Amazon Field School

Led by professor Lucie Gagne, Marlene and Diego Samper, the Amazon Field School has been established in Calanoa to offer students the opportunity to engage in intensive cross-disciplinary, cross-cultural field studies.

Through alternative educational methods, and exposed to a new physical and cultural environment, students explore themes as creativity and imagination, academic enquire, ecology and conservation, cultural awareness, environmental design and community development.

Since 2013, an Interdisciplinary Field School is being held every year for Kwantlen Polytechnic University of Vancouver, Canada.

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Calanoa is a permanent forum for art, design and science, through residencies, workshops, encounters and international meetings. A unique feature of Calanoa is its arts program, oriented towards the creation and experience of art forms that spring from a dialogue with the natural surroundings and traditional cultures.


A studio facilitates workshops on visual arts, particularly fibre arts, ceramics, photography, painting and sculpture. And the forest and gardens offers endless opportunities (and materials) for the practice of environmental arts.

The program also aims to contribute to the improvement of local artists and artisan skills, and to the exchange of knowledge and techniques with visiting artists.

With Kwantlen Polytechnic University, from Vancouver, Canada, an International Field School has been established, with an anual course held every spring.

Please contact us for dates, rates and availability.


Matilde Sánchez, master potter and weaver, with her first pot fired on a firewood kiln in Calanoa.





Photography workshop in the Amazon

with Diego Samper

Photography is by far the most democratic of the art forms, and properly used, can awaken the artist in each of us. Besides, it is the most wonderful tool to explore the world around us. This is a hands-on workshop structured around photography as a tool of exploration and the fine art of observation, in a most amazing setting, the Amazon rainforest, and with the expert guidance of Diego Samper.
No previous knowledge or expertise of the medium is required, just an open approach to creation. And for experienced photographers the workshop offers an opportunity to hone their skills and explore the Amazon rainforest guided by an insider. The practice includes travel and nature photography techniques, specific techniques for rainforest conditions, creative techniques with time and light, and methodology of creation.
In its conceptual base, the workshop is a dialogue with the natural world and with its traditional inhabitants. It’s about how to complement different visions of the world –we see what we know. We stress in an integrated vision, one that takes from diverse sources and opens a window that fuses all of them. This workshop offers the possibility of professional guidance of people committed to the conservation of the Amazon and of dialogue with its aboriginal people.

Diego Samper is a visual artist, photographer & designer, and has a lifetime of experience as a photographer and explorer of the Amazon. Smithsonian Institution Press published his work on the Makuna people from the Northwest Amazon. He regularly delivers workshops on Photography, Creativity and Aesthetic Research.


Amazon Fiber Arts workshop

The Amazon Fiber Arts workshop, held once per year at the Calanoa Natural Reserve, offers a unique opportunity to explore the richness of natural fibers in the rainforest, and to experience first-hand an ancient culture based largely on the use of it. From the longhouse, with its woven palm roofs, to hammocks, baskets and painted tree bark paper, all of it reflects the indigenous deep knowledge of their natural environment and the intimate relationship with it.


The workshop combines demonstration and practice of various fiber works, engaging with local master artisans, as well as walks and river trips to the Reserve and villages around. Our intention is to introduce you to the various resources of the forest (and at the same time immerse you in the pulse and richness of tropical life and culture), and provide time to develop your own personal art works.


Calanoa's architecture is by itself a contemporary approach to the traditional use of fibers and palm wood. On the frame of developing a model of sustainable living for the humid tropics, building design with fibers is essential. It explores the possibilities of the diversity and abundance of palms, as does the architecture and gardening of the landscape, where the fibers needed are grown. This way, both buildings and living plants are interwoven.


Colombian/Canadians Marlene and Diego Samper will host the workshop, providing all the background information, and facilitating the dialogue with local guides and artisans, mostly from the Tikuna and Huitoto people.

Contact us for additional information and availability.

all photos © Diego Samper 2014