Alanis: Film Screening and Panel Discussion
📆 12 June 2024

The Argentine film directed by Anahí Berneri explores the daily challenges faced by a young mother and sex worker living in Buenos Aires. Followed by a panel discussion.  

Alanis is a fiction film that depicts two days in the life of its eponymous protagonist who is a sex worker living in Buenos Aires. At its opening, Alanis and her friend Gissela are evicted from their apartment by the police. Gissela is arrested and treated as though she is Alanis’ handler. Following this, the film portrays Alanis’ struggles to continue working while caring for her 18-month-old son, Dante, without Gissela’s support. The film is motivated by a desire to explore the current legal conjuncture faced by sex workers in Argentina. 

Screening of Alanis

The screening at Kiln Cinema was followed by a panel discussion about the film and the issues it raises. The panel included Dr Erika Teichert (Lecturer in Latin American Studies, University of Bristol), Karoline Pelikan (Documentary Filmmaker and Creative Director of Cine Latino Film Festival), and Dr Rachel Randall (Reader in Latin American Studies at QMUL).

More information about the film here.

Invisible: Film Screening and Panel Discussion
📆 30 May 2024

The film explores the daily challenges faced by domestic workers in Colombia who commute on public transport. Followed by a Q&A session.  

Two domestic workers, Reinalda in Medellín and Belén in Bogotá, explain the challenges they face when travelling on public transport day after day from their own neighbourhoods to the communities where they work. Their long, costly and overcrowded journeys are invisible to their employers and to those that plan the public transport networks. Despite everything, they carry on with characteristic tenacity. Each day they wake up and keep a part of Colombian society going by undertaking a job that is undervalued and underpaid. They fight for a better life – for themselves, for their communities and above all for their children and grandchildren and their co-workers. In Colombia, the contribution of domestic workers has long been invisible, but today they are speaking out. This documentary film is part of the project ‘Invisible Commutes’ that seeks to make domestic workers’ long, and often violent, commutes more visible and to campaign for public transport that takes their needs into account. 

The screening at BLOC Cinema was followed by a panel discussion and audience Q&A about the film and the issues it raises. The panel included Valentina Montoya Robledo (Co-Director and Senior Researcher in Gender and Mobility at the University of Oxford), Sara Mendes (Campaigning Coordinator at the Nanny Solidarity Network), Julio D. Dávila (Professor of Urban Policy and International Development), and Dr Rachel Randall (Reader in Latin American Studies at QMUL).

More information about the project here.

Creative Visual Methods: Practice, Outputs & Engagement
📆 22 May 2024

The workshop took place on QMUL’s Mile End Campus in BLOC, a new state of the art cinema, arts lab and production suite.

Pictures by Gemma Tidman
Pictures by Gemma Tidman

This workshop combined talks and hands-on sessions to enable PGRs and other researchers to develop their understanding and use of creative visual methodologies, including zine making and videographic criticism (video essays). As well as addressing the possibilities and challenges that these methods present, we also considered how zines and video essays can be developed into research outputs that permit alternative forms of engagement with different audiences.

Our speakers were Professor Catherine Grant (Independent Video-Artist Scholar) and Dr Andrea Aramburú Villavisencio (IASH Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Edinburgh).

This event is being funded by the London Arts & Humanities Partnership (LAHP) and by an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Research, Development and Engagement Fellowship. The participants were 22 attendees from institutions including QMUL, SAS, LSE, KCL, UCL, the University of Essex and the University of Edinburgh.


Creative Interventions in the Archive’ Paper Presentation at LSE ‘Breaking Silos’ Conference
📆 3 May 2024

Building solidarities in gender research

Rachel Randall (Project PI) and Daniela Meneses Sala (PhD Candidate, University of Cambridge) presented a paper entitled: ‘Creative interventions in the archive: Recuperating photographs of wet-nurses in the Courret Archive’ at the ‘Breaking Silos: Building Solidarities in Gender Research Conference’ held at the LSE. Rachel and Daniela discussed and presented the print and digital version of the ‘Caring with/about the wetnurse’ zine created at a workshop held at the University of Bristol on 24 May 2023. They also reflected on the process of facilitating a similar workshop at the University of Cambridge on 30 November 2023.

Book Launch: Paid to Care: Domestic Workers in Contemporary Latin American Culture
📆 20 March 2024

The author, Rachel Randall (School of Languages, Linguistics and Film, QMUL), will be discussing the book with Holly Eva Ryan (School of Politics and International Relations, QMUL). The event is supported by Queen Mary’s Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean (CRoLAC) and was held at: Graduate Centre, GC114, Mile End Campus, Queen Mary University of London.

Paid domestic work in Latin America has often been undervalued, underpaid, and underregulated. Exploring a wave of Latin American cultural texts since the 1980s that draw on the personal experiences of paid domestic workers or intimate ties to domestic employees, Paid to Care offers insights into the struggles these workers have faced through an analysis of literary testimonials, documentary and fiction films, and works of digital media. From domestic workers’ experiences of unionization in the 1980s to calls for their rights to be respected today, the cultural texts analyzed in Paid to Care provide additional insight into public debates about paid domestic work. The author, Rachel Randall, examines works made in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay. The most recent of these texts respond to the Covid-19 pandemic, which put many domestic workers’ health and livelihoods at risk. Engaging with the legal histories of domestic work in multiple distinct national contexts, Randall demonstrates how Latin America’s legacy of colonialism and slavery continues to shape the profession even today. Focusing on personal or coproduced cultural representations of domestic workers, Paid to Care also explores complex ethical issues relating to consent, mediation, and appropriation.

