The Centre

Shitikari: Starscape

Sheroanawe Hakiihiwe


©Trustees of the British Museum.

Who We Are?


The Santo Domingo Centre of Excellence for Latin American Research (SDCELAR) at the British Museum is dedicated to developing and supporting collection-based projects by collaborating with communities in Latin America and the Caribbean. In fostering a growing network of heritage communities, researchers, artists, and partners with the Museum, SDCELAR aims to: 

  • Broaden the understanding and visibility of Latin American and Caribbean collections at the British Museum.
  • Cultivate collaborative curatorial practices and collective interpretation with Indigenous, Afro-descendant, and traditional communities in the region.
  • Promote the value, conservation, and self-representation of traditional knowledges and material practices through the shared access and study of collections.
  • Contribute to the documentation of both archaeological and ethnographic materials, bringing together transdisciplinary approaches and contemporary voices. 

What We Do

Mexica-Mixtec wooden mask covered in turquoise mosaic and other precious materials. Am,St.400 ©Trustees of the British Museum 







Our staff conducts field research across Latin America and the Caribbean to identify projects that can expand our understanding of the history of the cultural continent and can contribute to worldwide cultural heritage and museum debates. We build creative connections between Latin America and the British Museum’s collections from that region.

The Museum holds around 62,000 works from Central and South America that span 13,000 years of human history and encapsulate diverse cultural knowledge. We promote the research of these objects and their unique histories, and support activities that show how museum collections can carry and create new meanings as global societies evolve.

We support multi-disciplinary academic and grassroots community research, as well as artistic and alternative forms of critical engagement with collections. In collaboration with collectives from across Latin America and non-profit contemporary art institutions in London, we offer residencies for emerging artists.

The British Museum’s Latin American and Caribbean collections mostly illustrate the interests of British collectors and researchers from the 18th century to the present day. In order to contest and broaden this legacy, as well as to privilege self-representation, the Centre also supports cultural heritage projects in Latin America that are not tied to the collection.

What does the website do?

Munduruku “coifa” style headdress made of macaw feathers. Am1913,1114.93 © Trustees of the British Museum



The Centre encourages self-representation by collaborating with its affiliates to create research dissemination pages for the website. Since museums are frequently criticised for reproducing dominant historical and cultural narratives, this platform also facilitates communication between our affiliate researchers across Latin America and the Caribbean to promote intercultural and multi-directional conversations about cultural heritage.

While the institution develops and manages collections research and intellectual community relationships, the public is often only presented with the final product of these projects. As such, programming in the form of exhibitions and events can create a division between the institution and the public. In this process, the details of museum projects and large parts of the collection remain hidden. This digital platform will present the Centre’s ongoing activities and create a dialogue between the many global communities that are interested in cultural and archaeological heritage.

Explore the map to find the projects that are developed and promoted by SDCELAR



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)