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The Maya: A Living Culture in the 21st Century

Author: Dr Ines Varela-Silva

Year: 16/07/2014 



The Maya are the largest living group of Native Americans, with 6-7 million members dispersed across what is now Guatemala, Mexico, and Belize. Their present situation bears little resemblance to their ancient origins when their ancestors, highly skilled in mathematics, architecture and astrology, dominated large areas of the Americas.


During 2012 popular interest in the Maya has increased largely as the result of a prophecy, falsely interpreted, claiming that cataclysmic events will occur as a consequence of the end of a cycle within the Maya Long Count calendar. However, in reality, most people do not know who the current Maya are. Many even think that the Maya are extinct.

The Maya Project was created by Dr Ines Varela-Silva, a Human Biologist at Loughborough University.


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The project was founded in August 2012 and its main mission is to blend art and science to globally disseminate knowledge and understanding about the Maya people of the 21st century.

The Maya Project is one of many projects within the Loughborough University Research and Enterprise initiatives.


The Maya Project has presented 4 multimedia exhibitions in Loughborough, UK; Lisbon, Portugal; Evora, Portugal and Merida, Mexico. The next exhibition is scheduled to open on the 4th March 2014 at the Museum of the Americas in Madrid, Spain.


Due to the success of these exhibitions the Maya Project is now producing two books:

a)    a printed book that will be published by Lamplight Press

b)    an eBook that is being developed by Moving by Design Press.


These books show artwork portraying several facets of the lives of the contemporary Maya, namely: Living Conditions, Health and Nutrition, Childhood, Faith and Spirituality, Power and Conflict, Working Conditions, Women’s Roles and Migration. All the artwork has been kindly donated by many artists, researchers, reporters and academics (most of them Maya).


To face the production costs of these books the Maya Project has launched a fundraising campaign.


The Vision of the Project is to contribute to a new era of greater justice, freedom, and health for the Maya people.

The Mission of the project is:

-       To produce and disseminate high quality research focused on the living Maya through art.

-       To publicise the work of artists, photographers and researchers.

-       To produce social, scientific and academic multimedia outputs about the contemporary Maya that interest the public 

in general.

-       To work with the Maya by tailoring our research questions to their needs.

-       To work with the Maya to provide methods, tools, techniques and concepts for interventions that are oriented to the improvement of their quality of life.


Price: £15.00

Where to buy: Loughborough University Online Store

External Websites: To go to The Maya Project's website click here