People

Dr Lisa Blackmore

Senior Lecturer
School of Philosophy and Art History
Dr Lisa Blackmore

Profile

Biography

My research focuses on human relations to the environment, and connections between politics, art and architecture. in Latin America and the Caribbean. At Essex, I work closely with the Essex Collection of Art from Latin America (ESCALA) threading its unique holdings through my teaching in Art History and Interdisciplinary Studies Center, and curating public exhibitions and public programs for the University gallery Art Exchange. I am passionate about public engagement and draw on my experience working in journalism and cultural industries to connect my research to broader conversations and diverse audiences. My current projects merge practice and research, involving writing and editing publications on the arts and ecology, with curatorial and audiovisual projects. My most recent publications ask how humans relate to rivers through analyses of infrastructures, sound and installation art, poetry and sensory connections to water. In 2018, I founded the international interdisciplinary research group entre—ríos, a network of artists, scholars and active communities engaged in igniting connections to bodies of water through art practice, exhibitions, books and public programmes. Our projects are published on http://entre-rios.net - a digital platform that is always moving and changing. My previous research focused on the relationship between authoritarian politics and modernist art and architecture. My first book Spectacular Modernity: Dictatorship, Space and Visuality in Venezuela, 1948-1958, (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2017), analysed an array of visual and spatial phenomena, from vintage newsreel and state propaganda to carnival pageants and military parades, to show how authoritarian politics shaped public imaginaries of modernism. The follow-up book, Downward Spiral: El Helicoide's Descent from Mall to Prison, edited with Celeste Olalquiaga, traced similar treads through the story of a unique modernist building designed as a shopping centre but now used as a political prison.This research featured in the BBC documentary "El Helicoide: The Shopping Mall That Became A Torture Prison" in 2019. My postdoctoral research at the University of Zurich focused on how authoritarian regimes affected bodies and landscapes, producing spaces of ruination and traces of violence in memory,. As part of this project, I co-directed the feature-length documentary film Despues de Trujillo/After Trujillo (2016), which told the story of urban modernisation and political violence under Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo (1930-1961) and the cultures of memory related to his regime. It is available online at https://dlf.uzh.ch/sites/despues-de-trujillo/ After studying Modern Languages at Cambridge University, I did a Masters degree in Latin American Cultural Studies and PhD in Spanish at Birkbeck College, London. I've taught at universities in Caracas and Leeds, and worked as a curator, journalist and translator. I joined the School of Philosophy and Art History 2017, where I am Director of Global Studies and Director of the MA in Environment, Society and Culture,

Qualifications

  • PhD Birkbeck College, University of London, Latin American Cultural Studies

  • MA Birkbeck College, University of London, Latin American Cultural Studies (Cultural Theory & Critique)

  • MA (Cantab) University of Cambridge, Modern & Medieval Languages (French & Spanish)

Appointments

University of Essex

  • Senior Lecturer in Art History and Interdisciplinary Studies, School of Philosophy and Art History, University of Essex (1/10/2019 - present)

  • Lecturer in Art History and Interdisciplinary Studies, School of Philosophy and Art History, University of Essex (1/8/2017 - 30/9/2019)

  • Director MA Environment, Society and Culture, University of Essex (1/10/2021 - present)

  • Director of Global Studies, University of Essex (1/10/2020 - present)

  • Director of Latin American Studies, University of Essex (1/8/2017 - present)

Other academic

  • Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Zurich (1/9/2014 - 31/7/2017)

Research and professional activities

Research interests

Modernity in Latin America

Open to supervise

Visual culture

Open to supervise

Space and politics

Open to supervise

Memory politics

Open to supervise

Human-nature relations

Open to supervise

Water, hydraulics, liquid ecologies in the arts

Open to supervise

Environmental aesthetics

Open to supervise

Photography

Open to supervise

Digital culture

Open to supervise

Contemporary visual production in Latin America

Open to supervise

VENEZUELA RESEARCH NETWORK. With Dr. Penélope Plaza (University of Reading), Dr. Rebecca Jarman (University of Leeds).

