Many congratulations to staff in Iberian and Latin American Studies, who as a teaching team received a Faculty Learning and Teaching Award this month. The award recognized IBLAS’s applied awareness of the diversity and plurality of the geo-political spaces that staff research, which manifests itself notably in the week-long series of events and activities that make up Iberian and Latin American Week. As reported on the MLC blog, IBLAW brings a taster of IBLAS’s shared knowledge and interest in the Hispanic and Lusophone world every year to students, through events that take place at the university and around the city, bringing students in contact with a range of practitioners, creative producers, and their texts, films, books, and music.
Iberian and Latin American Week enriches the curriculum and draws an audience from within the student body, across the University, and around the city. It raises the profile of IBLAS and enhances the student experience, as demonstrated in consistently high student feedback. Thanks to all guests and collaborators who contributed to Iberian and Latin American Week, and many congratulations to staff in IBLAS for this well-deserved award!
Ana Reimao (front row, first from left), Marina Rabadán (front row, second from left), and Niamh Thornton (front row, third from right) representing Iberian and Latin American Studies at the Learning and Teaching Awards
A couple of weeks ago, MLC played host to Iberian and Latin American Week. In this blog, three of our students – Laura McFadden, Rebecca Mayo and Joe Corazón – share their experiences of the week with us.
From Monday 31 October to Sunday 6 November, the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures welcomed a plethora of guests from a wide range of Iberian and South American cultures. The week kicked off with a taste of Basque music, followed by a discussion of the Mexican celebration Día de los muertosand the Galician tradition of Noite dos Calacús, and concluding with another musical showcase, this time of Mexican and Galician songs.
Iberian Week is a great opportunity to get a taste of Spain and Latin America’s vibrant culture. It’s a week jam-packed with poetry workshops, dance lessons, language tasters and much more
On Wednesday, we had to put on our dancing shoes in order to learn a range of Latin moves and grooves. Spanish lecturer Nelson Becerra-Gonzalez stole the dancefloor with his eye-catching cumbia routine, which put everyone in high spirits for the evening’s event. This involved a special performance by Catalan group Jansky, an electroverse duet who combine electro music with the spoken word. The impressive duo’s alternative type of poetry managed to turn The Caledonia pub into a little Catalonia. For a taste of their work, have a look at the following link: https://youtu.be/2yzSiwZ3bKU.
Jansky, performing at The Caledonia
Give everything a go; that’s the whole point of Iberian Week!
As well as bringing the cultures that we study at Liverpool to life, the activities on offer provided more direct support for our language work as well. For example, on Thursday, Blanca González from the University of Manchester gave a workshop entitled ‘Translating Spanish Culture: La Movida’. After introducing us to ‘La Movida’ (a cultural movement that began in Madrid after Franco’s death), we finished the workshop by translating ¿A quién le importa? – a song by Alaska y Dinarama – which was great fun and definitely improved our understanding of the translation process.
Muchas gracias to everyone involved for putting on such a fun, informative and fiesta-filled week.
Staff and students put on their dancing shoes for a salsa session
Overall, the conference discussed the crisis in the Iberian peninsula and its repercussions on contemporary cultural production, especially in literature and the arts.
To give more context, Spain is undergoing a turbulent period, due to the global financial crisis of 2008, but also due to a manifold political crisis that seems far from reaching an end and that involves a range of destabilizing issues, from institutional corruption to geopolitical conflict. The ongoing pro-independence process in Catalonia is on the verge of changing radically the history of the Spanish state and is currently the clearest symptom that Spain never completed fully its formation as a nation-state.
Were there any papers that impressed you particularly?
A couple of the keynote speakers in the conference, such as Dr Joseba Gabilondo or Dr Helena Miguélez-Carballeira, devoted their papers to an analysis and critique of the centralist and homogenizing ideology that still pursues the goal of a uniform Spain and ignores long-held claims for the recognition of its internal national differences.
What was your contribution to the conference?
The context for my paper was the notion that the Basque country is another focus of nationalist conflict within the Spanish state. My contribution engaged with Dr Gabilondo’s suggestion that Basque literature has reached a ‘postnational’ stage. Thus, according to Dr Gabilondo, Basque literature has finally overcome the need to create a ‘national allegory’, namely an empowering image to represent the Basques to the rest of the world. On the contrary, I suggested that the need for such a representation is still as intense as ever, but has reached the point where Basque national identity – probably as any other in this age of globalization – has to be redefined by a radical opening to other identities that sets no clear limits between them anymore.
Iberian and Latin American Week (IBLAW) has become an established part of the annual calendar for IBLAS staff and students. Originally formulated as a celebration of Iberian and Latin American cultures aimed at students, last year we made a deliberate decision to expand it beyond the University and held events in different locations around the city, including the Central Library and the Small Cinema. This year, the activities will be in collaboration with the newly formed Americas Studies Network (ASN), a multidisciplinary network that aims to bring together experts in the study of the Americas. This year’s theme is Fronte(i)ras (boundaries/borders).
