The Cartonera project is part of an action-research on community engagement with the Latin American community in Southwark led by Dr María Soledad Montañez (Research Fellow in Community Engagement, OWRI/IMLR). The engagement project explores creative tools and resources for an effective and sustainable approach to improve service access and engagement by the Latin American community in South London.
Cartonera is a collaborative initiative organised by María Soledad Montañez and Rahul Berry (Translator-in Residence, British Library/IMLR), bringing together two different AHRC projects in England – the AHRC Open World Research Initiative project ‘Cross Language Dynamics: Reshaping Community’ from the Institute of Modern Languages Research, University of London, led by Professor Catherine Davies, and Cartonera Publishing: Relations, meaning and community in movement, led by Dr Lucy Bell (University of Surrey) and Dr Alex Flynn (University of Durham), with the British Library and the third-sector organisation, the Indoamerican Refugee and Migrant Organisation (IRMO), based in Lambeth.
The Cartoneras Community Engagement Project in London is being delivered in partnership with the Latin American Youth Forum (LAYF) from the Indoamerican Refugee and Migration Organisation (IRMO). The LAYF is a youth-led initiative for young people (age 13-19 years old) to become more actively involved in their community. LAYF aims to help participants to maximise their potential and move into education, training and/or employment.
The creative workshops are being delivered every Friday from May to June and will finish with a public exhibition designed and presented by the participants.
The Cartonera Community Engagement Project will explore notions of community, identity and language through a series of workshops, from creative writing to book making. Participants will produce texts (e.g. about their experience of being a Latin American in London) which will then be made into bilingual cartonera books. The workshops will be delivered at a crucial time in history: the United Kingdom’s exit from the EU. This development in political history will have a significant –yet unpredictable- impact on migrant communities in the country.
Participant feedback on the workshops includes:
“This was an excellent workshop- rich in content and very approachable and accessible”
“Brilliant context at the beginning of the event, and excellent accessible hands-on element”
“Brilliant project from some brilliant researchers! And a great exposure to a different side of Latin American culture and cultural production”
“Very well planned and executed! Big thank you to the British Library for offering this!”
“I like the combination of information about current research and hands-on creative activity. It brought the impact of this research area alive”
“Cartoneras is a very important area of grassroots support, both for recycling and literacy. Wonderful to hear about about how Cartoneras developed in Latin America, and how has begun to spread world-wide. This community based initiative embodies values that can benefit all communities whatever their cultural or socioeconomic level. Everyone can recycle, everyone can be creative, everyone can promote literacy and build community”