Launch event for grandesmujeres.lat

Grandes Mujeres Latinoamericanas [Great Latin American Women] is a result of the collaborative work between Dr Lauren Rea, Senior Lecturer in the School of Languages and Cultures, and Euhen Matarozzo, director of Billiken (Argentina). This partnership began with the publication of the illustrated children’s book 100 Grandes Mujeres Latinoamericanas, as the flagship product to commemorate Billiken‘s centenary. For the Great Latin American Women project, the co-directors brought together a team of creative industries professionals, academic researchers and primary school teachers to create grandesmujeres.lat.

This digital educational platform is designed to promote gender equality amongst primary school children across the region by making visible the diverse contributions of leading Latin American women, past and present. The open access platform hosts over 400 resources including downloadable classroom activities, reference material and short animated films. The resources cover different curriculum areas—Language, Social and Natural Sciences, Maths, Art, and Diversity, Equality and Inclusion—taking twenty women’s lives and work as the starting point. As project co-director Lauren Rea explained, “The resources are very varied because the trajectories of each of our protagonists are also very different. Each woman allows us to take a different route, bringing richness and diversity to the learning process”. The project responds to two of the Sustainable Development Goals established by the UN, Quality Education and Gender Equality, and received support from the UKRI GCRF Collective Fund.

The project was launched on Tuesday 23 November at the Centro Cultural Kirchner in Buenos Aires. The event was attended by education and culture leaders and officials, including Dr. Silvina Gvirtz, National Secretary of Education, and Enrique Avogadro, Minister for Culture of the City of Buenos Aires. Also in attendance were the Mexican Ambassador, Lilia Eugenia Rossbach Suárez, and the Head of Cultural Affairs, Héctor Orestes Aguilar, as well as representatives of the Paraguayan Embassy.

During the presentation, the co-directors interviewed two of the Great Women featured in the project, Dr Andrea Gamarnik, the virologist known for her research on the dengue virus and head of the laboratory that developed the first Argentine antibody test for COVID-19, and Mirta Toledo, internationally renowned Argentine visual artist, whose work revolves around diversities and Afro-descendant culture. Both underlined the importance of addressing gender equality in schools and praised the quality of the project’s educational resources. Later, in conversation with Billiken, Andrea Gamarnik said: “I found the platform beautiful and extremely useful. It opens the door to access information in a broader way. I am very happy to have participated in this project”. Mirta Toledo said that the platform “makes clear the work of women, who have contributed to society and whose contribution was so often hidden or concealed behind a man, so it is very important that Billiken does this”.  

Lauren Rea and Euhen Matarozzo with some of the teachers, graphic designers, web designers, writers, illustrators, animators and musicians who worked on the Great Latin American Women project.

In closing the presentation, project co-director, and Director of BillikenEuhen Matarozzo, spoke about the impact that the collaboration with Lauren Rea has had on Billiken more widely. “This project arose at a time when Billiken was rethinking its future. In this process of redesigning our brand (so beloved by generations of Argentines and Latin Americans) we realised that we had to evolve not only towards new media, but also towards new narratives and new products. In this process of change, the collaboration between academia and industry was fundamental, and led, among other things, to Billiken re-establishing the link with the world of education. We started working again with teachers and we also created new links with the audiovisual industry, taking another step forward in the offer of new platforms for our new content”.

Adapted and translated from an article which first appeared in billiken.lat

Reporting: Julieta Escat
Photos: Fabián Uset