As well as activities for students, such as translation and interpreting workshops, a Galician language taster, and a chance to learn about the lyrics of cumbia, a musical style originating in the Caribbean and popular all over Latin America, we will have plenty for the general public.
Some of the highlights this year include a workshop and performance by artist in residence Sebastian H-W, who will be here working on a new script of his full length show Chokolatul. This is a work that responds to the colonial, religious and linguistic influence of chocolate-making in Iberian society and its wider impact throughout European culture. As part of his residency and in collaboration with engage@Liverpool ,Sebastian H-W will give a one day practical cross-culinary workshop with students exploring his research methodology and process.
There will also be two film screenings, one on campus of Yagé is Our Life (Neil White, 2016), and another in the Small Cinema of Sleep Dealer (Alex Rivera, 2008). Yagé is Our Life is a film about the indigenous people of Putumayo, Colombia, their relationship with Yagé (more widely known as the mind-altering herbal drink Ayahuasca), and their perceptions on the commercialisation of their traditional medicine. Sleep Dealer is a science fiction film set in the near future and imagines a world where the Mexican-US border is completely closed and Mexican workers carry out labour in the US using remote-controlled machinery and drones. Following the screening, there will be a roundtable to discuss what the film has to say in the light of the proposals by the US Republican candidate Donald Trump that, if successful, he will build a wall between the two countries. The event takes place just a week before the US presidential election and should lead to a lively discussion.
Further events include talks on Basque culture and music, and Portuguese-Brazilian writing. There will also be a chance to practice your moves on the dancefloor, with a Salsa class with some departmental experts, and a performance by the Catalan group, Janksy, in The Caledonia.
The week concludes with the Peer’s Symposium, at which the significance of Fronte(i)ras in film, literature, music and digital cultures from the Luso-Hispanic world will be discussed.
Join us next week to learn more about the Hispanic and Lusophone world! The full programme is available here.
As part of Modern Languages & Cultures on-going collaborations with South Sefton College, colleagues from Iberian & Latin American Studies have been delivering taster sessions to sixth formers on the school’s campus in Litherland. Co-ordinated by Ms Marina Rabadán-Gómez, the taster sessions this month have focussed on Other Iberian Languages, namely Catalan and Galician, to give the students an idea of the range of languages spoken on the Iberian peninsular, and to encourage further study in modern languages.
Joan Mas Font (l) and Silvia Gonzalez-Barroso (r) with Luz Torres (centre) at South Sefton College
This collaboration is in its second year, after Luz Torres, a Spanish teacher at South Sefton College, began working with Modern Languages and Cultures’ languages teaching team. Ms Torres is currently running a project called LoLa – Love Languages – which involves sixth-form students at the college returning to their primary schools to do some basic Spanish language teaching and encourage young children to consider studying modern foreign languages. The project has now been developed and in semester two, second-year students from Modern Languages and Cultures can spend a time at the college as ‘language assistants’, enthusing the college students in their learning of languages.
Students really enjoyed the tasters as they were an excellent combination between culture and language. It was a fantastic opportunity for students to widen their knowledge about the different languages spoken in Spain
Joan Mas Font delivering his taster session on Catalan
This year’s taster session followed the one delivered last year by Ana Bela Alemeida devoted to Portgueuse. As their final contributions to the life of the department before returning to Spain, Joan Mas Font and Silvia Gonzalez-Barroso delivered taster sessions on Catalan and Galician respectively.
Every year, the Department of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies holds a series of talks, screenings, exhibitions and activities which celebrates the cultural and linguistic diversity of the Iberian Peninsula. Iberian Week is held on South Campus at the University of Liverpool, as well as at cultural and commercial venues across the city such as FACT and Lunya. The event is open to students, staff and the general public alike.
≈ Comments Off on Iberian Week Closing Party | Friday 15 March | Poetry, food and salsa dancing!
Iberian Week closes with a party in the foyer of the Cypress Building from 12pm onwards, where there will by a poetry recital by students of Iberian and Latin American Studies, as well the results of the Twitter microrrelatos competition.
There will be food from Lunya and Café Porto from 1pm, followed shortly after by salsa dancing with Nelson Becerra at 1.30pm.
≈ Comments Off on Iberian Week | Tuesday 12 March | Screening of Chilean film, oral poetry and Basque music
Machuca (Andrés Wood, 1973)
The second day of Iberian Week begins with a screening of the Chilean film Machuca(Andrés Wood, 2004) at 9.45am, 12 Abercromby Square, Walbank Seminar Room 101. The film will be followed by a discussion with the Chilean activist Apolo Santana, survivor of the coup and member of Allende´s government.
In the afternoon, Dr Sizen Yiacoup will be giving a talk entitled ‘Introduction to Medieval Iberian Poetry’, followed by a performance of Castilian Ballads by Professor Roger Wright and Basque music by Itxaso Paya. This event will take place 4pm-6pm in The Bluecoat.