New Kawsay Ukhunchay posters in Hagerty

We’ve been sprucing up the atrium space outside of Hagerty 255 (home of the collection) — if you are nearby, come and take a look! Last week kawsay waqaychaqkuna curators created a collective paper weaving as a background for former curator Emily’s design featuring the rainbow anaconda (on the left). The right side is a poster providing more context and information about what Kawsay Ukhunchay is and how it works with departments and collaborators across and beyond OSU!

Reflecting on Our Unlearning Hour: Mask Dialogues

Poster with mask and text for dates and times

During the Fall of 2022, Our Unlearning Hour (OUH), a project within K’acha Willaykuna, has aligned with Dancing with Devils to host weekly Mask DialoguesOUH offers an informal weekly dialogic space open to everyone at OSU (including faculty, instructors, students and staff), as well as anyone within our community, even if unaffiliated with OSU. During the Fall 2022 semester, the Mask Dialogues gather participants to reflect and share experiences and understanding of the pivotal position of masks within global Indigenous arts and cultures, as well as tools for settler colonial and non-Indigenous accomplice-building, through engaging embodied exercises of “unlearning” grounded in decolonial approaches, interdisciplinary methodologies, and Indigenous meaning-making practices on a global scale.

OUH started back in Fall 2019, as a reading group under the name This Decoloniality, meeting in the Fine Arts Library & reading Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang’s ‘Decolonization is not a metaphor’, Walter Mignolo & Catherine Walsh’s book On Decoloniality: Concepts, Analytics, Praxisas well as reflections on the New Red Order film CULTURE CAPTURE: TERMINAL ADDITION, then showing in The Box at the Wex.

The following semester, Spring 2020, Our Unlearning Hour emerged, this time gathering at the Heirloom Cafe & out of which came 6 issues of a newsletter based on our discussions.

Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit & we transitioned to Our Distance Unlearning Hour, meeting on Zoom from Fall 2020 to Spring 2022 (many of these sessions were recorded & can be watched here on our K’acha Willaykuna YouTube channel), with the first year focused on a collaboration with workshops by the Pachaysana Institute in Fall 2020 & Spring 2021.

In Fall 2021, we read & processed together our two K’acha Willaykuna commissions: the Cassandra Press Reader on Blackness, Indigeneity & Erasure (edited by Kandis Williams & Aline Baiana) & the report on the impact of COVID-19 on the Guarani community of the Jaguapiru Reservation in Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil.

Then, for Spring 2022 we had a ‘seed takeover’, as part of Cadine Navarro’s exhibition It Sounds Like Love at Otterbein University’s Frank Gallery.

Across all of these various manifestations, Our Unlearning Hour has been meeting weekly as an informal discussion space to reflect together on two central questions: What does centering global Indigenous arts & humanities look like at a settler colonial land-grab university? What methods can we, non-Indigenous accomplices in dialogue with Indigenous scholars, artists & activists, share to enable a concrete decolonial praxis of unlearning? 

Now, another question remains: what does the future hold for Our Unlearning Hour?

Dancing with Devils Workshop for SPPO Faculty & Grad Students

This December, the kawsay waqaychaqkuna welcomed faculty and graduate students from SPPO to the Dancing with Devils exhibition. The workshop invited participants to experience elements of our pedagogy, inspired by the Andean concept of the pukllay pampa, or playing ground of ideas. The experience was curated to include elements from all of the public engagement we have done with Dancing with Devils this semester, showcasing alternative pedagogies focused on play, creativity, embodied learning, and relationality; offering hands-on mask-making with Play-Doh from our Open House event; select exercises from October’s Pachaysana theater and social change workshop; and an introductory embodiment and movement activity from the workshop we did with the Dance Department. We were also thrilled to welcome folks from ACCAD who demonstrated some of the augmented reality programs they’ve designed with the masks — not to mention a miniature 3d printed diablito! Thanks to all who participated.


Getting into the Archives: Mark Gordon’s Slide Photos

OSU alum Mark Gordon — the donor of the diablada masks currently on view in Dancing with Devils: Latin American Masks Traditions — also donated a trove of archival materials connected to his 1987 field research documenting diablada mask traditinos throughout Latin America. Among the archives are an incredible collection of slide photographs, which have proven a challenge to digitize and share. But we are thrilled to announce that we have cracked it, and have started scanning! Below are three images Gordon took. Stay tuned for more images and context!

