©Trustees of the British Museum.
Our staff conducts field research across Central and South America to source ongoing 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 10,000 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 source 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 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.
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 Central and South America 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.
Our case studies provide a view into the intellectual and organic processes involved in the Centre’s development.