Kawsay Ukhunchay Curator Wins 2023-2024 Savko Undergraduate Research Grant

A big congratulations to Anais Fernandez Castro, who was recently rewarded with the Savko Undergraduate Research Grant!! Her proposal, “Exploring Religion Through the Lens of Colonial Latin America,” is an ongoing collaborative project with some of her peers that came to fruition while taking History 3100-Colonial Latin American History. Her project will examine the dynamic religious histories taking place during the Colonial period to construct a collaborative anthology that will take shape as a zine. She hopes to create a reference guide for those interested in Religion and Latin American history and encourages us to keep an eye out for when it comes out in a physical form!

Victor Vimos Presents at the Rubén Darío Symposium at the University of Notre Dame

This autumn Victor Vimos presented at the Rubén Darío Symposium at the University of Notre Dame. His presentation drew in part on research on Rituality and Poetry he carries out in the context of the Kawsay Ukhunchay weekly working group. Victor’s analysis for this paper delved into the poetry book Cantos de Vida y Esperanza (1905) by Rubén Darío, looking further into the crisis the poet experiences in the face of the sacred and the action he takes to try to overcome it. Victor’s inquiry centered on Darío’s use of a conceptual conversion of time and space to propose hope as a link of meaning with art. This, Victor argues, signals a ritual turn in its relationship with poetry since it includes cycles of renewal and the expansion of a modern paradigm in which the idea of the sacred tends to become more heterogeneous.

Congratulations to Victor for this exciting contribution to the Symposium!

“Pukllay Pampa: Andean-inspired Time-Spaces for Learning and Unlearning” Article Published!

For the past year, Michelle Wibbelsman and Anaís Fernandez Castro have worked on an article that attempts to capture some of the alternative pedagogies and practices of the Kawsay Ukhunchay Collective. This collaboration started out as a panel presentation at the 2022 Curriculum and Pedagogy Conference in State College, PA, where Anaís was the only undergraduate panelist at the conference. Feedback from participants at that presentation encouraged them to develop their paper toward a publishable article.  

The article titled “Pukllay Pampa: Andean-inspired time spaces for learning and unlearning” came out in published form in October in the Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy! With support from OSU Libraries it is now available online with open-access 

Co-author Anais Fernandez Castro shares some of her thoughts on the experience: 

“I am so grateful to have been able to work alongside Dr. Michelle Wibbelsman. This has been a real catalyst for my academic journey! First, I was part of a panel with Dr. Wibbelsman and Amanda Tobin Ripley (Doctoral student in the Arts Administration, Education and Policy Department), which allowed me to experience conferences from the point of view of presenters. This was the start of really understanding collaboration in academic research projects and allowed me to gain skills that I am now using in my more recent research. After the long hours of work to now seeing the project in published form, I can’t help but be proud of the work I am doing and, prior to this experience, really had no idea that I could do it. This mentorship has allowed me to understand the innerworkings of research rigor culminating in a publication, shedding light on the kind of work I might be interested in pursuing further as I continue my academic journey.” 

Congratulations to Michelle and Anais on this article and for their many contributions to Andean and Amazonian Studies at OSU! 


Kareen Darwich, Undergraduate in Health Sciences Joins the Kawsay Ukhunchay Team

We welcome Kareen Darwich as a new member of our team! She is a third-year undergraduate Health Sciences student, hoping to pursue dentistry. She comes from a science background and is eager to implement this into her undergraduate thesis. Upon joining the team, Kareen remarked upon the contrast between her structured courses in the hard sciences to the alternative learning and unlearning space of the Kawsay Ukhunchay collective. Her Spanish minor and this new dynamic influenced her to pursue work with the Andean and Amazonian Indigenous Art and Cultural Artifacts Research Collection.

In her early weeks as a researcher/curator, she dove into Andean and Amazonian journals, books, and articles on health and wellness from the perspective of indigenous cultures. Other members of the group helped with references and sources that could potentially inform her project. After weeks of searching, the mental and physical maturation a girl goes through as she embarks on womanhood sparked her interest.

As of now, Kareen is researching ways in which indigenous girls are welcomed into the next stage of life. She is exploring the many rituals and beliefs surrounding the changes girls go through during puberty. A series of rare Tukuna bark-cloth pieces from southeast Colombia amond our Collection holdings specifically pertain to girls’ rite-of-passage ceremonies, where the transition from girlhood to womanhood becomes a metaphor for the social well-being of the community. Kareen is also immersing herself in reading about recipes centered on the consumption of guinea pigs during this phase of development, as well as the relationship of women’s cycles with the moon and its phases, which also connects significantly to lunar observations for both agricultural and cultural practices. We look forward to this unfolding research that connects Andean and Amazonian studies, art, and health and wellness!



Kawsay Ukhunchay has its own CV!

As we reflect on our unique model of collaboration, which is experimental, unstructured and purposefully not a class, we have come to wonder what sustains our productivity as a group. 

After all, in this space of learning and unlearning we do not operate according to typical institutional incentives or pressures for academic production. There are no grades or objective assessments, no prescribed outcomes or expectations for producing results or final products, no teacher/student hierarchies, no defined timeframe for development, no tests, no assigned readings, not even a requirement for regular attendance. And yet, participants keep showing up regularly, contributing to projects in self-motivated ways, engaging with our collaborative endeavor, investing significant time, and, in fact, producing more, and often more meaningful work than students in a typical classroom, undergraduate or graduate alike.

We continue to ponder and also celebrate the conspicuous productivity enabled by research approaches centered on playfulness, relationality, interdisciplinary collaboration, emergent processes and critical inquiry.

We are excited to share Kawsay Ukhunchay’s collective CV!   Collection CV 2023 update