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Archival sources on Latin America in London

If you ever wondered where to look for resources on Latin America in London, then you would have enjoyed the PILAS Latin American Archives and Collections Workshop held at UCL on 21st November 2019. The workshop brought together postgraduate students from across the country with librarians and curators of some of London's most prominent Latin American archival collections. The workshop explored the Latin American collections held by the British Library, Senate House Library and the Maughan Library at King’s College London.

The first speaker of the day was Dr. Mercedes Aguirre, the Lead Curator of the Americas collections at the British Library. Mercedes talked about the Library’s fascinating collection of books and documents printed in the Americas after 1850. Mercedes also promoted British Library’s initiative to protect endangered archives across the world, including those in Latin America. The British Library provides funding and training to digitise and/or otherwise organise and protect endangered collections. More information is available on British Library’s Endangered Archived Programme (EAP) website. Students and scholars are encouraged to apply.

Mercedes’ talk was followed by a talk by Julio Cazzasa, the Collections Development Coordinator for Latin America and Commonwealth Studies at the Senate House Library. Julio highlighted Senate House’s vast collection of Latin American pamphlets. Pamphlets really are a fascinating source of information and they reveal the great debates, campaigns, and controversies of their time. Pamphlets were written with an aim of reaching a mass audience and they cover all sorts of topics including politics, science and technology, culture, arts and entertainment. Julio invited students and scholars to use Senate House’s rich Latin American collections in their research.

The third speaker was John Wilby, the Gift Collections Coordinator at the Foyle Special Collections Library at King's College London. The university has a long history of collecting documents and resources in relation to Latin America. In 2012 King’s extensive Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American collections, held in the Maughan Library have been enriched by The Canning House Library Collection. Foyle Special Collections Library at King’s holds many rare and wonderful books and documents, including ones related to Latin America.

Following the informative talks about the Latin American archival collections everyone was invited to have a conversation and enjoy refreshments provided thanks to generosity of ACLAIIR (Advisory Council on Latin American and Iberian Information Resources). ACLAIIR’s aim is to advance knowledge on Latin America and Iberia and it organises many fascinating talks, conferences and workshops. We are grateful for their generosity.

If you were not able to join us the Latin American Archives and Collections Workshop fear not, as PILAS has lots of great events lined up. Check out our website for most up to date information.

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