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Virtual talk with Mariana Martínez Balvanera hosted by Transart Institute

October 29, 2022

A talk by Mariana Martínez Balvanera.

Transart Institute cordially invites you to participate in a virtual discussion about the role that creative activity plays in bringing diverse viewpoints together at the dinner table—a process that is essential for comprehending and improving our food systems. The Cocina CoLaboratorio project’s history, certain tools, experiences, and concepts that the transdisciplinary team uses, as well as some instances from recent work, will be covered in this lecture.

Mariana Martinez Balvanera is a spatial and social designer with offices in Amsterdam and Mexico City. She specializes in critical spatial practice-based community-led urban and rural placemaking initiatives. Her education includes a Master in Narrative Environments from Central St Martins (UAL), London, and a Bachelor of Interior Architecture from Centro in Mexico City, where she graduated in 2011. With diplomas in “Curatorial practice for public spaces” (GIM) and “Where Art Meets Design” (ELISAVA School of Design Barcelona). Among others, she has collaborated to create the Mediamatic Biotoop, a space for bioarts and urban agriculture in Amsterdam; with Estudio Teddy Cruz, designing socio-spatial interventions to rethink post-war housing schemes in London; with Cascoland, creating performatic participation and collaboration tools in public spaces; and is currently resident artist at Pollinaria, space for art in the rural. Her collective projects have received awards such as What Design Can Do’s “Climate Action Challenge” and the MUAC’s William Bullock Prize for Critical Museology. She is tutor and guest lecturer at arts and design universities CENTRO, ENAP, UAM (Mexico City), Royal Academy of Art (The Hague) and The Rietveld Academy (Amsterdam). Mariana co-founded Cocina Colaboratorio in 2018, and since then she has been directing creative programming in public spaces with a focus on social and environmental sustainability, utilizing food as the primary point of connection.

A transdisciplinary collaboration called Cocina CoLaboratorio (CoLaboratory Kitchen) brings together creatives (artists, designers, architects), farmer communities, scientists, and chefs at the kitchen table to share knowledge, design, and take action in the direction of sustainable food futures. a testing ground for concepts that balance food production, land restoration, and improved living conditions in both urban and rural settings.

According to this platform, the kitchen is a place for co-creation where people may connect by gardening, cooking, tasting, sharing, and exploring. Around the kitchen, aspirations and actions are shared and carried out, blending global perspectives, knowledge, practices, and produce through various events and programs tailored to particular locations and cultures. Xochimilco in Mexico City, Santo Domingo Tomaltepec in Oaxaca, and Marqués de Comillas in Chiapas are the three places where the project has established long- and short-term arts+research+practice collaborations since 2018.

Cocina CoLaboratorio is composed in its core team by Emilio Hernández (social designer), Adriana Cadena (anthropologist/cultural manager), Elizabeth Guerrero (artist/semiologist), Diego Hernández (agroecologist), Reyna Domínguez (biologist), Gabriela Morales (farmer), Lucía Pérez (biologist/cook), Patricia Balvanera (ecologist), and Mariana Martinez (designer/artist). The collective expands, contracts and takes different shapes depending on the project structures, actions and specific sites.

Cocina CoLaboratorio is part of the Food Art Research Network and the Green Art Lab Alliance.

Saturday, October 29: 3–3:45 UTC. Register here.

About Transart
Since 2004 Transart Institute for Creative Research has been the foremost developer of low-residency, interdisciplinary, international creative research programs. Designed and run entirely by artists, the Institute offers practice-based PhD and MFA programs, generating space for creativity, experimentation and radical thinking in every form. We champion self-directed, curious, flexible and socially engaged creative researchers working independently or collectively.

The MFA and PhD are offered in partnership with and validated by our renowned and esteemed UK academic partner, Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU), founded in 1823.

September 1–November 15: Early application (with scholarship) deadline.
February 1: Three-month pre-flight scholarships commence.

MFA: Susie Quillinan, Head of Masters Studies, [email protected] or book a conversation with her here.
PhD: Dr Michael Bowdidge, Head of Doctoral Studies, [email protected] or book a conversation with him here.