Current research

Spatial Legacies of Dictatorship: My current research centres on spatial legacies of dictatorship in Venezuela and the Dominican Republic, and these countries' memory politics and historical amnesias. As well as tracing the uses of architecture and space to shore up authoritarian regimes, I explore the ways that such sites often slip from view and become ruins of dictatorship, and examine how contemporary artists recuerate such sites in their work to shed light on blind spots of collective memory.

Modern Ruins: I am completing a multi-disciplinary, co-edited volume on El Helicoide: a modernist, spiral-shaped, drive-through shopping center built in the 1950s in Caracas, then left unfinished, used as an emergency shelter for flood victims, then eventually taken over by the intelligence police as a headquarters and jail. Combining archival documents, critical analysis, literary texts, and visual commentary, the book traces the turbulent history of this living ruin and reveals the dystopic side of urban modernity.

Hydraulics and Aesthetics: Parallel to this, I am working on two articles that address the intersection of hydraulics and aesthetics in spatial arrangements and visual production, looking at human-nature relations in fluvial landscapes, hydropower, river shanty towns, and ecocritical art.

PROYECTO HELICOIDE. With Celeste Olalquiaga, Caracas-New York-Santiago.

Conferences and presentations

Downward Spiral: El Helicoide's Descent from Mall to Prison

Invited presentation, PLAS Program in Latin American Studies, Princeton, United States, 6/3/2019

The construction of a spectacular architectural modernity in Venezuela in the 1950s and its spatial legacy in the 1960s

Invited presentation, Contesting Modernity: Art and Politics in Mid-Century Venezuela, Houston, United States, 27/10/2018

Counterflows: Decomposed Landscapes and the Visual Economy of Mass Tourism

Global Dominican – Politics, Economics and Cultural Production, ILAS/IMLR University of London, London, United Kingdom, 22/6/2018

(De)colonizing Flow: The Aesthetics of Water in South America

Marine Transgressions, Bristol, United Kingdom, 8/6/2018

Counterflows: Hydraulic Imaginaries and the Landscape in the Dominican Republic

Decentred / Dissenting Connections: Envisioning Caribbean Film and Visual Cultures, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom, 29/5/2018

CONTRAFLUJOS: IMAGINARIOS HIDRÁULICOS Y ECOLOGÍAS RESIDUALES EN LA REPÚBLICA DOMINICANA

Latin American Studies Association Annual Conference, Latin American Studies Association Annual Conference, Lima, Peru, 30/4/2017

Hydraulics and Aesthetics in the Orinoco Basin. Natura: Environmental Aesthetics After Landscape, University of Zurich, 13 June 2017

Zurich, Switzerland, 2017

Contraflujos: Imaginarios hidráulicos y ecologías residuales en la República Dominincana. LASA Congress, Lima, Peru, 28 April1 May 2017

Lima, Peru, 2017

Después de Trujillo: Telling Stories - Academic Research and Filmmaking, LASA Congress,Lima, Peru, 28 April1 May 2017

Lima, Peru, 2017

Archival Landscapes and Epistemic Frontiers: Notes on the Work of Ángela Bonadies. College Art Association, New York, 1518 February 2017

New York, United States, 2017

Kino Toni, ZhDK, Zurich,1 April 2017

Winterthur, Switzerland, 2017

Ethnokino, University of Bern, 27 March 2017

Bern, Switzerland, 2017

John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York, 16 February 2017

New York, United States, 2017

Skidmore College John B. Moore Documentary Studies Collaborative, 13 February 2017

Saratoga Springs, United States, 2017

University of Toronto (Mississagua & St George Campuses), 8-9 Feburary 2017

Toronto, Canada, 2017

Life Aquatic: Contemporary Dominican Landscapes. ABRALIC, Rio de Janeiro, 1923 September 2016

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2016

Blind Spots in the Modern Landscape, LASA Congress, New York, 27 May1 June 2016

New York, United States, 2016

Blind Spots: Towards a Revision of the Modern Landscape, Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies Conference, University of Oxford, 6-7 January 2016

Oxford, United Kingdom, 2016

Broadcast on Canal 4, Dominican Republic, 18 December 2016

Dominican Republic, 2016

Museo Memorial de la Resistencia Dominicana, Santo Domingo, 8 December 2016

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, 2016

Escuela de Cine, TV, y Fotografía, Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo, 7 December 2016

