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Dilemmas in Culture, Property and Heritage

  • What happens when cultures come under regimes of property, either intellectual property or heritage registration programs that can end up looking like claims to property possession? 
  • What happens when these already entangled questions take center stage in a country like Bolivia, where close to a majority of the population self identifies as indigenous, and where social movements have played key roles in pushing for state-level decolonizing changes?
  • As of 2009, Bolivians have a new constitution.  As they go through legal transformations, will they propose alternatives to the globally prevalent intellectual and cultural property regimes that generally have fallen short in the following areas: the recognition of collective creativity, the problems of access in unequal social terrains, and the tensions between the state and indigenous groups with respect to heritage?

To open up conversations about these questions, in 2012 a workshop was organized in Coroico, Bolivia entitled “Rethinking Creativity, Recognition, and Indigeneity. “Alta-PI” was the acronym that emerged among the organizers of this workshop to name the working group that came out of these activities; Alta-PI stands for “Alternatives to Intellectual Property.” This website documents the Workshop’s activities, dialogues, and materials. They are posted with the hope that other groups in other parts of the world may review, modify, and use them again, in order to open up similar conversations with relevant questions and examples from their own local contexts.

Afiche Conversatorio 1

Detail from poster for the project's final public roundtable event - "Do Cultures Have Owners" - Designed by Anuar Elias.

Download workshop documents:

The workshop organizers invite readers to view this website and use its tools. Please download, revise, and reuse the Coroico Agenda, the case studies, and the related glossary. Readers can also download the summary report of what happened at the Coroico Workshop. These are available in Word and PDF format on the Resources page. We hope these materials will spark more conversations about these issues.

Cite as:

Bigenho, Michelle and Henry Stobart, curators and editors (2014). 'Rethinking Creativity, Recognition and Indigenous Heritage' (website). https://www.royalholloway.ac.uk/bolivianmusicip/home.aspx

About us:

The project was directed by Michelle Bigenho (Hampshire College/Colgate University) and Henry Stobart (Royal Holloway University of London), alongside the Bolivian researchers/musicians Juan Carlos Cordero and Bernardo Rozo, and the Hampshire College student, Phoebe Smolin. Due to its nature as a citizens’ group, Alta-PI does not work from a single political line. Instead, each participant works from a distinct perspective on the issues under consideration, and they all work together to facilitate and coordinate activities related to promoting broader discussion of these themes.


  • Project directed by: Michelle Bigenho and Henry Stobart
  • Workshop and materials designed and written by: The Organizing Team: Michelle Bigenho, Henry Stobart, Juan Carlos Cordero, Bernardo Rozo, and Phoebe Smolin.
  • Writing composition, translation, and copyediting by: Michelle Bigenho, Henry Stobart, Bernardo Rozo, Juan Calos Cordero, Antonia Carcelén, Linda Farthing, and Fiorella Montero Diaz.
  • Contents of the workshop discussions and conclusions by: Participants of Coroico 2012 and summarized by the organizing team.
  • Audio segments created, recorded and edited by: Juan Carlos Cordero and Bernardo Rozo.
  • Website created by: Fiorella Montero Diaz

The Workshop and related dissemination activities were funded through a National Science Foundation Grant (award #1156260). Any opinions, findings, conclusions and/or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Creative Commons Licence
Rethinking Creativity, Recognition and Indigenous Heritage by https://www.royalholloway.ac.uk/boliviamusicip/home.aspx is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://www.royalholloway.ac.uk/boliviamusicip/home.aspx



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