Academic takes Maya research to Madrid’s Museum of the Americas

An exhibition showcasing Loughborough University research into the Maya population opens at the Museum of the Americas in Madrid this week.

The three-week exhibition, curated by Dr Ines Varela-Silva from the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, celebrates the life of the modern-day Maya and runs from 4-22 March.

Over the last 10 years, Dr Varela-Silva and colleagues have conducted extensive research on Maya migrants in South America.

The Maya are the largest living group of Native Americans. Most are of a low socio-economic status, live in the poorest urban areas and are typically overweight and very short as a result of both under- and overnutrition – a phenomenon known as nutritional dual burden. It is this phenomenon Loughborough’s experts have been researching.    

The educational exhibition combines research findings and fieldwork photos with images of daily life captured by local photographers, as well as a selection of artefacts, music and films. Dr Silva-Varela and colleagues will also be delivering a series of talks during the exhibition.

Dr Silva-Varela explains:

“The Maya story is one of a vibrant culture, doing its best to thrive in the face of adversity. We wanted to share our insights into the Maya people and highlight the plight of migrant populations the world over.

“Whilst our research focuses on a specific indigenous group in Mexico, our conclusions can be applied to many populations throughout the world.

“The more we can help people understand diversity and integration, and the challenges migrant groups face, the better members of society we can be. We are delighted to be showcasing this exhibition at the Museum of the Americas.”

More details of The Maya Project can be found at

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