Catalina Delgado Rojas

State-sponsored symbolic reparations. Official memorialization spaces in transitional societies


  • Dr Jenna Ashton
  • Dr Kostas Arvanitis
  • Prof Lucia Sa


This research aims to explore how museums and memorials conceived as official symbolic reparations evolve in transitional societies. Due to their potential to articulate collective memories and promote non-recurrence, they have become recurrent symbolic reparation projects. Nevertheless, due to their complementary role in the reparation system and the vague conceptualization of the term, there are aspects that have yet to be understood. Additionally, as empirical research has demonstrated, the outcome and impact of symbolic reparations are influenced by multiple variables of the context where they are developed. These factors can cause intended and unintended repercussions in the communities they are trying to repair. 

To introduce new insights to the comprehension of official symbolic reparations the study will adopt a complexity approach, prioritizing the context and the different perspectives of stakeholders. This study will focus on the Museum of Memory (Museum of Memory of Colombia) resulting from the transitional legislation Law 1448 (2011) and Fragments the memorial to the victims inaugurated after the Peace Agreement signed between the Colombian government and the FARC-EP ex-guerrilla in 2016.

The results of this research expect to contribute towards the development of a practical framework of symbolic reparations. Thus, this thesis will reflect on the conceptualization of the term in public policy documents; good practices to establish reciprocal relationships between actors; and contributions of official memorialization projects in transitional societies.


Colombian doctoral researcher in Museology at the University of Manchester. I hold an MA in Social Anthropology from the University of the Andes and an MA in Museology and Heritage Management from the National University of Colombia. In the academic field, I have conducted studies on women, sports and anthropology of the body; public art heritage in Colombia; and gender approach in Latin American museums. I also worked as an independent researcher in themes related to conflict, human rights education, and systematization of experiences. As a cultural manager, I have worked in museum education, assorting archives, curating exhibitions and creating heritage projects. In 2018, I worked as the line manager of the education and public activities team in Fragments, the first memorial inaugurated after the Peace Agreement in Colombia. This experience became the basis of my PhD project, which focuses on the evolution of state-sponsored symbolic reparations in transitional societies.  Besides research, I work as a reslife advisor, sporticipate coordinator at UoM and as part of the editorial team of the Cultural Practices Magazine.

Publications and other outputs


  • 2021/04/10. University of Liverpool/ Victims Memory and representation conference / Fragments: a counter-monument to the victims of Colombian Conflict.
  • 2021/04/23. University of Liverpool/Heritage, Memory and Languages symposium /The complexity of Symbolic reparations memorial.
  • 2021/05/14. University of Manchester CLACS/ Latin American studies in the UK symposium/Complexity framework and methodology to analyse symbolic reparations.
  • 2021/06/09. University of Westminster round table / Women’s Experiences of Conflict Gender, Violence, and Representation at the National Museum of Colombia.
  • 2021/09/12.University of Brighton/MECCSA conference: about space/ The Characteristic of symbolic reparation spaces.


  • Complex fragments of a state-sponsored memorial during Colombia’s mass protests. 2021. The Magazine of the Institute for Cultural Practices. Read the article
  • Museums and community support during transitional periods. 2019. The Magazine of the Institute for Cultural Practices. Read the article
  • Gender perspectives to Conceptual Art in ColombiaMuseum of Modern Art. 2018. Read the article.
  • Virtual Heritage and Digital Humanities: debates and areas of common ground Universidad de los Andes. 2017. Read the article. 
  • The Pedalling Museum. Universidad de Costa Rica. 2014. Find out more about the project
  • Regulation, representation and experience of the female athletic body: Three ways of seeing women on the ring. 2014. Read the article.

Cultural projects

  • Gente de Museos: cuidado y autocuidado museológico en tiempos de pandemia. Latin American virtual network of museum practitioners and enthusiasts. 2020. Link to the project.
  • Gender approach in Latin American Museums. Inclusive Museum Conference. 2018Link to the project.
  • The Pedalling Museum. Online heritage project about the monuments of 26th Street in Bogotá. 2014. Link to the project.
  • Op de Fiets: the story of how Holland became a cycling nation. Exhibition at Bogota’s International Book Fair. Link to the project.