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My research focuses on material culture, art, artisanship, heritage, and religion in Mexico and the United Kingdom. The central theme of my research is how people's everyday aesthetic practices help them to engage with different regimes of value, historical knowledge, and economies and politics of culture. I am also interested in the methodological issues of studying aesthetics, art production and cultural and intellectual property ethnographically. 

This research programme investigates the challenges faced by Roman Catholic churches in England and Wales in securing heritage funding. It is a partnership between Dr Alanna Cant, Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of Reading, and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales (CBCEW). It was recipient of the British Academy Innovation Fellowship (Route A), 2022-23 (IF2223\230040). 


 This project explores the politics and aesthetics of culture in Oaxaca by exploring how artisans' successes are tied to their ability to produce  aesthetics that appeals to three key “economies of culture”: the tourist market for souvenirs, the national market for traditional Mexican artesanías, and the international market for indigenous art. The project investigating the links between aesthetics and issues of production, authorship, ownership, and identity, showing aesthetic change to be a process that ultimately repackages everyday life into commodified objects in Oaxaca. It was recipient of the Emslie Horniman Anthropological Scholarship  in 2007, and published as a monograph in 2019 by The University of Texas Press. 

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This project investigates what happens when religious spaces and objects are brought into the apparently non-religious domain of heritage through practices of restoration and conservation in Mexico. Ethnographic research was carried out in Santa Cruz Mixtepec, Oaxaca, which is the location of a ruined 16th century Dominican monastery that adjoins the existing parish church. This structure is the focus of a heritage conservation project that is jointly managed and financed by the village’s municipal authority, the Mexican federal government and a private cultural foundation. It was recipient of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship, 2016-2018 (GA 701601).

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