Colombia: Providence Island Community/Ethnography(IFR)

Location: Providence Island, Colombia

Session Dates: May 25-June 19, 2024

Application Deadline: April 1, 2024

Deadline Type: Rolling


Program Type:
Field School

RPA Certified:

Institute for Field Research (IFR)

Project Director:
Dr. Tracie Mayfield

Project Description:

The islands of Old Providence and Santa Catalina are located 130 miles of the coast of Nicaragua and have been a center of global trade and commerce since the establishment of an English colony in 1629, when Puritan venture capitalists arrived on the Seaflower, sister ship to the Mayflower.  The islands have since been occupied by the Native Raizal, descendants of the original colonists, African slaves, and members of a Maroon village.

This community-led Project seeks to assist ongoing Native Raizal efforts to untangle the complex culture history of Old Providence and Santa Catalina by collecting oral histories, studying historical documents, and archaeologically exploring three foundational landscapes: 1) the original town of New Westminster [1629] located on the north side of Old Providence Island, 2) a colonial-period Maroon community -made up of self-emancipated individuals- located on the south/southeast side of Old Providence island, and 3) the natural and modified gully systems & terrestrial pathways covering the Islands, utilized since 1629 for intra-island transportation and residential and agricultural water management.

Archaeological and survey tasks focus on gaining a better understanding the Islands’ settlement timeline and understanding behavioral continuity and/or discontinuity, over time; and ethnographic research aims to document Native Raizal stories, art, & culture, catalog familial connections, better understand the Islands’ built-infrastructure and natural landscapes from emic perspectives, and record the English Criol language unique to the Archipelago of San Andrés for posterity.

Period(s) of Occupation: Historical, Contemporary

Project Size: 1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: Students are expected to stay the full length of the program.

Minimum Age: 18

Experience Required: None

Room and Board Arrangements:
Students and faculty will be housed at Posada Enilda Bed and Breakfast located in the south of the Island in an area called Bottom House. This posada is a fully modern facility with comfortable outdoor seating areas, shared dining room, and other amenities, such as air-conditioning, in- room safes, and personal refrigerators, and is extremely comfortable. The husband and wife owners are excited about hosting the students and we have enjoyed our stays in past years, immensely. Room and board at the Posada includes breakfast every day, and lunch Monday-Saturday, which will be served in the field or in the dining area at Posada Enilda. Dinners will not be provided by the program, but there are restaurants nearby and food can be ordered and delivered to the Posada. Additionally, grocery stores are available on the Island where students can purchase food; each room has a refrigerator where meal and snack supplies can be stored. The owners of the Posada can meet most dietary needs (vegetarians, vegans, and lactose intolerant), other than Kosher, although if given enough advance time to order supplies and with specific instructions/ consultation, the Posada may be able to meet Kosher needs as well, so please contact the Director if this is of interest to you. Laundry services are also offered at the Posada; which you can request when you check in after arriving on site.

Academic Credit:
8 semester (12 quarter)

Contact Information:

Institute for Field Research

1855 Industrial Street, Unit 106

Los Angeles



United States

Phone: (424) 209-1173

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