Lidia Merás

Principal Researcher

Dr. Lidia Merás is a film historian with an interest in contemporary art. She is currently a Senior Research Fellow at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM). She has published widely on gender studies, documentary, and European cinema. Since 2002 she has served as a member of the editorial board of the film journal Secuencias.

Prior to joining the UAM, Dr. Merás taught at Royal Holloway (University of London), Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona), and Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. She currently leads the research project DocRoma which focusses on the representation of the Spanish Roma in documentary film, television, and new media. She is currently writing a monograph on this subject. Lidia has presented her work, as a guest speaker, at the Museo Prado (Madrid), the Instituto de Cervantes (Berlin), and the British Film Institute (London). As of 2022 she has been an Honorary Research Fellow at the Centre for Visual Culture (University of London, Royal Holloway).

Rafael Buhigas Jiménez

Project coordinator

Rafael Buhigas Jiménez holds a degree in History at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and an inter-university Masters in Contemporary History from the same institution. He will receive his PhD in 2023 for his thesis “Los gitanos ante la crisis urbana de Madrid (1959-1986)”.

During his studies at the Faculty of Geography and History at UCM, he was the holder of a Collaboration Grant in the Department of Contemporary History. Rafael has been involved in the organisation of seminars and projects concerning educational innovation, and has been speaker and workshop coordinator at numerous national and international conferences. Until September 2022 he taught modules on History, History of Art, and Music at UCM under a FPI (PhD research) contract. In addition, over the past decade he has been prominent within Roma social movements. He is also an academic member of the “History and Commemoration” department of the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture (ERIAC).

Associate researchers:

Bohumira Smidakova

Bohumira Smidakova graduated from English and Spanish Philology at Universidad de Oviedo. She has completed her doctoral thesis on the representation of Romani community in Spanish cinema at Georgetown University (Washington DC), where she works as Teaching Assistant Professor of language and culture. She has published on Carmen Amaya and her role in the transformation of the representation of Roma women in Spanish cinematography. Her most recent article (forthcoming) examines music in the españolada and its impact on the conceptualization of race, more specifically Lola Flores’ 1950s films. She is currently researching on Spanish Roma film directors.

Miguel Ángel Vargas

Miguel Ángel Vargas is an art historian and stage director, an independent artist and researcher. He combines flamenco, theatre and Romani history as experiential material for both artistic and academic research. He has worked internationally as an actor, director, stage designer, exhibition curator, as head of productions and as a cultural agent among other roles within the cultural sector. exhibition curator, as head of productions and as a cultural agent among other roles within the cultural sector. He has collaborated with diverse academic institutions such as Central Saint Martins (London) and the Critical Approach to Romani Studies at the Central European University (Budapest-Vienna). He has also served as an advisor to such cultural institutions as the National Gallery of Art (Washington) and the Spanish Ministry of Culture’s Encuentros Cultura y Ciudadanía. He is part of the cultural mediation team at ICAS (Institute for Culture and the Arts, Seville) and a member of the Barvalipe Academy at the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture (ERIAC) in Berlin. He is a lecturer in the Masters in Flamenco Research and Analysis course at the Universidad Pablo de Olavide (Seville) where he is also undertaking a doctorate in contemporary history.