INTRODUCTION

The Patagonia Mosaic is an initiative of recuperation, preservation and diffusion of the historic experience of the community of Comodoro Rivadavia and its zone of influence, together with its regional, national and international connections.

It is a multifaceted project that includes: the investigation, teaching, digitalization of documentary and photographic patrimony; the oral and videographic registry of life histories and historic testimonies; and preservation of the collective memory – activities vital to cultural exchange and community extension. By looking deep into local and regional character, the Patagonia Mosaic aims also to connect to wider national and international study in areas of settlement, migration, and family history.

This ambitious educational undertaking has been begun under the auspices of Dickinson College (Carlisle, Pennsylvania, USA) and the Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia “San Juan Bosco” (Comodoro Rivadavia, Argentina), together with the essential support of the community of Comodoro Rivadavia. At Dickinson College, a forward looking liberal arts undergraduate institution, this project enmeshes itself in the work of the Community Studies Center (CSC) and the Dickinson Electronic Initiative in the Liberal Arts (DEILA). The Patagonia Mosaic is also very grateful for the support of the Office of Global Education at Dickinson.

The results of the project so far illustrates the collaboration between professors, students, members of the intermediary institutions of Comodoro Rivadavia (Federation of Foreign Communities, mutual aid societies, neighborhood groups and community centers, etc.), various archives and libraries, and, in particular, the residents of the area that share their histories with us and put at our disposal personal and family collections to be preserved and distributed, thus enriching the collective memory and history of the region.

At present, there have been three main research experiences and cultural exchanges. During each January of 2001 and 2003 and 2005, a group of students and professors of Dickinson College and the UNPSJB, with the collaboration of the Federation of Foreign Communities and host families, participated in research and study in Comodoro Rivadavia. Among other activities, the work in local archives, the recording of oral history interviews, the digitalization of photographic material and other documents from archives and family collections, and the photographic documentation of various expressions of the memory of community identity stand out. Each group from Dickinson College, along with a professor and students from the UNPSJB, continued the cataloging, analysis and diffusion of the material collected on their return to the United States during one semester of study and research.

The results of these efforts are now at the disposal of the community in the Patagonia Mosaic Virtual Museum and Resource Center, accessible via this website from anywhere in the world. The Virtual Museum contains multimedia exhibits around central themes in the history of the community of Comodoro Rivadavia and its surrounding area, with special emphasis on its origin and its multi-ethnic characteristics: migratory experiences, the work of men and women, community life, family life, public memory, the use of space in the oil company towns, etc. The Resource Center contains complementary information and allows access to the digitalized photographic and documentary collections. Those interested have access to historic photographs of public and private archives and to various minutes, pamphlets, programs, letters, along with other private and public documents. Also available is information regarding the oral history interviews in the Patagonia Mosaic collection. For the future, the Center has begun the construction of a virtual library with digital editions of books and articles significant to the history of the region.

The collections available in the Virtual Museum and Resource Center will be enlarged and enriched with the results of future research projects and with the continuous contributions of the community of Comodoro Rivadavia, its oil company towns, the surrounding countryside and other nearby localities tied to the zone.

We welcome questions, comments as well information of interest for this project.

Please contact:

Marcelo Borges, Dickinson College
borges@dickinson.edu

Susana Torres, Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia "San Juan Bosco"
storres@satlink.com

More information and list of participants

Project Directors

Dickinson College
Project supported by Dickinson College and the Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia San Juan Bosco. Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia San Juan Bosco