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Northumbria research explores Afro-Ecuadorian women’s heritage

24th February 2021

Research carried out by Professor Katy Jenkins, Dr Hilary Francis and Dr Inge Boudewijn at Northumbria University, Dr Sofia Zaragocin and Dr Antonia Carcelen-Estrada at Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ) and Juana Francis Bone from Mujeres de Asfalto explores the heritage and lived experiences of Afro-Ecuadorian women. 

The Centre for International Development at Northumbria University is working together with the Universidad San Francisco de Quito and Mujeres de Asfalto (an Ecuadorian NGO) on a project entitled RECLAMA: Harnessing Afro-Ecuadorian Women’s Heritage. This feminist, decolonial research project, set in Esmeraldas on the north coast of Ecuador, explores Afro-Ecuadorian women’s heritage and conceptualisations of sustainable development, alongside themes of racism and natural resource extraction. The project will make use of participatory methodology and draw conceptually on geography and critical history. 

Underpinning the decolonial aims of the project is the central role played by Afro-Ecuadorian women themselves. Acting as peer researchers, a group of fourteen Afro-Ecuadorian women will be supported by the research team as they collect oral history interviews from older women in their communities. The approach to collecting these interviews will be co-designed in a workshop, led by the research team, in March. After interviews are completed, a second series of workshops will be organised, with the aim to produce creative outputs, based on the collected oral histories. These outputs will be exhibited across Esmeraldas in early 2022. Furthermore, the collected oral histories will form a permanent community resource in an archive held by Mujeres de Asfalto. 

Project updates will be published across social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter. The research team will share detailed information as the project progresses, in the form of blog posts and podcasts featuring fragments of life history interviews with research participants. They will also hold online seminars giving in-depth insights into the project and the key project findings.  

RECLAMA: Harnessing Afro-Ecuadorian Women’s Heritage began in 2019. Initial activities have been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The project is funded by the Heritage, Dignity and Violence fund of the British Academy/Global Challenges Research Fund and will run until November 2022. 

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