Heritage encased in public and private care
Bringing Dominican indigenous collections back to the community
The study of collections, legislation and heritage activities could become a tool to help foster critical thinking in the Caribbean in order to reflect upon heritage practices and improve how the indigenous history is taught, appreciated, and reflected in cultural practices. Arlene Alvarez’ research deals with access to indigenous heritage public and private collections in the Dominican Republic, as part of the NEXUS 1492 Project under the ERC grant agreement n° 319209, and with a scholarship granted by Prof. dr. Corinne Hofman (Dean of Leiden University’s Faculty of Archaeology), from her 2013 KNAW-Meriam Prize/Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences.
Through the review of legislation and documentation, interviews and surveys, she is creating profiles of collections, identifying where policy and practice differ, and is sketching a path of how different communities currently use indigenous heritage collections and ways to further connect and access heritage knowledge through them. Her research explores ways to improve heritage management practices, and hopes to enrich cultural identity discussions in the Dominican Republic and at a regional level.