Díaz-Ayala Library Travel Grants


Cristóbal Díaz-Ayala presenting his latest book at Books & Books Coral Gables, 2013

2023 Call for Applications. Application deadline: Wednesday, March 15, 2023

All application materials shoulud be submitted to cri@fiu.edu 

2023 Application Form

2023 Budget Estimate

Every year, the Cuban Research Institute (CRI), the Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center (LACC), and Florida International University Libraries offer the Díaz-Ayala Library Travel Grants to study the special collections related to Cuba and Cuban Americans. These awards are offered in honor of Cristóbal Díaz-Ayala, the prominent music collector and independent scholar who donated his Cuban and Latin American Popular Music Collection to FIU in 2001. The grants provide scholars and graduate students the opportunity to conduct research on Cuba and its diaspora at the FIU Green Library, thereby expanding access to the library's unique holdings and enhancing its value as a national resource.

CRI, LACC, and FIU Libraries offer research stipends of up to $2,000 each to offset the costs of a minimum one-week stay (five working days) in Miami to use the collections. Scholars in the humanities and the social sciences whose work will be enhanced by using the resources of the collections are encouraged to apply. Priority is given to scholars who are not previous recipients of the award. Two of the awards are given to U.S.-based scholars or graduate students, in accordance with the requirements of the U.S. Department of Education Title VI Grant. Those residing in other countries are encouraged to apply for the remaining grant.

As a condition of the award, recipients give one lunchtime lecture at FIU for faculty and students on their recent research, and following their travel, submit a one-page single-spaced summary of their work with the collections, and make recommendations on how the collections may be improved or enhanced. Any publications resulting from research conducted at FIU during the grant period should acknowledge the Cuban Research Institute, the Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center, FIU Libraries, and the U.S. Department of Education Title VI Grant for their support.

The Díaz-Ayala Cuban and Latin American Popular Music Collection is the most extensive publicly available collection of Cuban music in the United States. Its approximately 150,000 items span the history of popular Cuban and other Latin musics. Originally valued at nearly one million dollars, the collection features 45,000 LPs; 15,000 78 rpms; 4,500 cassettes containing interviews with composers and musicians, radio programs, music, and other materials; 5,000 pieces of sheet music; 3,000 books; and thousands of CDs, photographs, videocassettes, and paper files. Among the collection's rarest items are early recordings made in prerevolutionary Cuba.

A portion of the collection can be searched online here. However, the vast majority of items are only searchable and accessible in person. Supplementing the Díaz-Ayala Music Collection is an excellent and varied collection of Cuban and Cuban-American materials and electronic resources available at the FIU Libraries. For more information on the Díaz-Ayala Music Collection and other collections, and to determine if your research project will be enhanced by the Díaz-Ayala Music Collection, please contact the Sound & Image Resources Department at FIU Libraries.


"Deporting the Sacred: The Circulation of Abakuá Visual and Material Worlds Across the Late Spanish Empire (1874-1898)"
May 26, 2022

This lecture explores the movement of ritual objects from Cuba to Africa and Europe, specifically those belonging to the Abakuá, an all-male Cuban secrete society with roots in West Africa. Sophia Kilinski is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History of Art at Yale University.

"Rhythms of Revolution: A Cold War History of Cuban-Chilean Cultural Exchange and Political Transformation"
May 20, 2022

This lecture illuminates the ways music shaped political cultures and events in Cold War Latin America by examining the dialectic exchange between musicians and insurgents as well as transnational relationships between Cuba and other nations mired in political polarization. Kimiko Nicole LeNeave is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History at the University of California, San Diego.

"U.S. Merchants and the Foundation of the Cuban-Based Transatlantic Slave Trade, 1790-1820"
May 19, 2022

Based on decade-long multinational archival research, this lecture will discuss the role that U.S. merchants played in training the first generation of Cuban-based slave traders, connecting them with regions in Africa, and providing them with expertise in the human trafficking business. Dr. Jorge Felipe-González is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History at the University of Texas, San Antonio.

"Teaching the Cuban Discography: The Archive as Clave"
July 1, 2021

The presentation includes an overall survey of the Díaz-Ayala Collection and its holdings; scrutiny of the earliest recordings in the collection; a survey of rumba and Afro-Cuban religious recordings; and a contrast of pre- and post-revolutionary production. Dr. Ned Sublette is an Adjunct Professor at the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at New York University.

"Transculturated Poetics: 'La Tumba Francesa' and Cuban Cultural Identity"
June 24, 2021

This lecture by Dr. Adriana Méndez Rodenas encompasses a review of recordings of "la tumba francesa" held at the Díaz-Ayala Collection, focusing on the musicality of the dance, its connections to Afro-Cuban music, and its survival as a dance form. Dr. Méndez Rodenas is a Professor of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at the University of Missouri.

Video recording

"Pursuing Better Status and More Freedom"
June 18, 2021

This lecture utilizes legal professionals as a strategic window to unveil the patterns of social mobility and its limitations involving class, race, and gender in late colonial Cuba. Dr. Ricardo Pelegrin Taboada is a Visiting Assistant Professor of History at FIU.

