Cocina CoLaboratorio (CoLaboratory Kitchen) (Mexico) is a transdisciplinary collective that gathers creatives (artists, designers, architects), farmer communities, scientists and chefs around the kitchen table to exchange knowledge, design and take action towards sustainable food futures. Cocina Colaboratorio regards the kitchen as a co-creative space where people are connected through growing, cooking, tasting, sharing and experimenting. Aspirations and actions are shared and undertaken around the kitchen, mixing world views, knowledge, practices and produce through different activities and programmes catered to specific sites and cultures.

During their residency at Delfina Foundation, as part of The Politics of Food programme (autumn 2022), Cocina Colaboratorio will continue exploring the ideas that are encompassed in the Biocultural Living Archive, a tool they have been co-designing over the past year for collective knowledge making and to serve as a platform for rethinking heritage as a political tool – to protect territories, use of land, recipes, agrobiodiversity and ancestral practices. The collective intend to bring to the residency what they have learned from the indigenous heritage of the communities with which they collaborate, especially the notion of “comunalidad”, a way of living and working, that emerges as a tacit display of social movements proposing other organising mechanisms.

Since 2018 the project has established long and short term arts/research/practice collaborations in three sites in Mexico: Xochimilco in Mexico City, Santo Domingo Tomaltepec in Oaxaca, and Marqués de Comillas in Chiapas. The collective’s ongoing programs include: the Street Kitchen Actions, mobile collaborative kitchens in public space; the Biocultural Living Archive, a living archive of seeds, stories and recipes; Radio Cocina Colaboratorio, an onsite and mobile audio-narrative project; the Community Chroniclers, inviting youth to research and promote the local food practices; and the Experimental Plots, agroforestry spaces for collective pedagogies. The project is in long term partnership with the National Autonomous University of Mexico (Institute for Ecosystem Research, Faculty of Arts and Design, the Institute for Transdisciplinary Research), and the University of Wageningen in the Netherlands. It has won the Climate Action Challenge by What Design Can Do (2018), the William Bullock Prize for Critical Museology by MUAC + USC Fisher Museum (2020), and the Global Challenge by Architecture-in-Development (2021).

For their residency at Delfina Foundation, Cocina Colaboratorio will be represented in London by Emilio Hernández Martínez. Emilio is a creative researcher and a design thinker, working at the intersection of learning space design, social entrepreneurship and design activism. He has focused his practice on exploring the convergence of arts, technology and new narratives for peace building. Emilio has collaborated with Cocina Colaboratorio since 2019, mainly in Santo Domingo Tomaltepec, Oaxaca, where he has been in charge of the creative coordination of the project, mediating dialogues and gatherings between the community, local authorities, creatives, researchers and academics. His work has focused on structuring learning communities of farmers, cooks and young narrators, with whom he has explored change around the local food system. Emilio has been involved in different academic investigations that aim to find the root causes that have generated socio-ecological degradations in Santo Domingo, creating the spaces to bring local knowledge to the table, and co-design with the people of the community, creative strategies and prototypes to address these issues.


Delfina Foundation’s Network of Latin America & The Caribbean Patrons


The Politics of Food:
Season 5


Autumn 2022




Please note all artist-in-residence biographies are accurate at the time of their residency. For up-to-date bios please visit the artist’s website.