Indigenous Wixárika families
Social Science and Medicine 252, 112912

Jennie Gamlin and David Osrin (2020)
Preventable infant deaths, lone births and lack of registration in Mexican indigenous communities: health care services and the afterlife of colonialism
Ethnicity and Health 25 (7)

Jennie Gamlin and Seth Holmes (2018)
Preventable perinatal deaths in indigenous Wixárika communities: an ethnographic study of pregnancy, childbirth and structural violence BMC
Pregnancy and Childbirth 18 (Article number 243) 2018

Gamlin, Jennie B. and Sarah J Hawkes (2015)
Pregnancy and birth in an Indigenous Huichol community: from structural violence to structural policy responses
Culture, health and sexuality 17 (1)