Laura Osorio

In my doctoral thesis, entitled Personhood in Maya Art: A Theoretical Perspective, I used philosophies taken from certain oral narratives of Maya speaking people in Yucatan, alongside expert – according to these Maya speaking communities – theories, to interpret three Classic Maya sculptural or painting programs and two post-conquest religious art programs from the Yucatan peninsula. In contrast to a traditional ethno-archaeological approach, this research sought not only to glean relevant “scientific” information, but also to re-appropriate the interpretation of Maya heritage to the people whose identity has been formed within the natural and material environments of that area. I have subsequently become interested in the ways that heritage institutions work and engage with source communities. I have worked in anglophone education at the Louvre Museum and curated a Day of the Dead contemporary art festival at The British Museum. I also coordinated the 2009 Indigenous and Minority Fellowship Programme at UNESCO headquarters. My postdoctoral research continues to explore the oral narratives of Maya speaking residents of Santa Elena, Yucatan, that touch on archaeological sites as material remains of past societies and the perceived relationship between these sites and the cultural landscape. These narratives form part of the religious group-making associated with the recent popularity of new Christian denominations and, as such, I am interested in how heritage is involved in local community discourse and identity politics.

PhD, Leiden University 2015

MA History and Archaeology of Native American Peoples: Leiden University, 2008

BA Archaeology, Classics and Classical Art: University College London, 2007