Mapping Indigenous Worlds is a Mellon Global South Humanities Lab at the University of Virginia. Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Mellon Global South Initiative empowers faculty, students, scholars, and community members to develop innovative research and curriculum about the Global South. Mapping Indigenous Worlds develops several key themes of the UVa Global South Initiative, most notably race and ethnicity, cartographies and spaces, language worlds, media ecologies and cultures, art and performance, cultures of human rights, and digital inequities.

The Mapping Indigenous Worlds Lab comprises four overlapping work clusters: "Representing Space and Place: Maps, Images and Narratives"; "Curation: Arts and Music"; "Care: Environment, Language, and Heritage"; and "Collaborative Community Engagements." Each work cluster will generate material and insights contributing to the lab's central digital innovation, the Mapping Indigenous Worlds Atlas.

Representing Space and Place: Maps, Images, and Narratives

Scholars in this work cluster examine indigenous conceptions of space. They also consider the affordances and limitations of media technologies in representating those spaces through presentations and workshops. Through individual and collaborative mapping projects, students, faculty, outside scholars, and other lab members are building the Mapping Indigenous Worlds Atlas. This collaborative digital atlas represents and interprets indigenous cartographic objects and spatial knowledge from around the world. It serves as a teaching tool for geospatial digital visualization; a forum for bringing together scholarly research; a repository for collecting information about resources on Grounds relating to Indigenous Studies; a record of our activities; and a medium for engagements with indigenous collaborators. It will also provide an accessible, public-facing portal through which we can share this knowledge with broader constituencies at UVa, throughout Virginia, and globally.

Curation: Arts and Music

This cluster complements the previous one and showcases UVa’s distinctive strengths in the area of curation. Lab members in the curation cluster consider the potential interactions and synergies of curation with representational media, as well as it other-than-representational potential. Members of this work cluster will have opportunities to undertake workshops and presentations with other lab members, and to invite other innovative curators to grounds, including community collaborators.

Care: Environment, Language, and Heritage

Lab members in this cluser work on projects in indigenous communities dedicated to conserving and managing environments, language, and heritage. Members of this group will consider the challenges and ethics of this kind of collaborative and community-based research, including the involvement of graduate and undergraduate students.

Community Engagements at the University of Virginia and Beyond

In keeping with definitions of indigeneity based on relationships of reciprocal responsibility, it is important for UVa to acknowledge its responsibilities and to redress its historically problematic relationships with native peoples, particularly the Monacan people on whose land the University resides. Lab members within this cluser seek to design and convene collaborative conversations and workshops with indigenous communities in Virginia and beyond. Members will also consider ways in which digital innovations may enhance community collaborations.