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, 2016

Chavón Escuela de Diseño, Santo Domingo, 7 December 2016

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, 2016

Chavón Escuela de Diseño, La Romana, 1 Decemer 2016

La Romana, Dominican Republic, 2016

Centro Eduardo Jiménes León, Santiago, 30 November 2016

Santiago, Chile, 2016

Archivo General de la Nación, Santo Domingo, 29 November 2016

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, 2016

School of Architecture, Universidad Pedro Henríquez Ureña, Santo Domingo, 28 November 2016

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, 2016

School of Architecture, Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra, Santo Domingo, 22 November 2016

Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic, 2016

Modern Ruins and Contemporary Art: Towards a New Monumentality? 17th Colloquium for Young Researchers of Art History, University of Zurich, 6-7 November 2015

Zurich, Switzerland, 2015

Adubaram a terra com o própio sangr. A paisagem natural nas conmeoraçoes das irmas Mirabal. A Naturaleza dos discursos, Casa Rui Barbosa, Rio de Janeiro, 16-17 July 2015

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2015

Escombros: Cimientos del paisaje moderno. Paisajes modernos de América Latina y el Caribe, Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra, Santo Domingo, 5-6 June 2015

Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic, 2015

Tortured Bodies as Lieux de Mémoire, LASA Congress, San Juan, 27 May1 June 2015

San Juan, Puerto Rico, 2015

Phantom Pavilions: El Helicoide and La Torre de David as Contested Microcosms of the Nation-State, Society for Latin American Studies (SLAS) Conference, University of Aberdeen, 1718 April 2015

Aberdeen, United Kingdom, 2015

Tell me the truth... The Problematic Status of Photography in Contemporary Venezuela, LASA Congress, Chicago, 2124 May 2014

Chicago, United States, 2014

Promiscuous Images: Censorship and Collective Authorship in the work of Érika Ordosgoitti, Society for Latin American Studies Conference, Birkbeck College, 3-4 April 2014

London, United Kingdom, 2014

Capture Life: Tropes of the Archive in Recent Venezuelan Visual Culture, Art et mondialisation, Centre Pompidou & Musée du Quai Branly, Paris, 14-15 November 2013

Paris, France, 2013

Como estar preso en un barril de petróleo: El imaginario desmemoriado de la modernidad venezolana, LASA Congress, Washington, 2731 May 2103

Washington D.C., United States, 2013

Cuerpo político/cuerpor dócil: Críticas y alteraciones del aparato del poder desde la fotografía contemporánea venezolana, PhotoEspaña: Encuentro de Críticos y curadores. Miami, 3-4 December 2012

Miami, United States, 2012

Teaching and supervision

Current teaching responsibilities

  • Art in Latin America (AR219)

  • Collecting Art From Latin America (AR915)

  • Heritage and Human Rights (AR959)

  • Colonialism to Revolution: Power and Politics in Latin America (CS143)

  • Global Challenges in Interdisciplinary Perspective: Water Conflicts, Water Cultures (CS315)

  • Exhibition (Joint Project) (AR953)

Previous supervision

Penelope Claire Simpson
Penelope Claire Simpson
Thesis title: 'Bone Seeds: The Creation of a Novel From an Interdisciplinary Writing Practice, in Dialogue with Walter Benjamin's Denkbild, to Reimagine Narratives of Aftermath.'
Degree subject: Creative Writing
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 24/7/2019

Publications

Journal articles (10)

Blackmore, L., Violence in the Jardín de (la) Patria: The Monumentalisation of the Mirabal Sisters and the Trauma Site in the Dominican Postdictatorship. Mitologías hoy. 12, 101-101

Blackmore, LM., Ruinas modernas y arte contemporáneo: El caso de El Helicoide de la Roca Tarpeya. Cuadernos de Literatura. 21 (42)

Blackmore, LM., Contraflujos: Poder hidráulico y ecologías residuales en el paisaje dominicano. Revista Iberoamericana

