Catalina Delgado Rojas
State-sponsored memorialization and symbolic reparation in Colombia: museums and memorials in an ongoing armed conflict society
After more than forty years, in 2011 the Colombian Government passed the first legislation to recognize the country’s ongoing internal conflict. The Victims and Land Restitution Law (1448) allowed the creation of a legal framework to repair the victims. Five years later, the signing of the Peace Agreement in November 2016 ended more than 52 years of war between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia People’s Army and the Colombian Government.
Museums, memorials and artistic practices have been awarded an important role in the dissemination of historical memory and as symbolic reparations to the victims. The Law 1448 included the creation of a Museum of Memory with the objective of strengthening the collective memory. In addition, symbolic reparations have been enforced as part of judicial sentences to redress the victims. Subsequently, the Peace Agreement contemplated the construction three monuments in honour of the victims using the 8,900 firearms handed in by the ex-guerrilla.
Both the Law and the Peace Treaty adopted a transitional and restorative justice approach, having a major influence on how these cultural institutions and memorials represent Colombia’s conflict. My research aims to understand, through a case study approach, how state-sponsored cultural institutions and symbolic reparation projects create and promote conflict memorialization and peacebuilding actions while guarantying the victims’ rights of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-repetition.
I hold a BA in Political Science and a master's degree in Social Anthropology from the University of the Andes. I recently graduated from a MA in Museology and Heritage Management at the National University of Colombia.
As a researcher, I have conducted studies on women and anthropology of the body; historic and public art heritage in Colombia; art archives; women artist's biographies; and gender approach in Latin American museums. My first master’s dissertation approached the different perspectives to research the female athletic body when participating in traditionally conceived masculine sports. My second thesis on the Gender Approach in Museums: a comparative study between Mexico and Colombia explored the gender approach strategies or the lack of it in cultural institutions.
As an independent cultural entrepreneur, I have worked in museums such as the National Museum of Colombia developing educational workshops or curating exhibitions such as Op de fiest at the International Book Fair in Bogota. I have also endeavour community heritage projects like The Pedaling Museum on 26 street. Because socializing academic research in social media is another subject I am interested in; a few months ago, I launched an animated video on Gender approach strategies in Latin-American museums.
In 2018, I worked on the assortment of The Museum of Modern Art's Donation Archive. The same year, I was commissioned by the museum to collaborate with an interview on Gender Perspectives to Conceptual Art in Colombia. Over the past year, I was part of the education and public activities team in Colombia's first counter-monument conceived by Colombian artist Doris Salcedo as a result of the peace agreement with the FARC guerilla group.
Publications and other outputs
- Miradas al arte conceptual en Colombia. Museum of Modern Art. 2018. Commissioned by the Museum to collaborate with an interview on Gender perspectives to Conceptual Art in Colombia. Link to the project.
- Observatorio del patrimonio cultural. Universidad de los Andes. 2017. Academic paper. “Virtual Heritage and Digital Humanities: debates and areas of common ground”. Link to the project.
- Revista de Arquitectura. Universidad de Costa Rica. 2014. Academic paper. “Pedalling Museum Review”. Link to the project.
- Revista de Antropología. Universidad de Costa Rica. 2014. Academic paper. “Regulation, representation and experience of the female athletic body: Three ways of seeing women on the ring”. Link to the project.
- Gender approach in Latin American Museums. Inclusive Museum Conference. 2018. Virtual Lighting Talk.
- The Pedalling Museum. Government Grant Winning proposal 2014. An Online heritage project about the monuments of 26th Street in Bogotá. Link to the project.
- Op de Fiets: the story of how Holland became a cycling nation. 2016. Curator. Bogota’s International Book Fair. Link to the project.