Paid to Care: Domestic Workers in Contemporary Latin American Culture has recently been published by the University of Texas Press. It explores the struggles of domestic workers in Latin America through an analysis of films, texts and digital media produced with them or inspired by their experiences. The book is available with a 30% discount using the code UTXM30 in the UK and Europe and in the US and Latin America.

The Second Mother & The Chambermaid: Film Screenings and Panel Discussions
📆 5 + 8 March 2024

To mark International Women’s Day this year, Genesis Cinema is screening two films by Latin American women directors followed by panel discussions and audience Q&As.

The Second Mother (Anna Muylaert, Brazil, 2015), Tuesday 5 March at 17:50.
An excitingly fresh take on some classic themes and ideas, The Second Mother dissects with both impeccable precision and humor such matters as class differences and family. The film centers around Val, a hard- working live-in housekeeper in modern day Sao Paulo. Followed by a panel discussion with Professor Lúcia Sá and Dr Rachel Randall. 

The Chambermaid (Lila Avilés, Mexico, 2018), Friday 8 March at 18:00.
A young chambermaid working in one of the most luxurious hotels in Mexico City enrolls in the hotel’s adult education program to help improve her life. Followed by a panel discussion and Q&A with Dr Mara Polgovsky and Dr Rachel Randall.


Creative Interventions in the Archive: Working with Photographs of Wet Nurses in the Courret Archive (Lima, Peru)
📆 30 November 2023

Workshop at the University of Cambridge.  

This workshop is being run for participants at the University of Cambridge. The first part of the workshop will be dedicated to reflecting on creative visual methodologies, such as collage and zine-making, and to discuss the potential of creating alternative archives. It will also introduce participants to a series of nineteenth-century photographs of wet nurses and infants taken in Lima, Peru, which are now held by the Courret photographic archive. Many of the photographs feature Afro-descendant wet nurses or nannies, and our discussion of the issues they raise will be framed by a talk from Ana Lucía Mosquera Rosado, an Afro-Peruvian activist and academic.  

The second part of the workshop will provide participants with the materials they need to make one page each of a collaborative zine by intervening creatively in reproductions of the photographs.  

This workshop is being facilitated by Daniela Meneses-Sala (PhD Researcher, University of Cambridge), Dr Andrea Aramburú Villavisencio (Research Associate, University of Bristol) and Dr Rachel Randall (Reader in Latin American Studies, QMUL and Project PI).   

The workshop is supported by funding from the Centre for Research in Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH) at the University of Cambridge.

Invisible Commutes: Visual Representations of Domestic Workers’ Challenging Commutes in Latin America
📆 27 July 2023

Workshop held for members of the Afro-Colombian Union of Domestic Workers (UTRASD) in Medellín, Colombia.  

This workshop was run for a group of domestic worker participants in Medellín, Colombia. It had a dual objective: (1) to find out what the participants themselves think about popular representations of paid domestic work in recent Latin American films, including of depictions of domestic workers’ commutes to work; and (2) to enable the participants’ own views and experiences to feed into the creation of a short documentary that the workshop facilitators are currently developing, which will focus on the challenging journeys that domestic workers often need to undertake to reach their workplaces in Latin America. Once the short documentary is complete, it will be made publicly available online.  

The workshop was designed and facilitated by the Invisible Commutes Team – Dr Valentina Montoya Robledo, Daniel Gómez Restrepo and Andrés González Robledo – together with Dr Rachel Randall (Project PI). It was also supported by Migration Mobilities Bristol Strategic Research Investment Fund (SRIF) seedcorn funding. 

Creative Visual Methodologies: Affective Interventions in Archival Materials
📆 25 May 2023

Workshop for PGRs and ECRs that we are holding as part of the project at the University of Bristol. 

The first part of the workshop was dedicated to reflecting on arts-based visual methodologies, such as zine-making, and the potential of creating alternative archives. It also introduced participants to photographs of wet nurses and babies taken in Lima, Peru, in the late nineteenth century, which we are exploring as part of our project. These photographs are housed at the Courret photographic archive in Peru’s National Library. 

The second part of the workshop provided participants with the materials they needed to make one page each of a collaborative zine by intervening creatively in reproductions of the photographs of wet nurses and babies.  

After the workshop, we put the pages that participants created together and published the collaborative zine dedicated to the photographs. You can see it and print it for free on the ZINE section of our website.

We are also planning to incorporate images of the zine and recordings from the workshop into a video essay that we are developing. 

The workshop was facilitated by:  

  • Rachel Randall (Senior Lecturer in Latin American Cultural Studies and Project PI, University of Bristol) 
  • Andrea Aramburú Villavisencio (Research Associate, University of Bristol)  
  • María Santelices (Research Administrator, University of Bristol) 
  • Daniela Meneses-Sala (PhD Researcher, University of Cambridge)
  • Micaela Meneses Haustein (Graphic Designer and MA Student, University of the Arts London)