Blackmore, L., (2020). Hubristic Hydraulics: Water, Dictatorship, and Modernity in the Dominican Republic. Latin American and Latinx Visual Culture. 2 (1), 115-125

Blackmore, L., (2019). Contraflujos: Orden hidráulico y ecologías residuales en el paisaje dominicano. Iberoamericana. América Latina - España - Portugal. 19 (72), 57-80

Blackmore, L., (2018). Collective memory and research-led filmmaking: Spatial legacies of dictatorship in the Dominican Republic. Popular Communication. 16 (2), 90-105

Blackmore, L., (2017). El Helicoide and La Torre de David as Phantom Pavilions: Rethinking Spectacles of Progress in Venezuela. Bulletin of Latin American Research. 36 (2), 206-222

Blackmore, L., (2015). Online photography beyond the selfie : The “shareware body” as tactical media in works by Érika Ordosgoitti. Artelogie. 7

Blackmore, L., (2014). Capture Life: The ‘Document-Monument’ in Recent Commemorations of Hugo Chávez. Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies. 23 (3), 235-250

Blackmore, L., (2014). Tecnologías visuales y el "archivo" de la desmemoria: El caso de Se llamaba SN. Estudios: Revista de Investigaciones Literarias y Culturales. .39 (2012), 127-157

Books (8)

Blackmore, L., Dominguez, MF., Lozano, AM., Jaime, A., Sanchez Lobo, D., Herrera, A., Velandia, F., Mulet, T., Peñaloza, A., Echavez, S., Buitrago, E., Vasquez, L., Botero, A., Cespedes, D., Celis, A., Navarro, E., Sanchez, S., Rodriguez, J., Cadavid, N. and Diaz, R., (2021). entre—ríos: Del páramo a la represa. University of Essex. 978-0-9929994-1-4

Blackmore, L., De Valdenebro, E., Lozano Rocha, AM., Acevedo-Zapata, D., Camelo, A., Rodriguez, C., Osejo, A. and Ungar, P., (2021). Cuerpos permeables: páramos, arte y ciencia en diálogo con las obras de Eulalia De Valdenebro. Instituto de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt. 978-958-5183-22-3

Blackmore, L. and Gómez, L., (2020). Liquid Ecologies in Latin American and Caribbean Art. Routledge. 0429533888. 9780367198985

Blackmore, L., Jarman, R. and Plaza, P., (2019). The Politics of Culture in the Chávez Era. Wiley Blackwell. 978-1-119-53103-6

Blackmore, L., Jarman, R. and Plaza, P., (2019). The Politics of Culture in the Chávez Era. Wiley Blackwell

Blackmore, L. and Olalquiaga, C., (2018). Downward Spiral: El Helicoide's Descent from Mall to Prison. 978-1-947198-00-5

Andermann, J., Blackmore, L. and Carrillo Morell, D., (2018). Natura Environmental Aesthetics After Landscape. diaphanes. 3035800537. 9783035800531

Blackmore, L., (2017). Spectacular Modernity Dictatorship, Space, and Visuality in Venezuela, 1948-1958. University of Pittsburgh Press. 0822964384. 9780822964384

Book chapters (14)

Blackmore, L., Counterflows: Hydraulic Order and Residual Ecologies in Caribbean Fantasy Landscapes. In: Pushing Past the Human in Latin American Cinema. Editors: Fornoff, C. and Heffes, G., . SUNY Press

Blackmore, L., (2021). Estando entre—Apuntes sobre la porosidad. In: entre—ríos: Del páramo a la represa. Editors: Blackmore, L. and Dominguez, MF., . University of Essex. 32- 51. 978-0-9929994-1-4

Blackmore, L. and Dominguez, MF., (2021). Los ríos no saben de fronteras. In: entre—ríos: Del páramo a la represa. Editors: Blackmore, L. and Dominguez, MF., . University of Essex. 12- 31. 978-0-9929994-1-4

Blackmore, L., (2021). El embalse y el río. In: entre—ríos: Del páramo a la represa. Editors: Blackmore, L. and Dominguez, MF., . University of Essex. 187- 195. 978-0-9929994-1-4