Slide photo of diablada mask hanging on a wall

Slide photo of maskmaker working on a diablada mask

Slide photo of maskmaker painting a diablada mask

Dancing with Devils Visual Journaling

Drawings and captions

We are blown away by the thoughtfulness and attention to detail in this visual journal excerpt! OSU English student Katie O’Shaughnessy participated in a class visit to Dancing with Devils: Latin American Masks Traditions this semester in ARTEDUC 2250, Introduction to Art Education, with her instructor Tamryn McDermott, one of our kawsay waqaychaqkuna. Thank you for sharing your work, Katie!

Congratulations To Our Fall 2022 Whitten Scholarship Awardees!

Andean and Amazonian Indigenous Art & Cultural Artifacts Research Collection

Each semester the exceptional work and research that student curators undertake with the Kawsay Ukhunchay: Andean & Amazonian Indigenous Art & Cultural Artifacts Research Collection is recognized through the awarding of the Whitten Andean & Amazonian Studies Scholarship.

Fall 2022 Student Curators

This semester’s awardees, who work under the guidance of Faculty Curator Michelle Wibbelsman, are (from back to front, left to right):

  • Tamryn McDermott (PhD Student in Arts Admin., Education, & Policy)
  • Amanda Tobin Ripley (Graduate Research Associate for the Collection and PhD Student in Arts Admin., Education, & Policy)
  • Cameron Logar (Major: Biochemistry)
  • Julia Allwein (Major: Comparative Studies)
  • Anais Fernandez (Majors: Philosophy, Politics, & Economics and Spanish)
  • Shima Karimi (PhD Student in Latin American Cultural & Literary Studies)
  • Victor Vimos (PhD Student in Latin American Cultural & Literary Studies)
  • Francesca Napoli (Major: Romance Studies; not pictured)

Learn more about these dedicated kawsay waqaychaqkuna (those who safeguard, keep and preserve with cariño and care) here.

Professor Wibbelsman and the curators engage in a unique combination of research, teaching, and outreach. The preparation and installation of the Dancing with Devils: Latin American Masks Traditions exhibition currently on display at the Barnett Center was a major collaborative project of the Fall 2022 student curator cohort. In presenting this impressive undertaking to campus and the public (view the digital appreciation guide), the curators have built a minga by working in community and supporting one another to achieve a shared goal.

Cameron Logar describes how being part of this community has shaped his perceptions of his degree program:

As a Biochemistry major, I have always felt that I am in a bit of an odd space with this work, but it has always been a uniquely enriching place with a wonderful group of people to work with. In truth, working with the collection has allowed me to discover what I truly care about and why my major matters to me in the first place.

In addition to the Dancing with Devils exhibition, the curators have engaged in a host of other recent activities, including regular participation in the Our Unlearning Hour and a data-a-thon, as well as the development of high-quality individual research projects connected to the Collection. The curators have also been hard at work archiving and digitizing fieldwork materials donated by OSU alum Mark Gordon that further contextualize the Dancing with Devils exhibition.

Amanda Tobin Ripley and Anais Fernandez co-presented with Professor Wibbelsman at the Curriculum and Pedagogy Conference at Penn State in October. Amanda describes this opportunity as a highlight of her position as GRA for the Collection this semester:

It was an immense joy to be able to share the pedagogical work of our collective, grounded in the Andean concept of the pulley pampa, with colleagues from across the country. I am proud of the way we challenged traditional norms of academic conferences in our non-hierarchical, dialogical presentation — and in bringing some of the objects from the collection with us for participants to experience directly throughout our conversation. The response from the participants and the editors of the Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy has been encouraging and demonstrates the importance of the work that we do as a collective.

Former GRA for the Collection Tamryn McDermott has been busy with candidacy writing this semester but has remained actively involved with her curator cohort. She put her exhibition installation experience to work and assisted in the hanging of Leonardo Carrizo‘s stunning documentary photography in the Barnett Center Collaboratory space. Tamryn also brought her art education students to the exhibition, where they reflected on the significance of masks and developed professional development activities for other art educators.

