Spotlight: Luisa Fernanda Arrieta Fernandez

Luisa Fernanda Arrieta Fernandez is a Greenhouse Studios CLAS Graduate Fellow


Luisa ArrietaI’ve always liked museums. But not in the contemplative way most of you might imagine. I like museums in the way a child likes his favorite truck; she looks at it, touches it owning every part of it, and pulls it apart over and over again. I like to separate every part of a museum understanding the ways it represents everything and everyone, except people who look like me. I am an Afro-Colombian woman, born and raised in the Caribbean city of Cartagena, port of entry of the slave trade in Hispanic America. Therefore, my relationship with museums and my research about them are influenced by national and global structures of power that establish a hierarchy of humanity based on race.

Since this research is so personal to me, I am interested in the ways in which I can share it with a non-academic public. Moreover, I would like my community to use it to further understand the systematic oppression we keep suffering while exploring new ways of self-representation. At Greenhouse Studios, I want to explore strategies that allow me to work with the high standards that the academy require while focusing on the practical ways in which history serve our present communities. I started this exploration in 2018 as a Fellow at the Smithsonian Latino Center in their program Latinos in the 21th Century: a Digital Experience for all. Through this program, we explore the internet and the web as tools and spaces for representation, accessibility, and inclusion. Currently, I am a Content and Exhibit Curator for the Smithsonian first Latino Gallery and my research on museums is going to appear in the Fall issue of the Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies.