SIT Argentina: Memory and Social Activism Through the Arts

Video and Photos

Painting a mural in Argentina.
Painting a mural in Argentina.


Discover how artistic expression helped generations of Argentinians work through their country’s troubled past and advocate for a brighter future.

Major topics of study include:
-Argentina’s experiences of state terrorism from 1976 to 1983
-Artwork, art movements, and well-known artists in Buenos Aires
-Ways in which artists are using new technologies and new mediums to develop and extend their messages and to bring Buenos Aires’ concerns into dialogue with global issues
-The use of photography in Argentina

Questions & Answers


9.75 Rating
based on 4 reviews
  • Academics 9.5
  • Support 9.5
  • Fun 9.3
  • Housing 9.5
  • Safety 9.5
Showing 1 - 4 of 4
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Yes, I recommend this program

Thought provoking and social-justice focused

I am extremely grateful to have spent a summer with SIT in Buenos Aires. By learning about memory and trauma through art, I was able to learn how people begin the path to heal while also demanding their stories be heard. This topic is always important to reflect on, but it is particularly relevant today. I got the opportunity to learn about a history not commonly taught in the United States, and was so lucky to live with a wonderful host mother who I saw in a subsequent trip to Buenos Aires. This program inspired me to focus on immigration patterns in Buenos Aires in research I conducted following the program, and is the reason why I ended up going back to Buenos Aires a year and a half later. A huge thank you to all of the people who made this program so impactful!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Make sure to give yourself time to emotionally process the intense places you go and experiences you hear about.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Infused my studies with color, creativity, emotion

The majority of my classes up until I took this program were in psychology and sociology. I am passionate about better understanding the complexity of human beings and how such understanding can be used to promote change. This program was an incredibly rich entry point for me into the world of activism and dialogue through art, something which had been missing from my studies. So many thoughtful and haunting uses of imagery. I highly recommend you look for examples of the work of Lucila Quieto for one example of the powerful work you will encounter (link at bottom). The experiences of meeting her in person, along with several other artists and collectives, were indispensable. You will not be just reading about subject matter but encountering it in places where the Dirty War was carried out, talking with survivors, and meeting grassroots organizers. Partly due to inspiration from this program, my senior thesis will be tying theory (ecofeminism and ecopsychology) with its illustration in the work of female artists, including Latinas Laura Aguilar and Ana Mendieta.

My homestay family was very friendly and accommodating - one of my favorite days was going out with them and strolling through the historic districts of La Boca and San Telmo. Tango in the streets, colorful buildings, open courtyards, markets, nooks and crannies with old cafés and vines creeping around store entryways. As the warm afternoon light gave way to night and the colored lights of the Plaza de Mayo, my homestay mother telling me the history of so many buildings, I became truly immersed in the atmosphere of Buenos Aires.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Practice your Spanish comprehension regularly by listening to news, movies, music, etc. before you come on the trip. It will allow you to get the most possible out of the experience.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Highly impactful

This trip is super important for Americans, especially those unfamiliar with the history of the US in Latin America (as I was). It was illuminating, not just about Argentina's last dictatorship, but similar occurrences in other Latin American countries, as well as the history and sociology of the country itself (i.e. the lack of black Argentinians, marginalization of indigenous groups, etc). This trip is an opportunity to learn history, grow as your wrestle with difficult truths, and have sooooo many empanadas! Global positioning is also something we had to confront as Americans, so it stretched us (me) in that way as well. I highly recommend it. I'm still writing about our topics and using my Spanish. I actually plan to return again and learn more.

Quick tip: the trip will be much more rich if you really brush up on your Spanish before hand.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
Our first time in a concentration camp was really difficult. A lot of conversation with others and verbal processing helped.
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No, I don't recommend this program

New way of looking at art

I definitely think about art differently after this program. It was really empowering to see it used as a tool in so many ways. In this program, art was used as a means of exploring and analyzing a new city, as a means to process trauma, to track an intergenerational timeline of consciousness, and to empower people with creative solutions. The instructors are amazing and very compassionate. Also, this program is important for a person born and raised in the United States (like me)! I did not know almost anything about Los Desaparecidos in Argentina and many similar scenarios in other countries in South America. I would say its an essential piece of history to understand, and it's much easier to get an understanding first hand in Argentina.

(I put 9 out of 10 for housing purely because we were all housed in really wealthy neighborhoods and it would have been nice to see a bit more of the city.)

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Definitely take a weekend to travel to Iguazu. It's one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.