Marcela Palomino-Schalscha

Dr Marcela Palomino-Schalscha profile picture

Lecturer School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences

Research Interests

My research interest is located in the intersection between Development Studies, Human Geography and Political Ecology, with special emphasis on Indigenous issues. Areas of particular interest are:

  • development (post-development);
  • diverse and solidarity economies;
  • decolonisation and decoloniality;
  • neoliberalism;
  • more-than-human geographies;
  • politics of scale and place;
  • Indigenous-run tourism;
  • Visual and tactile methods;
  • Latin America, and;
  • Arpilleras

Based on my experience working in development and environmental issues for NGOs and government agencies in Chile (my home country), I am interested in putting academia at the service of communities through engaged scholarship, conducting theoretically sophisticated work while remaining rooted in practical aspects.

One of the key aims of my work so far has been to explore how Indigenous ontologies and knowledge (multiple and mixed) are challenging modern/Western knowledge and ways of being, which poses important theoretical and practical implications for development, economic and environmental thinking and cross-cultural relations, and has consequences that affect us all, Indigenous and non-Indigenous.

More recently, I have engaged with visual and tactile methodologies, experimenting with the production of arpilleras (traditional political tapestries in Chile) to explore, articulate and visualise the power-full entanglements of gendered bodies, intimate stories and geopolitical processes. We have formed the Wellington Arpilleras Collective ( with a group of Latin American migrant and former-refugee women living in Wellington. Working with arpilleras has also led me to consider how working with material, slow methods can explicitly enrol non-humans (threads, fabrics) as research collaborators to practice different ways of knowing and communicating.


  • PhD in Geography - University of Canterbury (2012)
  • Geography - Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

Possible topics for supervision (at Master's and PhD level)

I am particularly interested in supervising students in the following areas (ideally based on Aotearoa New Zealand and/or Latin America, but open to other parts of the world as well):

  • unpacking experiences of indigenous tourism: identity, resistance and development
  • exploring economic initiatives beyond capitalism: diverse and solidarity economies in action
  • other ways of knowing and relating to nature: political ecology and decolonisation in a neoliberal era
  • using visual or textile methods.


Publications from 2009 - Now