The Hemispheric Institute website houses a vast collection of invaluable materials related to performance in the Americas, including online archives of hundreds of hours of video footage; a series of multimedia casebooks or “web cuadernos” devoted to specific artists, companies or themes; as well as curated pedagogical modules that include scholarly texts, course syllabi, interviews, image galleries, and more.
The Hemispheric Institute has two centers, one in New York City and one in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Mexico, which provide year-round programming, access to research materials, and performance and workshop spaces, for members of the Hemispheric Institute. Hemispheric New York features special programs, such as lectures, film series, conferences, exhibits, artist residencies, and EMERGENYC, a ten-week training program in “artivist” performance for emerging artists. We also have a reference library that houses rare books, journals, video viewing stations, and performance ephemera.
Centro Hemisférico en FOMMA is a performance and research space developed in collaboration with Fortaleza de la Mujer Maya (FOMMA), a Mayan women's theater collective based in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Mexico. Featuring a state-of-the-art digital studio and a fully outfitted theater, its mission is to promote, present, and archive local performance practices and develop research, artistic creation and cultural programming with and for local, national and international consitituencies. Centro Hemisférico presents public performances, visual arts exhibits, workshops, film screenings and other cultural activities. It also provides space for institutional members to host work group meetings, performance workshops, and academic courses.
Developed partnership with NYU Libraries and with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, HIDVL is the world’s first digital video archive on performance and politics in the Americas. With over six hundred hours of digital video to date and extensive supporting materials in three languages, this permanent collection is publicly accessible through the Institute’s website and includes collections from artists such as Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Carmelita Tropicana, Danny Hoch, Richard Schechner, and Rosa Luisa Márquez, and from groups like Split Britches, Teatro Experimental de Cali, Circus Amok, El Teatro Campesino, Grupo Cultural Yuyachkani, CADA, Teatro La Candelaria, and Malayerba. It also includes collections from important cultural institutions such as El Hábito and the American Indian Community House. You can browse our collections at: hidvl.nyu.edu
Every two years, the Institute hosts an Encuentro—a week-long conference/festival—at a different site in the Americas. Fostering experimentation, dialogue, and collaboration, each Encuentro brings together hundreds of scholars, artists, activists and students to take part in a program of keynote lectures, work groups, performances, installations, round table and long table discussions, exhibits, video screenings and hands-on performance workshops. Past Encuentros have taken place in Brazil, Mexico, Peru, the United States, Argentina, and Colombia. The 2014 Encuentro is scheduled to take place in Montreal, Canada.
One of the central goals of the Institute is to create new knowledge and to inform new ways of thinking about knowledge. The Institute hosts team-taught seminars that combine the face-to-face quality of traditional classrooms with online collaboration, enabling students throughout the Americas to communicate and work together online. Students from affiliated institutions are eligible to participate in the Institute’s intensive courses abroad. In recent years, a three-week summer course has been taught in Lima with Grupo Cultural Yuyachkani and has focused on performance and politics in contemporary Peru. Last year the course was offered in conjunction with our Encuentro in Bogotá, Colombia, and focused on Performance and Cultural Rights. Whether offered in Peru or elsewhere, these courses are dedicated to the investigation of different performance and political movements in the Americas, and are taught by faculty from member institutions. During Summer 2010, Diana Taylor and Jesusa Rodríguez taught a course on “Art and Resistance” at Centro Hemisférico in San Cristóbal de las Casas. All courses are structured so that students can receive transfer credit from NYU, independent study credit at their home institution, or participate without receiving credit.
The Institute’s work groups are thematically based and foster sustained, interdisciplinary and collaborative research between scholars across the Americas. They sustain long–term collaborative work between scholars, artists, activists, and other practitioners. In 2004, the Institute’s Intangible Cultural Heritage work group was invited by UNESCO to develop its standards on social practices, rituals and festive events, as part of the implementation of the 2003 International Convention on Intangible Cultural Heritage. Other work groups have focused on Circulating Religiosities; Trauma, Memory and Performance; Latin American “Orients;” Afro-Amerindian Performance; Enslaved Bodies; and Carnival and Popular Fiestas in the Americas, among others. Some of these projects culminate in edited volumes, special issues of journals, or individual publications.
e-misférica, the Institute’s flagship publication, is a biannual, trilingual, peer-reviewed online journal that features scholarly essays, multimedia artist presentations, activist profiles, and reviews. Other publications include edited volumes, as well as hybrid and born-digital books.
The programs and events of the Hemispheric Institute are open to all scholars, artists, activists, and the general public, regardless of institutional affiliation. Individuals participate in Encuentros and other Institute activities based on open applications. The Hemispheric Institute Board comprises representatives from its network of member institutions. Membership grants access to our courses, teaching modules, and special collections, as well as opportunities for professional development, priority registration at our Encuentros, and many other privileges.
The Hemispheric Institute is based at New York University. It is funded by NYU, institutional members, and by generous grants from the Ford Foundation, the Henry Luce Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Housed in Tamiment Library at NYU, the physical Archive of the Hemispheric Institute includes fragile materials—slides, photographs, books, posters, and documents—that scholars and artists involved in the project have deemed important to preserve. Cognizant that materials, whenever possible, should belong to the communities that produce them, the Hemispheric Institute only accepts materials that cannot be safely preserved in their communities or countries of origin. Additionally, the Hemispheric New York reference library makes available videos, rare books, newspaper articles, photographs, posters, program notes and other performance materials from throughout the Americas. These non-circulating materials are available for study by members of the Hemispheric Institute.