Peace and Reconciliation after Trauma: Constructing Community with the “Memories in Color” Project

Dr. Lucía Garavito and Dr. Laura Kanost are bringing an exciting new project to K-State Spanish students and the campus community over the next 18 months, through Fall 2019. With the support of a Center for Engagement and Community Development Grant, their project “Peace and Reconciliation after Transgenerational Trauma: Constructing Community with the Memories in Color Project,” will give K-State Spanish students opportunities to collaborate with a Colombian peace and reconciliation nonprofit, Mil Colores Para Mi PuebloThis collaboration will bring an art exhibit and workshops to campus in the Fall of 2019, and give Spanish Translation courses authentic content for which to create meaningful translations that will have a direct impact on several international communities.

memorias de color_site image

In the below video, you can see how Mil Colores works together with their communities to decorate homes and more forward together after trauma. Dr. Garavito’s and Dr. Kanost’s initiative will allow K-State students, faculty, and community to participate in this international dialogue on themes of community, memory, and reconciliation through images of home. For example, Dr. Kanost’s translation course (Spanish 774) spoke via Skype with Edwin Rodríguez, the founder of Memorias a Color/Mil Colores, and students subtitled the below video last year. (We will share the new subtitled video once the group posts it to their website).

Because of this grant, future service-learning activities and campus events will be integrated into Spanish Translation classes:

Fall 2018 – Students in Introduction to Translation (Spanish 575) are translating newspaper articles about the organization to be used for publicizing Fall 2019 events on campus. Students in Translation and Interpreting in the Community (Spanish 774) will be translating dramatic monologues created by survivors of armed conflict, and these will be recorded and played in conjunction with the upcoming Fall 2019 art exhibition.

Spring 2019 – Students in Advanced Translation (Spanish 771) will translate descriptions of the miniature houses that will be displayed in the Fall 2019 art exhibition, thus creating bilingual materials for this event. The campus art exhibit focuses on images of home and includes 25 miniature houses created by victims and artists committed to leaving behind Colombia’s violent past to build a peaceful future together. The images below are from previous international exhibitions of this project, which you can read about in Spanish here.


Fall 2019 – Students in Translation and Interpreting in the Community (Spanish 774) will serve as interpreters for events during the campus visit by Edwin Rodríguez, founder of Mil Colores Para Mi Pueblo and the Memorias a Color project. Mr. Rodríguez will visit K-State to share his experience with Colombian communities and to conduct a hands-on workshop with students. You can read more (in Spanish) about his work and philosophy here: Edwin Rodríguez, Lucha por un país de mil colores.

memorias de color_Edwin rodriguez
Edwin Rodríguez, founder of Mil Colores, at work in a Colombian community. Image via

Mil Colores Para Mi Pueblo and Memories a Color uses art and color to build a symbolic space in which participants house their new roles as productive and empowered members of society. To learn more about the work of this particular peace and reconciliation nonprofit in Colombia, follow the organization on social media: Twitter (@YoSoyColor), Facebook, and Instagram.

yosoycolor_instagram page

And – If you want to be a part of upcoming events and enroll in these Spanish Translation courses, contact Dr. Garavito, Dr. Kanost, or your Spanish advisor or professor. This initiative – the exhibit, workshop, and talks – will be especially relevant to students in Art, Human Ecology, Conflict Resolution, Latin American Studies, Political Science, Social Work, Geography, History, Anthropology, and Journalism.

(PDF) K-State Spanish Translation Minor:


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