CN President, Pam Burnside was honoured to be invited to participate in a Plenary session entitled: "Activist Interventions: Working on the Frontline" on Friday, June 9 - the final conference day of the week-long 42nd Annual Caribbean Studies Association Conference under the theme “Culture and Knowledge Economies: The Future of Caribbean Development?” which was held at the Meliá Nassau Beach – All Inclusive Resort in Nassau, Bahamas, 5-10 June 2017. The session was moderated by CSA President, Keithley Woolward with other panelists: Dr Rita Pratt of the Bahamas African Heritage Museum, Malaika Brooks-Smith Lowe of Groundation Grenada, and Diana Hamilton of The Cat Island Accordion Camp. (Photos above kind courtesy of Eric Rose, Bahamas Information Services)
The text of Burnside's power point presentation which was delivered in the form of 'Ol' story time', follows :
‘ACTIVIST INTERVENTIONS: WORKING ON THE FRONTLINE’ :A Doongalik and Creative Nassau story
ONCE UPON A TIME WAS A MERRY OLD TIME, THE MONKEY CHEW TOBACCO AND SPIT WHITE LIME…..This is a story about love and loss, about fate and faith, about purpose and passion, about determination and drive, and about Caribbean culture and creativity.
Once upon this time, there was a big head, boisterous Bahamian boy named Jackson Logan Burnside III who grew up to be an architect, artist, teacher and junkanoo, and a little biggity Bahamian girl, Pamela Jones who grew up to be a lover of words, fashion designer, kindergarten teacher and gallery owner. Both of them looooved The Bahamas with a burning passion, and, as fate would have it, they met in London, England, and fell in love.
J&P came back to an independent Bahamas in the early ‘70s, got married, and embarked upon a shared mission of ‘showing off’ Bahamian art to the world by creating ‘Doongalik’ (that’s their own made up word from the ‘doong’ sound of the junkanoo goat skin drum, and the ‘kalik’ sound of the junkanoo cowbells), and established Doongalik Studios with the mission statement that: by the year 2020, more visitors will come to The Bahamas because of its Art, Culture and Heritage rather than merely for its sun, sand and sea.
With fierce determination and unmitigated faith, these two cultural entrepreneurs went about the formidable task of promoting Bahamian fine art, culture, architecture, and junkanoo for decades, with a few like-minded artists, and no government assistance, slowly inching forward, one itsy, bitsy step at a time.
Then in 2008, J&P attended the first UNESCO Creative Tourism conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico and returned home fired up to move their mission fast forward with a group of like-minded Bahamians, and BOOM!! Creative Nassau, a registered non-profit, civil society organization was born with the goal of positioning Bahamian Art, Culture and Heritage on the global stage!
With valuable insight gained from the trip to Santa Fe, and using Bahamian Straw craft and the Junkanoo tradition as the main elements, they boldly applied for membership in the prestigious UNESCO Creative Cities Network - an amazing group of 116 cities from 54 countries around the world showcasing Creativity in seven fields, as the driving force for development and sustainability.
This was something that no other Caribbean island had ever done – but J&P were not boisterous and biggity for nothing! They had faith, drive, determination, purpose and passion……and so the years-long journey continued along its path, resolutely pushing Bahamian Art and Culture forward through many activities such as: Transforming Spaces, an amazing annual Art Exhibition developed through the collaborative efforts of the Bahamian art community, an Art Exhibition at the Atlanta Olympics, along with the release of the Bahamian art documentary Artists of the Bahamas, featuring 11 master artists.
But in 2011, fate intervened, and Jackson passed away before seeing the official launch of Creative Nassau in May 2014, and the subsequent success, in December of that year of obtaining that prestigious UNESCO membership for the City of Nassau to become a Creative City of Crafts and Folk Arts, a first for the region and another first because it was achieved without any government assistance!
In the art world Jackson’s death was impactful – it triggered the first ever Junkanoo Exhibition “As We Knew Him” at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas, which finally broke down the barriers between junkanoo and fine art and caused a dray-load of Bahamians to flock to the institution for the very first time. Later that year, a magnificent ‘Artists of The Bahamas’ Exhibition was mounted at the Waterloo Centre for the Arts in Iowa, travelling later to Florida, and exposing Bahamian art on the international stage.