Video recording

"Picturing Orisha Music in the Age of Multimedia"
May 28, 2021

This presentation explores a series of LPs from the Díaz-Ayala Collection at the FIU Libraries, which evoke the complex nature of Afro-Atlantic deities known as orisha. Featuring David Font-Navarrete from the Department of Music, Multimedia, Theatre, and Dance at Lehman College, CUNY.

Video recording

"Manufacturing Montuno: Towards an Appreciation of the Evolution of Style in Montuno Piano Accompaniments in Cuban Dance Music"
May 31, 2019

Dean Craven is a Ph.D. student in ethnomusicology at King's College, London where he is studying the aesthetic decisions and improvisatory processes that sit behind the manufacture of montuno-style piano accompaniment.

"Nostalgia and el pregón: The Return of Street-Vendor songs in Cuba"
May 23, 2019

Andrés García Molina is a Ph.D. candidate in ethnomusicology at Columbia University. His presentation will examine the intertwined notions of nostalgia and musicality that characterize everyday speech and valuations of contemporary street-vendor songs.

"Patriots and Traitors in Revolutionary Cuba: Conscience and Complicity"
May 9, 2019

Lillian Guerra is a professor of Cuban and Caribbean History at the University of Florida. She will examine the mechanisms through which grassroots support was constructed and challenged in Cuba.

Video recording

"A History of José Martí's Archive"
June 14, 2018
Dr. Jorge Camacho, University of South Carolina

"Tracing the Cinquilla Cubano: From the Trova to the Danzón"
April 27, 2018

David Virelles González was classically trained at the Esteban Salas Conservatory in Santiago de Cuba and earned a bachelor's degree in jazz performance from Humber College in Toronto, Canada.

"The Lyric Theater in Expressions of Cuban Identity: Study and Reconstruction of El sombrero de Yarey, Opera by Ernesto Lecuona"
April 18, 2018

Yurima Blanco García is a PhD candidate in Musicology at the University of Valladolid, Spain, where she also teaches. She is preparing a collection of books, sheets, adn records dedicated to the study and dissemination of the work of Cuban composer Hilario Gonzalez.

"La Mulata" in the Spanish Caribbean: From Stage to Films
May 18, 2017

Yesenia Fernández Selier is the recipient of the LACC/CRI 2017 Díaz-Ayala Library Travel Grant. Her presentation examines the transnational dissemination of the Cuban icon of "la mulata" in Latin American films and contemporary cultural practices.

Caribbean Children’s Music: Rhythms, Melodies, and Lyrics
May 11, 2017

Marta Hernández Cadelas is the recipient of the LACC/CRI 2017 Díaz-Ayala Library Travel Grant. Dr.Hernández analyzes the repertoire of children's songs from Cuba and other Caribbean countries.

Carlos Ripoll's José Martí
May 10, 2017

Enrico Mario Santí is the recipient of the LACC/CRI 2017 Díaz-Ayala Library Travel Grant. His presentation explores Ripoll's reading of Martí, his legacy and, in particular, what Ripoll called repeatedly "the falsification of José Martí in present-day Cuba."

Language Change in Cuban Spanish: Subject Pronoun Variation
May 18, 2016

Gabriela G. Alfaraz is the recipient of the LACC/CRI 2016 Díaz-Ayala Library Travel Grant. Her presentation examines findings of a comparative analysis of three generational cohorts of Cubans that showed both stability and changes in the pronominal system.

Cubanness in the Lyrics of the Guaracha: National Identity beyond Appearances
May 12, 2016

Liliana Casanella Cué is the recipient of the LACC/CRI 2016 Díaz-Ayala Library Travel Grant. Her presentation analyzes a textual corpus of the guaracha to explore how its various models surpass musical fashions to maintain its attachment to the essential characteristics of Cubanness.

Watch: Part 1

Watch: Part 2

Uncovering Transatlantic "Décimas" at the Díaz-Ayala Music Collection
April 27, 2016

Dr. Noraliz Ruiz Caraballo is the recipient of the LACC/CRI 2016 Díaz-Ayala Library Travel Grant. Her presentation examines various recordings housed at the Díaz-Ayala collection to explore the historical and cultural connections established in the performance of décimasin Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Canary Islands.

Cuban Civil Law: Myth or Reality?
June 3, 2015

Dr. María Elena Cobas Cobiellas is the recipient of the LACC/CRI 2015 Díaz-Ayala Library Travel Grant. Her presentation covers a comparison between current Cuban legislation and the precedent Cuban law, with special reference to property law.

Watch: Part 1
Watch: Part 2
Watch: Part 3

"Como un milagro": The Musical Influence of Juanito Márquez on the Popular Song of Four Continents
April 29, 2015

Dr. Benjamin Lapidus is the recipient of the LACC/CRI 2015 Díaz-Ayala Library Travel Grant. His presentation covers the extensive career of Juanito Márquez Urbino in Cuba, Spain, and the United States.

Watch: Part 1
Watch: Part 2

La Batería: Jazz and the Drum Set in Cuba
April 22, 2015

Matthew R. Berger is the recipient of the LACC/CRI 2015 Díaz-Ayala Library Travel Grant. His presentation traces the incorporation of drum sets into, first, jazz in New Orleans and, soon thereafter, in Cuba at around the turn of the 20th century.

Watch: Part 1
Watch: Part 2