Department of Modern Languages and Cultures


Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies

Image of Adriana Arista-Zerga

Adriana Arista-Zerga

Assistant Professor in Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies, Faculty of Arts



Dr Adriana Arista-Zerga obtained a PhD Social and Cultural Anthropology by the Autonomous University of Barcelona. She also has a Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education from the University of Nottingham, a MA in Anthropology from the National University of San Marcos in Peru and a MA in Human Rights from the International University of Andalucia in Spain. She is also a Lawyer and bachelor in Political Science from the National University of San Marcos in Lima, Peru.

The interdisciplinary perspective on cultural heritage (tangible and intangible) and cultural human rights informs her work. Dr. Arista-Zerga has built her career at the intersection of research, teaching, and consultancy in an interdisciplinary approach.Blending her anthropological and cultural research (cultural heritage, cultural diversity, and communities) into her teaching practice, to create safe, inclusive and decolonised learning environment,

She is member of the SPLAS section discussion on decolonisation of the curriculum for Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies.

Expertise Summary

She worked as a researcher and consultant in diverse institutions, ranging from international organisations like UNESCO and the Ibero-American General Secretariat (SEGIB) to the Peruvian government (Commission of Truth and Reconciliation; Ministry of Culture-Qhapaq Ñam Project), as well as non-governmental organisations like the Institute of Peruvian Studies and the Institute for Intangible Cultural Heritage (IPACIM) in Spain.

Her research explores the anthropological and legal dimensions of intangible and tangible cultural heritage, focusing on indigenous, rural, and urban communities' relationships with their cultural heritage. She takes a broad approach to cultural heritage beyond assets listed in national or international inventories, emphasizing what communities themselves value as heritage.

Teaching Summary

I am an Assistant Professor at the Department of Modern Language and Culture, in Spanish, Portuguese, and Latin American Studies section at the University of Nottingham.

I co-convene core module MLAC 2059 (Year 2) and teach on core module MLAC 3076 (Final Year).

I have gained valuable teaching experience in diverse settings, including universities, schools, and other educational institutes. This has allowed me to develop broad research and teaching portfolio across various cultures, whilst adapting to numerous high-pressured environments. In short, I have acquired a strong work ethic and demonstrated my professional adaptability. In these different settings, I was in charge of the implementation and coordination of the modules, classes, designing and organising the material from different resources, and for the assessment of the students.

  • University of Nottingham (2022-2023). Seminar 'Introduction of Spanish Law'. Addressed to Second year students of Joint Honours in Law with Spanish and Spanish Law.
  • University of Nottingham (October 2023) MLAC1098/1100 Modern Latin America. Lecture 'Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala: between two worlds. Transcending the time'.
  • University of Nottingham (October 2023) United in Solidarity Ukraine Catholic University, Lviv, and UoN Internship. Session for PhD students. 'Museums, Memory places and Art: the long Road of Memory and Reconciliation'.
  • University of Nottingham (July 2023) UoN Summer School. 'Cultural diversity: an overview from Latin America'
  • University of Nottingham (2021) Masterclass as part of Year Abroad Language Support (for students who could not travel abroad): 'Perú, camino al Bicentenario de la Independencia: memoria y violencia (una aproximación a través del arte 1980-al presente)'.
  • National University of San Marcos. Faculty of Medicine. (2022 Peru). Module, Anthropology of Food. 'Cultural heritage and food: approaches to the social and cultural influence of food'.
  • Cayetano Heredia University. Faculty of Science. Department of Statistics, Demography, Module Anthropology and Sociology of Food. 'Cultural heritage and food: approaches to the social and cultural influence of food'. Humanities and Social Sciences (2022 Peru).
  • Institute of the Museum of Art Lima Peru. (2007-2008) Module Convener and Lecturer 'Cultural Legislation'

Research Summary

My research intersects with diverse topics, including cultural law, cultural heritage legislation, cultural human rights, community dynamics, food heritage, identity, museums, memory studies, and… read more

Recent Publications

Current Research

My research intersects with diverse topics, including cultural law, cultural heritage legislation, cultural human rights, community dynamics, food heritage, identity, museums, memory studies, and cultural tourism. This interdisciplinary approach comprehensively explains how cultural heritage impacts societies and shapes individual and collective identities.

  • Interdependence of intangible and tangible heritage.
  • Cultural heritage legislation and theory.
  • International restitution of cultural heritage: conflicts and perspectives.
  • Conflictive heritage: memory and cultural heritage.
  • Culture and cultural heritage in the language classroom. Intercultural dialogue and awareness.

Past Research

My research is aligned with the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures research strand, Memory Studies; I am attached to the Centre for the Study of Post-Conflict Societies. I am in the last stages of a research related to memory and culture in post-conflict countries.

This project: "The sun amidst the dark: memory, tradition and cultural heritage during the internal armed conflict in Peru", seeks to identify the relationship between memory and cultural heritage during armed conflict. It starts from the idea that cultural elements, related to periods or stages of armed conflict, could be elements that articulate the past and also could become a meeting point, from the perspective of the victims themselves, and society in general. This work will focus on the study of the testimonies gathered for the preparation of the Final Report of Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Peru-CVR, an institution created in 2000, that was mandated to analyse the political, social, and cultural conditions, as well as clarify the events of the internal armed conflict, from 1980 to 2000 years.

The final report from the CVR was presented in 2003, revealing that the most potent causes that led to the conflict were the big social divisions that persist even to this day, reflected in poverty and oblivion of populations from the highlands and the Amazon of Peru. After almost twelve years of the presentation of the CVR report, the testimonies will help to know and recognise, part of the past; this work is an analysis of the testimonies, in seeking cultural references, both tangible and intangible, in order to be able to know what happened to the cultural heritage during the internal armed conflict, and how it could recover story/stories that, eventually, could become symbolic compensations for many people who lost everything.

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