Blackmore, L., (2021). Colaborar con el páramo: Hacia otros arraigos socioecológicos. In: Cuerpos permeables: páramos, arte y ciencia en diálogo con las obras de Eulalia De Valdenebro. Editors: Blackmore, L. and De Valdenebro, E., . Instituto de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt. 978-958-5183-21-6

Blackmore, L., Jarman, R. and Plaza, P., (2019). Introduction: Charting Cultural Currents in Venezuela's Pink Tide. In: The Politics of Culture in the Chávez Era. Editors: Blackmore, L., Jarman, R. and Plaza, P., . Wiley-Blackwell. 5- 17. 9781119531036

Blackmore, L., (2019). El Helicoide and La Torre de David as Phantom Pavilions: Rethinking Spectacles of Progress in Venezuela. In: The Politics of Culture in the Chávez Era. Editors: Blackmore, L., Jarman, R. and Plaza, P., . Wiley-Blackwell. 136- 157. 9781119531036

Blackmore, L. and Olalquiaga, C., (2018). Introduction. In: Downward Spiral: El Helicoide's Descent from Mall to Prison. Editors: Blackmore, L. and Olalquiaga, C., . Urban Research/Terreform. 6- 11. 978-1-947198-00-5

Blackmore, L., (2018). Out of the Ashes: Building and Rebuilding the Nation. In: Downward Spiral: El Helicoide's Descent from Mall to Prison. Editors: Blackmore, L. and Olalquiaga, C., . Urban Research/Terreform. 68- 79. 978-1-947198-00-5

Blackmore, L., (2018). Makeshift Modernity: Container Homes and Slumscrapers. In: Downward Spiral: El Helicoide's Descent from Mall to Prison. Editors: Blackmore, L. and Olalquiaga, C., . Urban Research / Terreform. 156- 171. 978-1-947198-00-5

Blackmore, L., (2018). Colonizing Flow: Hydropower and Post-Kinetic Assemblages in the Orinoco Basin. In: Natura: Environmental Aesthetics After Landscape. Editors: Andermann, J., Blackmore, L. and Carrillo Morell, D., . diaphanes / University of Chicago Press. 9783035800531

Blackmore, L., (2018). Original Copies and Obscure Traces: Ángela Bonadies' Metaphotographic Inquiries. In: The Matter of Photography in the Americas. Editors: Brizuela, N. and Roberts, J., . Stanford University Press. 92- 93. 1503605426. 9781503605428

Blackmore, L., (2018). Molina-Pantin, Luis. In: Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online

Blackmore, LM., (2017). Cine en postdictadura. La memoria cultural de las hermanas Mirabal. In: La gran pantalla dominicana. Miradas críticas al cine actual. Editors: Tolentino, A. and Tomé, P., . Almenara Press. 31- 60

Exhibitions (3)

Blackmore, L., Chocano, D. and Chapela, E., Live Streams. Digital exhibition, online public programme and in-gallery exhibition

Blackmore, L., Corpus páramo Exhibition of works by Eulalia De Valdenebro Curated by Lisa Blackmore. Physical art exhibition

Blackmore, L., Chapela, E. and Chocano, D., Pulsos del Usumacinta: Encuentros entre arte y ecología (Pulses of the Usumacinta: Encounters between art and ecology) Co-curated with Emilio Chapela and Diego Chocano. Curated online streamed conference, embedded proceedings in bespoke microsite

Grants and funding

2021

entre�r�os: Engaging Audiences with River Wellbeing through Digital Arts Practices

University of Essex (GCRF)

2020

Sustainable Rivers: Planning and Pre-production Activities for Phase II (Bogota)

University of Essex (GCRF)

entre�r�os: Connecting Rivers through Digital Design (Peru-Colombia-Mexico)

University of Essex (GCRF)

2019

Sustainable Rivers: Planning and Pre-production Activities

University of Essex (GCRF)

River Artists Connecting researchers of riverine ecologies through digital design

University of Essex (GCRF)

Sustainable Rivers: Creative Methodologies for Social and Ecological Wellbeing

University of Essex (GCRF)

Contact

lisa.blackmore@essex.ac.uk
+44 (0) 1206 872192

Location:

6.139, Colchester Campus

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