Research Brew & Exchange Café 2

When and Where

Wednesday, November 15, 2023 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Jackman Humanities Building 318
170 St. George St., Toronto, ON M5S 2M8


David Hill and Luis Ángel Medina Rodríguez


Latin American Studies is pleased to invite you to the second event of our "Research Brew & Exchange Café" series, dedicated to the exploration of research related to Latin America. Here, graduate students will present their ongoing projects, providing you with a firsthand look at the incredible depth and diversity of research related to Latin America and its diasporas taking place right here, at the University of Toronto.

We welcome David Hill from the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and Luis Ángel Medina Rodríguez, from the Faculty of Music. Both presentations will look at different aspects of what supports our wellbeing: a tight-knit community and the arts.

Co-operative Contributions to Health and Wellbeing in Costa Rica

Co-operatives are part of a global solidarity economy movement to eradicate poverty and reduce social and economic inequities by creating decent jobs centered around people rather than profits. While the best-known co-operatives are in Europe’s Basque country and the former Yugoslavia, Costa Rica's strong tradition of labour activism, robust co-operative movement, and comprehensive welfare state make it an auspicious setting to examine how co-operatives can contribute to health and wellbeing. This research utilizes critical ethnography to explore how alternative systems of workplace governance impact health and wellbeing in communities. Particularly, it investigates how co-operatives may contribute to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3: Improved health and wellbeing. Between May and December 2022, semi-structured interviews were conducted in Spanish with 25 members across four co-operatives in three cities in Costa Rica, as well as 10 key stakeholders from the co-operative movement. Results show how co-operatives mobilized rapidly to adopt health and safety protocols and demonstrated care for communities amid the intersecting crises laid bare by COVID-19. Masks and policies surrounding physical distancing sought to protect members, while donations of personal protective equipment, food drives, and coordinated supports for vulnerable community members demonstrated co-operative commitments to improved health and wellbeing in communities. Findings advance understandings of co-operative embeddedness in communities, and mechanisms by which co-operatives can contribute to the SDGs.

About the Presenter

David is a fourth-year PhD Candidate in the Social and Behavioural Health Sciences Division, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, and is completing a collaborative specialization in Global Health. Guided by Latin American Social Medicine and Critical Political Economy theory, his dissertation research employs critical ethnography to explore the contributions of co-operatives to economic justice and health and wellbeing amid COVID-19 in Costa Rica.


Rediscovering the Guitar Music of Julio Cesar Oliva

Born in 1947, Julio Cesar Oliva, classical guitar composer and performer, is considered to be one of the greatest in the history of guitar in Mexico. He has an incredibly prolific performing career with over three thousand concerts that took him all over Mexico, Europe and the US, and he has been celebrated by guitar festivals all over Mexico. He stands alongside composers such as Leo Brouwer, Dusan Bogdanovic, Andrew York, Roland Dyens, and others, who wrote set pieces for the Guitar Foundation of America, the most prestigious guitar competition in the world. Sources differ on the number of pieces he has written for the guitar, with some claims that he has written over two hundred pieces for the guitar while others say that it is closer to four hundred; however, he is one of the most obscure composers of our time with only very few of his pieces ever being published, recorded, or even heard of outside of Mexico. My dissertation therefore seeks to understand the scope of his compositional career, digitally preserve copies of his hand-written scores and deconstruct his style of writing for the guitar, all with the hopes of making his music more accessible academic and music world. This lecture will shed a light on Oliva’s incredible life and career as well as offer a glimpse on his compositional output, exploring samples from his solo works to chamber music.

About the Presenter

Luis Angel Medina, founder of the Vancouver Classical Guitar Festival, is a renowned performer and educator in North America. He earned acclaim with a Silver Medal at the 2017 Vancouver International Music Competition and holds a Masters from the University of Georgia. Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, he embarked on his musical journey at fourteen and later pursued studies in Vancouver, amassing awards and scholarships. Luis now pursues a Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of Toronto, researching the life and music of guitarist and composer Julio Cesar Oliva. His active involvement in guitar societies throughout Canada and his role as a Guitar Instructor at Capilano University reflect his commitment to sharing the beauty of classical guitar with the broader community.

Contact Information


Latin American Studies


170 St. George St., Toronto, ON M5S 2M8