Research projects, centres and networks in Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies.
In the latest Research Excellence Framework - REF 2021 - our research in Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies was submitted in Modern Languages and Linguistics (Panel D - Arts and Humanities; Unit of Assessment 26).
The results reaffirm Edinburgh’s position as one of the UK’s leading research universities - third in the UK.
As published in Times Higher Education's REF power ratings, this result is based on the quality and breadth of our research in Modern Languages and Linguistics.
Selected research centres and networks
Research centres and networks range from formal collaborations to informal groups of researchers working together on a theme or challenge.
A number are based in - or are affiliated with - Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies (SPLAS); others are based elsewhere in the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures (LLC), the University of Edinburgh, or the wider academic community, but involve our staff and students.
The groups provide opportunities for researchers at all career stages to work together with partners and stakeholders in organising events, workshopping publications, engaging audiences outside the academy, and exploring ideas for future projects and funding bids.
Involving colleagues in Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies at LLC, the Centre brings together researchers from across the University of Edinburgh working on research related to Latin America.
Spanning a range of disciplines in European, Islamic, American and Asian studies, including medieval literatures and cultures, the Centre brings together around 70 researchers across the University of Edinburgh.
Established by PhD students in European Languages and Cultures in 2017, this collaborative interdisciplinary network brings together researchers working on memory. Originally active through keynote lectures, symposia and film screenings, the network pivoted to podcasting in 2020 and continues to broadcast talks and interviews online. Founders Dr Paul Armstrong Leworthy (German) and Dr Bárbara Fernández Melleda (Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies) are now working at the Universities of Edinburgh and Hong Kong respectively.
Led by Professor Marion Schmid and Dr Fabien Arribert-Narce, this research strand interrogates the theory and practice of ‘intermediality’, that is, the interrelationships between different art forms and their signification. With a particular focus on events, several jointly organised with Meiji University in Tokyo, the strand brings together academics, research students and practitioners to foster exchange and initiate new collaborative projects.
Read an interview with Fabien on our research partnership with Meiji University
Selected research projects
Latin American Indigenous filmmaking is often deemed too artisan, unrefined and difficult for 'global' audiences to grasp. Building on existing work with the Latin American Coordinating Council for Indigenous Film and Media (CLACPI), Indigenous Cinematics brings together diverse disciplines and communities of practice to recentre its significance. The project engages with issues of authorship, language diversity and audiovisual translation. It aims to influence perceptions of film's role in reflecting cultural diversity, and facilitate both public and scholarly access to a more mixed ecology of film form.
Indigenous Cinematics is producing a range of materials, including subtitled films and texts, on the art and act of making film in Indigenous Latin America. In 2020, films selected, translated and subtitled as part of the project were screened at the Smithsonian Institution's Mother Tongue Film Festival in Washington DC. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the project is supporting four Indigenous filmmakers and producers in virtual residencies - a way for them to share, exchange, debate, build and develop new film projects. In addition, the Edinburgh-based screenwriter and filmmaker Armando Bautista García is working on a set of resources exploring the art of creative production in the Mixtec language.
Funded by an Arts and Humanities Research Council (ARHC) Leadership Fellowship: October 2018 to June 2020
LLC team: Dr Charlotte Gleghorn (Principal Investigator)
Nicolás Guillén Landrián was one of only three Afro-Cuban directors active at the Cuban national film institute (ICAIC) in its first decade. Nephew of a revolutionary poet, and son on an attorney who advocated for Camagüey sugar workers, his 35mm film classics include the notoriously-censored Coffea arábiga (1968), which ironized the Havana greenbelt urban agricultural project, unearthing its racialized undertones. After leaving Cuba for the US, Guillén Landrián filmed his final and only audiovisual work in exile, Inside Downtown (2001), a portrait of artists and poets of his generation, including the cult Afro-Cuban poet, Esteban Luis Cárdenas.
In 2020, in conjunction with the Havana Glasgow and Africa in Motion film festivals, Dr Jessica Gordon-Burroughs and Dr Raquel Ribeiro screened these two works together with a 2013 film by Julio Ramos and Raydel Araoz featuring extensive interviews with Guillén Landrián’s widow, the painter Gretel Alfonso. The accompanying panel discussion, streamed live online, featured the researchers in conversation with Julio Ramos. The Memory in Progress project also created a video archive of testimonials from Cuban intellectuals, curators and artists on the meaning of Nicolás Guillén Landrián for the history of Cuban film and future generations of Cuban filmmakers. In 2021, Jessica Gordon-Burroughs was awarded Best Essay in Latin American Visual Culture Studies by the Latin American Studies Association for “The Pixelated Afterlife of Nicolás Guillén Landrián” which looks in particular at Inside Downtown.
Funded by the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures (LLC) Impact Fund
LLC Team: Dr Jessica Gordon-Burroughs, Dr Raquel Ribeiro
Since the mid-20th century, Peruvian women nonfiction filmmakers have been giving voice to the country's disenfranchised populations in documentaries that entwine individual and collective traumas. Currently, they are fostering a thriving nonfiction audio-visual scene with transmedia characteristics and global linkages. Despite the artistic and social impact of this body of work, it has hovered under the historiographic radar. By applying feminist and decolonising frameworks and methodologies to the study of Women’s Nonfiction Filmmaking in Peru, this project seeks to foreground women’s work and resignify Peruvian – and Latin American – film history.
Using active research tools, Dr Isabel Seguí combines oral histories, personal archives and interviews to uncover the hidden and complex scenarios of Peruvian women’s filmmaking and complete a picture of women’s creative involvement in filmmaking at different stages. The project’s interconnected outputs include an academic publication, public engagement, and archive digitalisation, the latter involving the development of an online hub of primary and secondary source documents.
Funded by a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship: September 2020 to August 2023
LLC team: Dr Isabel Seguí (Principal Investigator; Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow at the University of Edinburgh until July 2022, now at the University of Aberdeen )
Postgraduate research and supervision
Doctorate-level study is an opportunity to make an original, positive contribution to research in Spanish, Portuguese & Latin American Studies (SPLAS).
Join our interdisciplinary community and undertake your PhD under the guidance of our experienced and well-published supervisors. We also offer a one year Masters by Research degree, which is a good stepping stone between undergraduate and doctoral study.
Spanish was formally added to the University’s curriculum in 1919 and, in over a century since, has developed into one of the best-established subject areas of its kind in the UK, with teaching and research in Portuguese, Catalan, Spanish and Latin American studies.
Beyond the books
Beyond the Books is a podcast that gives you a behind-the-scenes look at research in the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures and the people who make it happen.
In Series 2 - Episode 4 host Emma Aviet talked to Dr Isabel Seguí, a (then) Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies. Together they discussed Isabel's research on Women’s Nonfiction Filmmaking in Peru, as well as her journey into academia and to securing her Fellowship for 2020 to 2023.