UNM Leads Summer Preservation Workshop in Spain

May 14, 2013

University of New Mexico Honors College Associate Professor Celia López-Chávez and Historian Thomas Chávez (UNM Ph.D. 1980) are co-leaders of a preservation workshop for 22 United States participants from different disciplines and professions, June 3 through 15, in the Spanish city of Trujillo, in the Extremadura region of Spain.

The city and its natural and cultural environments are used as a test to study issues of preservation and maintenance of historical integrity within a context of present economic challenges and development. Trujillo and its region share commonalities with New Mexico, including a shared history. The city (along with National Park of Monfragüe and the medieval city of Plasencia) has been nominated to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The workshop is organized under the auspices of the New Mexico Heritage Preservation Alliance, with the participation from the UNM School of Architecture and Planning. Participants include Landscape Professor Baker Morrow, graduate architecture student Andrew Bernard, and Amy Barnhart from the Historic Preservation and Regionalism Program.

The UNM Honors College has been conducting programs in Trujillo, taking more than 170 undergraduate students to this city and region through the Conexiones program since 1995. López-Chávez will use this opportunity to share with the workshop participants the experience of using Trujillo as a research field for UNM students for, at least, the last 18 years. The workshop meetings and discussions are set in the Museo de la Coria, a 15th century restored convent that houses the Fundación Xavier de Salas - a NGO dedicated to the study of connections between Spain and the Americas. This institution has been the campus of UNM students who go with the Conexiones program, which presents its 10th program this July.

Main events in the preservation workshop are lectures by experts of institutions such as Hispania Nostra and the World Monument Fund; round tables with locals interested in the problems and possibilities of Trujillo as a preservation site. The program also includes visits to specific historical sites and areas of preservation and interest in Trujillo and in the region, including the sister city of Alburquerque and the National Park of Monfragüe.

Through the workshop, participants interact with European preservationists and work with a Spanish city of 8,000 people while exchanging ideas with individuals from a variety of disciplines, plus the local community.

Two products will be produced; a public forum in Trujillo and a written report in English and Spanish. The written report will be created by the participants and will be offered to the city of Trujillo. The intent is have the report serve as the basis for future UNM students interested in preservation and interdisciplinary studies in Extremadura, Spain.