The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine in collaboration with the British Council, the European Union EU LAC Focus Project and the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts held a successful workshop on the Caribbean cultural sector at its campus from June 13-15, 2018.
CATALYST brought together over forty participants from ten countries. They included cultural practitioners, creative entrepreneurs, academics, policymakers, international funding agencies and regional organisations to examine the region’s cultural ecology. The aim of these discussions was to develop a more harmonious approach to enabling cultural activity in the region. Through seven roundtable conversations, participants derived a deeper understanding of how the Caribbean cultural ecology works and identified spheres of duplication, areas of critical need and opportunities for collaboration.
On the final day, the group engaged in hackathon sessions that helped them pinpoint critical strategic paths to strengthen activities in the sector. Participants conceptualised ideas in the areas of research, technical assistance in grant writing, capacity building, policy formulation, and investment. The main project that will be developed over the coming year is the revitalisation of an online portal that will bring the various communities of creative practice together and serve as a repository for past and ongoing research projects on the cultural domain. The portal will also link visitors to international cultural trade and industry sites and will be developed in collaboration with The UWI, St. Augustine and The Sir Shridath Ramphal Centre for International Trade Law, Policy and Services, which is based at The UWI, Cave Hill.
Participants believed the meeting provided a useful mechanism to facilitate much-needed conversations between the various stakeholders and to stimulate a more coordinated, inclusive and evidence-based approach to the Caribbean cultural ecology. Therefore, it was decided to make CATALYST an annual conversation that will be spearheaded by The UWI in collaboration with its partners including the British Council.