Professor Magdalena Novoa Grant Project
The Department of Urban and Regional Planning is pleased to announce that Assistant Professor Magdalena Novoa has been awarded a $10,000 seed grant from the Whiting Public Engagement Program (WPEP) to create an arpillera urbana reconstructing the disappeared town of Pilpilco, Chile. Arpillera urbana is a textile craft and method of visual storytelling that women used during the Pinochet dictatorship to denounce relatives’ disappearances. In 1976, Pilpilco, a coal-mining town in southern Chile, was erased from official maps and its residents displaced. Novoa will assist former residents with documenting the history of the town, and the resulting arpillera urbana will be exhibited during the El Pilpilcano Festival, when hundreds of former residents return to commemorate the town’s disappearance.
The project, Stitching Memories as Counter-maps: Reconstructing History with Arpillera Urbana, was selected after a highly competitive nomination and peer review process. Novoa will work with two Chilean grassroots organizations, Pilpilco en el Corazón and Mesa Ciudadana de Lota. The WPEP is a distinctive national grant founded to champion the public humanities in all forms, and to highlight the roles scholars play in collaborative work to deploy the humanities for the public good.