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Catalina Cavelier Adarve

Independent Heritage and Museums Consultant

Country: Colombia

ITP Year: 2019


Currently working as a freelance heritage and museums consultant, Catalina collaborates with diverse heritage and museum projects, especially related to intangible heritage management, safeguarding plans and project evaluation.

Catalina has BAs in Anthropology and History from Los Andes University, and an MA in Cultural Heritage Studies from University College London. In her previous role, Catalina was in charge of the section of Intangible Heritage at the Cultural Heritage Institute of Bogota, where her responsibilities included devising and leading strategies for safeguarding intangible heritage in the city of Bogota. These included structuring and implementing projects and programmes and advising on heritage listing procedures.

Catalina has been involved in projects and programmes aiming to safeguard urban intangible heritage through community involvement and empowerment. She recently curated an exhibition about family photo albums, aimed at creating a dialogue between private and collective memories and connecting audiences through such dialogue. Her work experience has been dedicated to exploring heritage and museums’ possibilities for generating social value and cultural sustainability today.

She has recently been researching textiles, particularly about embroidery traditions in Latin America, which is linked to her current practice as an embroidery artist. She also completed a course in sound healing therapy, and has been learning about sacred and medicinal songs in the Peruvian Amazon.

Catalina’s dream for museums of the future is for museums to exist as places for imagining, nurturing, and creating sustainable futures. She dreams of museums assuming an active role in the current need to shift our paradigms as a species, transitioning from separation to integration with the living Earth community. Museums would foster communities of caregivers, caring for collections, caring for communities, and caring for life.

At the British Museum
During her time on the International Training Programme in 2019, Catalina was based in the Department of Africa, Oceania and the Americas, and spent her partner placement at National Museums Northern Ireland.

In 2019 participants were asked to plan and propose a temporary exhibition around an object from the Museum’s collection working within the theme of journeys. Catalina worked with Alsu Akhmetzyanova (Uzbekistan) on her Object in focus project. Their exhibition proposal was titled Eternal Provision for the Soul: celebrating life in ancient Egypt.

Catalina’s place on the International Training Programme was generously supported by the Santo Domingo Family.

Continued Dialogue
Catalina is now part of the Reimagining the British Museum International Working Group (IWG) which has invited international museum and cultural heritage experts to collaborate with the Museum and support the development of outline briefs for new suites of permanent galleries at the British Museum through online monthly meetings and workshops in London.