As the semester draws to a close, the student curators remain busy with several ongoing projects, including using AirTable to develop a collaborative database, complete with records of objects from the Collection as well as personal stories about experiences with the objects or their imagined histories.

Please join us in congratulating our student curators and thanking them for their many contributions to Andean and Amazonian studies at OSU!

(Originally posted on November 7, 2022 in the Center for Latin American Studies newsletter.)

Reflections on Embodying Unlearning with Daniel Bryan from the Pachaysana Institute

This week, we were thrilled to welcome Daniel Bryan from the Pachaysana Institute to OSU’s campus! Thanks to the Center for Latin American Studies, Daniel was able to spend three days on campus, recruiting students to the Pachaysana study abroad program in Ecuador and facilitating two interactive workshops on unlearning, one on puppet-making and one on embodied movement along the lines of Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed.  

A group of students linking arms

Students participating in the Pachaysana workshop

students making a tree formation with their bodies

Students using their bodies to represent a tree

Kawsay waqaychaqkuna who were able to participate in the embodied unlearning workshop reflected on the experience, sharing how important it was for us to engage in activities that give our bodies practice in doing otherwise. The activities Daniel facilitated invited participants into different kinds of interactions from what might be habitual and taken for granted, providing insight into the ways in which coloniality lives even in our gestures and the ways in which we greet each other (or ignore each other!).  

One of the most impactful activities was a sort of Simon Says game, which functioned not only as an effective ice breaker, bringing laughter and play into the learning experience, but also helped demonstrate how language is an arbitrary system. Daniel would utter commands, but had given us instructions to then do an action that did not match his words: we were to stop when he said “walk,” walk when he said “stop,” clap when he said “jump,” and jump when he said “clap.” The many hesitations, errors, and muttered swear words testified to how difficult it was to break one symbolic system and embrace another. Yet many of us reflected that what was the most profound element was when Daniel asked us to reflect upon the consequences of messing up. He reminded us that he had not imposed any consequences or value judgments on “getting it wrong,” exposing the ways in which we have embodied and self-imposed fears of failure.  

Coming out of the workshop, our question for ourselves, other workshop participants, and Kawsay Ukhunchay is how do we take these lessons into our daily life? How can we amplify and extend the experience so that new patterns of embodiment take hold?  

To read individual student reflections on the experience from students in the Art Education course Visualizing Culture, visit our Testimonials page.  

Presenting at the Curriculum & Pedagogy Conference

Three women posing and smiling

Amanda, Michelle, and Anais after their presentation

When our kawsay waqaychaqkuna saw the call for this year’s annual Curriculum & Pedagogy ConferencePracticing and Cultivating Humanizing Ways of Being in Education in the Pursuit of Social Justice – we knew it would be a perfect opportunity to share our values and pedagogies with a larger audience. The C&P call specified that they “hope to share space and discourse with educators, theorists, artists, students, and activists, as we practice and cultivate ways of being and doing that offer an alternative to white supremacist, normative, and neoliberal stances toward curriculum and pedagogy”; our pedagogies, inspired by Andean and Amazonian epistemologies as embodied in the Kawsay Ukhunchay collection, exemplify alternative ways of being in higher education, and we were thrilled to have our paper accepted and to present at the 2022 conference in State College, PA, at the end of October.  

Michelle, Amanda, and Anais represented the collective together, and strove to trouble the traditional academic conference formats through a dialogic, non-hierarchical presentation format. We even brought some of our collection with us so people could hold the story gourds, see the retablos, touch some weavings as we gathered together and shared our experiences. Our conference paper, titled “Pukllay Pampa: Andean-Inspired Time-Spaces for Learning and Unlearning,” spoke to the ways in which we embrace a pluriversal model of time/space to center relationships with cariño in our work together as curators.  

We are looking forward to adapting the paper for publication – stay tuned! In the meantime, we are sharing our bibliography here: Curriculum and Pedagogy Conf –Pukllay Pampa Presentation.  

Amanda and Anais

Celebrating at dinner after the presentation


Celebrating at dinner after the presentation