Founders and Directors:

Valerio Fernández


Head Teacher, in charge of the areas of Andean music and musicology, textile semiotics and Quechua language, Valerio holds a bacheller’s degree in music from Cusco´s Leandro Alviña Miranda (ISMPLAM), and currently, he is coursing his Master’s degree in musicology at Peru´s Pontificia Universidad Católica (PUCP), in Lima. He also studied at the Musik Hochschule Fakultät III, in the jazz specialty, in the city of Lucerne, Switzerland.

Born in the indigenous Community of Pataqueña, in the Province of Chumbivilcas, Department of Cusco, Valerio is a native Quechua speaker who grew-up in the cradle of his community´s culture and traditions. His second language is Spanish. Valerio fluently speaks English and German as well.

His research lines are: Andean culture and society, gender, music and textile art, in the native communities. He is the author of the book titled: “Textiles in the Andean Political Context – Analysis of the Varayoq´s Clothing, Iconography and Symbolism”.

Emerita Bucher Fernandez


She is a teacher, sculptor and plastic artist, born in the city of Lucerne, in Switzerland, where she graduated in Education. She also studied plastic arts at the Farbmühle School of Arts, in Lucerne, as well as at the Superior Art School, in Cusco, Peru, and specialized in stone sculpture. She participated in diverse art expositions, as much in Switzerland, as in Peru.

She worked as a teacher, in several educational centers, in the elementary and secondary teaching levels, in Switzerland. Simultaneously, she participated in documentary movie projects with sociocultural focus.

Her research line is centered on Incan and Pre-Incan art designs and models. She creates sculptures, paintings and mural paintings. In addition, she is devoted to ceramics, and has learned the art of weaving with the “pallay” (Pick-up) technique.

In Apulaya, Emerita is part of the Directing Team, and teaches in the pre-Colombian art and Andean mathematics areas. She published her book: “Astronomy in the Andean Textile Art – Designs and Models of Astronomical Cycles in Pre-Incan Cultures”.

She fluently speaks German, Spanish and English, and masters French and Italian.

Academic Direction:

Hanny Fernández


As Academic Director and teacher in Apulaya´s research area, Hanny has both a Bacheller’s and Master´s Degrees in Social Anthropology, with diplomas from Cusco´s San Antonio Abad University. Her Master´s Degree Thesis is titled: “Development from the Point of View of the Accha Alta and Pomacanchi Community Members”. She also holds a Title of “Licenciatura” from the mentioned university with the Thesis about the “Causes and Effects of the Catholics´ Conversion to the Baptist Evangelical Church, in the Community of Toccoccori – Cusco”.

Hanny comes from the indigenous Community of Pataqueña, in the Province of Chumbivilcas, Department of Cusco. Her native language is Quechua, and her second language is Spanish. Furthermore, she also fluently speaks English and French.

Currently, she is coursing her Doctorate Degree at Louvain´s Catholic University, in Belgium. Her research lines are: Rural Education in Southern Peru´s Andes, and Social and Cultural Changes in the Andean Context.

Teachers and Specialists:

Apolonia Coronel


Head Teacher in charge of the textile area, Apolonia is Master Weaver in the weaving techniques called “pallay” (pick-up), using the waist loom, as well as in the braiding techniques. Her specialty encompasses the threads´ full process (sheering, threading, twisting and washing), in the traditional Andean way, which includes their natural dyeing process.

Apolonia comes from the Community of Pataqueña, in the Province of Chumbivilcas, and her native language is Quechua, but she also fluently speaks Spanish. Up to about two decades ago, she was a member of her community of origin, and her main activity was agro-shepherding. She is the bearer of the ways of knowing, production of perspectives and modes of signification proper to Andean environment.

Pedro Mendoza


He is teacher in Apulaya´s textile area, and facilitator in field experiences. As a Master Weaver, his specialties encompass the waist loom techniques and Andean-Style Knitting technique, as well as braiding and natural dyeing processes. Furthermore, he is member of his community´s Weavers´ Association.

He comes from the Community of Accha Alta, where he assumed the position of Varayoq Mayor (´Carrier of the Staff´ Authority). At present, he is part of the Kuraq Taytakuna; that is, the group of High Ranking Community Members.

He is a native Quechua speaker who also speaks Spanish fluently. As a teacher, he possesses solid methodology and didactics in teaching the textile technique. In the frame of our field experience programs, Pedro is our participants´ Host, Facilitator and Tutor.

Modesto Fernández


He is Apulaya´s Advisor and Counselor in Andean cultural and religious matters.

In the sphere of Andean religious specialists, or Wisa, his rank is that of Paqo. Born in the Community of Pataqueña, in the Province of Chumbivilcas, he has a very long trajectory as religious specialist, in the Andean tradition and spirituality.

Up to about two decades ago, he was a registered member of his community of origin, where he was working as an agro-shepherd, in parallel with his activities as Paqo, or Andean religious specialist.

He is a “Yachaq” (Wise Man), in virtue of the fact that he possesses a vast knowledge based on live experience. In Apulaya, he is in charge of orientations and counseling, in the Andean cultural and religious frame. As such, he also performs the corresponding religious celebrations, in accordance with the ritual calendar, and gives advice in cultural aspects of original Andean roots.

To communicate, his language of preference is Quechua, but he also fluently speaks Spanish.

Paola Flores


Teacher in the textile area, she is an excellent weaver, and her specialization areas are the waist loom, braiding techniques, dyeing techniques, and thread processing.

She won several weaving contests, organized by different local institutions. One of them was the Weavers´ Competition, organized by the locality of Lamay´s Municipality, in the Incas´ Sacred Valley, Department of Cusco, in which Paola´s textiles won first place for their iconographic quality and complexity.

For the moment, as Master Weaver, she is member of her community´s Weavers´ Association.

Alicia Layme


Teacher in the textile area, Alicia comes from the Community of Accha Alta, and is Paola´s daughter. She started weaving when she was seven years old, given that she comes from a family of excellent weavers, in her community.

Alicia is a Master in her region´s different “pallay” (pick-up) techniques, as well as in the Andean-Style Knitting and “kharka” techniques. In the case of group teachings, more specifically, Alicia helps us by giving the weaving and natural dyeing lessons.

Holly Wissler


She holds a dual masters degree from University of Idaho in Flute Performance and Music History. She received her Ph.D. from Florida State University in ethnomusicology. Since 2003 she has conducted research and participated in the indigenous musical rituals of the Quechua community of Q’eros. Her most recent research has focused on the lowland Queros Wachiperi community culture and music. She is the producer of two documentaries on Andean indigenous culture.

Besides English, Holly fluently speaks Spanish and Quechua, and as a member of Apulaya, she offers conferences and shows her documentary movies to our participants.