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The invisible city. Mapuche mapping of Santiago de Chile.

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - MAPS-URBE (The invisible city. Mapuche mapping of Santiago de Chile.)

Período documentado: 2019-03-01 hasta 2020-02-29

The research explores experiences of urban space among young indigenous Mapuche living in Santiago de Chile, in order to make visible indigenous subjects whose daily lives, collective concerns and social circumstances are often relegated to the margins of policy making and public interest. It seeks to research the impact of displacement and social exclusion on indigenous youth, as well as offer a means of intervention. The project developed a series of collaborative and participatory methods, including mapping, video and exhibition making, to offer a better understanding of indigenous experiences of the city. The collaborative research offered young Mapuche an opportunity to make an active intervention into public discourse, not only enhancing the understanding of the indigenous relationship with and experience of the urban context, but also providing an ethical framework of empowerment that places collaborative goals at the centre of anthropological research. Establishing a field of inquiry that is of concern, interest and relevance to the research participants has shaped the project’s directions and outputs, giving it a deeper relevance in addressing key social issues in context of multicultural and multi-ethnical relationships. As such, the project significantly contributes to raise public awareness concerning the need of engaged anthropology beyond academic environment.

The outlined overall aim of the project can be divided in three main objectives:

Ob.1: To offer a better understanding of young Mapuche perceptions of the city and it’s representations through a participatory, performative and creative mapping process.
Ob.2: To address the relationship with older and non-Mapuche by opening up a dialogue through the displaying of a 'Mapurbe Map' of Santiago, to be shared with the citizens of the Chilean capital and subsequently with European academia and general public.
Ob.3: To co-construct an innovative methodology, drawing together creative methods and visual anthropology as a means of dissemination that will give the project an extended public life.

Overview of the results:

> MapsUrbe art exhibition (December 2018 - January 2019, Santiago, Chile)
> Site-specific theatre performance 'Santiago Waria, pueblo grande de Winkas' (27 and 28 of December and on the 17, 18, 19 of January 2019, Santiago, Chile)
> Project website: (with two sections dedicated to the exhibition and the performance, including audio and video)
> Book: the book has been conceived as an interactive device, connected to the website and including a written version of the site-specific performance. Drawing together narratives, performances, and artistic representations, and working with and through multiple materials and different authorships, the volume situates in the emerging field of multi-modal ethnography. As an edited collection co-authored with research participants, it represents the most important elaboration of the developed methodology, challenging the boundaries of the anthropological discipline in terms of authorship, participation, and experimental ethnographic methods.
> Additional publications (journal articles)
The work performed from the beginning of the project, seen against the three main project objectives, can be summarised as follows:

The participatory mapping process has been taken forward within a group of young Mapuche artists and activists in Santiago. Through broad use of highly participative and creative mapping practices, a space for the sharing of meanings, memories and imaginations was created, contributing to a better understanding of the Mapuche interpretation and representation of the capital.
Between December 2018 and January 2019 the art exhibition and the site-specific performance ‘Santiago Waria, pueblo grande de Winkas’ were staged in Santiago. In line with the collaborative nature of the project, both events were proposed by the research participants and collectively constructed, constituting what was initially conceived as a ‘final Mapurbe Map of Santiago’ in representing the results of the shared mapping and research process. The exhibition and the performance were highly successful means of dissemination, generating a space for visibility and debate.
Drawing on different methods and disciplines, the researcher has worked in close collaboration with the research participants toward the co-construction of an innovative methodology. As apparent in the project's final results and outcomes, the strength and significance of the developed methodology consists in the inclusion of the arts and creative practices, especially the site-specific theatre performance. The development of this collaborative methodology is at the core of the publications already realised and in process.

Exploitation and dissemination:

The general public has been directly involved in the communication of the research results by using artistic representation and online digital media (social media and project's website), contributing to the research’s understanding outside academia. Seminars have been held by the researcher and the research collaborators at the University of Manchester, Universidad Católica de Chile, University of Cambridge, Ca' Foscari University of Venice, and the research results have been shared at major conferences in the UK, Europe and in Chile (CEAD; RAI; EASA; ASA; SLAS).
The strength of the research consists in the inclusion of artistic practices, especially site-specific art and performance. This draws together anthropology, performance and critical cartography for the analysis and understanding of the urban landscape in its socio-spatial, material and political dimensions. Through a highly interdisciplinary and participative stance, the research brings together the perspectives of an anthropologist with that of indigenous activists and artists, placing at the core of the research the creative ways in which people create precarious spaces for negotiating shared meanings, articulating their experiences, and transforming their realities. The multi-modality of the research makes it a multi-layered composition of voices and materials, as can be seen in the project’s website and book. The use of media and arts as avenues of dissemination to a broad interested audience is generating an impact that will contribute to raise consciousness about anthropology’s capability of addressing socio-political issues, highlighting the critical and reflexive potential of the discipline. Moreover, by contributing to establish interdisciplinary links between anthropology, geography, urbanism and artistic disciplines, the project’s approach, in addition to increasing knowledge about Latin American cities, also opens up a space for future comparative research with other multicultural urban contexts such as European cities.
As a final note, the research results are of key importance in times in which the physical and social spaces of cities play such a pivotal role globally, and in which it is urgent to collaboratively engage with issues such as migration and belonging, diasporic identities, processes of racialisation, and socio-economical inequalities.
Poster of the final Performance in Santiago (January 2019)
Poster of the final Exhibition in Santiago (December 2018 - January 2019)