Ventana Latina aims to reinforce Latin American identity in the Diaspora and to become the voice of Latin America in Europe, especially in the UK. Their online digital magazine offers articles on Latin American literature, cinema, theatre, celebrities, artists’ profiles, news, life experiences, projects and organisations.
Ventana Latina (VL) is a cultural magazine in Spanish founded by Casa Latina (http://casalatina.org.uk) or Latin American House (LAH). as it is known in English. The project has been going for two years and started out as a cultural newsletter for LAH subscribers. It received strong feedback from the community who started interacting with Ventana Latina by sending articles, artists’profiles and information about cultural events and projects. It has grown from 4 pages to 36 in their most recent edition and now has 6 people working on its editorial team. It is a completely non-profit venture based on the work of volunteers although it is now starting to offer advertising and promotion services to sustain itself and support the services that LAH offers.
LAH was established in 1983 to provide support for Latin Americans who did not have access to diplomatic services in London. It became a registered charity in 1986 (as Latin American Association) and a company limited by guarantee in 2008 (as Latin American House). It aims to promote the well-being and integration of Latin American and other Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking migrants in London, sharing the richness and diversity of Latin American culture with other communities. LAH currently facilitates five projects: Legal and Social Advice Service (LESAS) (1100 beneficiaries per year), The Adult Community Learning and UK Online Centre (110 course enrolments and others accessing computers each year), Menchu Nursery – bilingual Spanish and English nursery (17 places), Ventana Latina cultural magazine and social and cultural activities: cine club, dance classes, theatre performance and Community Centre rental.
VL’s main aim is to promote Latin American identity and culture in Britain by serving as a portal to Latin American culture. VL is the first Spanish language magazine in London dedicated to publishing the work of Latin Americans in the Diaspora in a cost-free way while simultaneously providing a selective guide to Latin American cultural events. It provides a sense of belonging and strengthens cultural identity for Latin Americans living outside their countries of origin. This year they won web media of the year at the LUKAS awards, the first ever awards celebrating the contribution of Britain’s Latin American, Spanish and Portuguese communities (for a full list of winners, itself a useful resource guide for Latin American organizations in London, see http://www.latinolife.co.uk/lukas-awards)..
VL is a new magazine so its greatest challenge has been to let people know it exists. However, the great social need for Latin American cultural projects in London has provided the springboard. The Latin American community is looking for spaces where they can interact with other Latin Americans, publish their work and find information about the activities that interest them. However, a restricted budget has made it hard for VL to provide good distribution channels and services. This is why VL is looking for ways to generate income so it can continue to offer the community a portal of Latin American culture, by promoting artists, providing a cultural guide, analysis and reports on Latin American events, allowing digital downloads free of cost and opening spaces of online interaction for the Latin American community in Britain.
Recently VL has featured well-known authors such as Santiago Roncagliolo, Edmundo Paz Soldán and Matías Néspolo, who contributed short stories and poetry, and they have also published interviews with Carlos Gamerro and Eduardo Makaroff from the Gotan Project. Their latest edition focuses on the London 2012 Olympiad and features an interview with Hugo Arrevillaga, the Mexican director of Shakespeare’s Henry IV.
Their target audience has always been Latin Americans living in the UK and the rest of Europe. However many contributors and readers are of British and other European nationalities, including students of Latin American Studies, artists, writers, journalists, professionals and academics. One of VL’s goals is to offer their publication in both Spanish and English to reach a wider audience. They aspire to becoming the main reference point for Latin American culture, helping to strengthen Latin American identity in London and beyond.
To read Ventana Latina’s latest edition please click here.
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