So now that you know the story of the past, let’s imagine what this mean for The Bahamas’, as well as the Caribbean region’s tourism brand, which has relied primarily on its ‘sun, sand and sea’ for decades. How relevant do you think this ‘sun, sand and sea’ model is in the present day 21st century?
Bahamian Royann Dean made this observation, and it is a premise that is being discussed at length within the region, but to what degree is it being seriously considered or implemented in order to realize its true benefits?
The DGLK and CN journey has embraced, and is living the tenets of the UNESCO Creative Tourism model, and is proof that it is successful – just from the efforts of a small group of determined creatives. So imagine what would happen if the powers-that-be, and the wider public came on board!
By making art, culture and heritage the driving force of the tourism engine, and by using the skills of our phenomenally gifted people, who are the unique keepers of these elements, major positive impacts can be made in all of our countries - socially, physically and economically.
In this 21st century, slavery is alive and well, and I repeat – slavery is alive and well, if we continue to be solely dependent upon, and beholden to foreign direct investment, and dictated to by the foreign owned cruise ship industry that we have allowed to define us!
Or, do we wish to become the masters of our own fate, and to take that risk in ourselves: to have faith in our own people, and to believe in our boundless creativity to retain, grow and sustain the uniqueness of our tourism product, like Nevis is doing? Can you imagine the phenomenal impact this would have, and the power we would weld if we would embrace this model together?
This is the important message inherent in “The Orange Economy” – a free e-book which can be downloaded online. Extremely user friendly, it clearly demonstrates why its message is so relevant and immediate for us all – there is no time to lose!
So DGLK and CN journey on with purpose, buoyed by a handful of passionate and determined colleagues who are rightfully proud of these local and international achievements, such as:
a) A thriving crafts Market, held twice weekly in Pompey Square in conjunction with the Downtown Nassau Partnership, to showcase and sell the unique products of ‘true-true’ Bahamian artisans;
b) A weekly ½-hour Creative Nassau Radio show that airs on Tuesday evenings and Sunday afternoons;
c) A 15-minute straw craft documentary that is available free on our facebook page. This project has led to the drafting of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of the Environment under the Forestry Act, for the purpose of protecting and sustaining the valuable raw materials for the Straw craft industry found mostly in the Family Islands. Additionally, an application has been submitted to UNESCO for the possible inscription of Bahamian Straw craft on the Representative List under the Intangible Cultural Heritage Convention;
d) The opportunity to showcase Bahamian art and craft by curating the 12 display cases at the Lynden Pindling International Airport;
e) A summer school arts programme in collaboration with the IDB, which impacted over 50 students by exposing them to the positive influence of artistic endeavours. As a result of this activity, a MoU has also been signed with Teleica Kirkland (pictured below) of the Costume Institute of the African Diaspora in London, England for a students’ exchange programme centred around Bahamian straw and sustainable fashion.
f) A presentation on Bahamian Art and the Economy at an IDB Conference in Washington which sparked the interest in ‘The Orange Economy’ model that will result in a webinar later this year;
g) Participation in the 2015 and 2016 annual UNESCO AGMs in Kanazawa, Japan and Ostersund, Sweden, with plans for other trips abroad to collaborate on creative exchanges with sister cities;
h) The collaboration, along with other civil society groups, on the IDB’s Emerging and Sustainable Cities Initiative for the Redevelopment of Downtown Nassau and the Bain & Grants Town residential community which was also presented internationally during the AGM in Sweden.
As my story winds down, strangely enough in another twist of fate, this year is proving to be a magical one with the journey coming full circle as DGLK and CN have been invited to be intimately involved in the unfolding of a Creative Tourism model with the Atlantis, Paradise Island Resort in the establishment of a successful twice-monthly Art Walk in Marina Village!
This event allows Bahamian artists, artisans, musicians and farmers to showcase and sell their products and produce to the local and visiting public. In addition, DGLK and CN have also been an integral part of Atlantis’ recent ‘Come to Life’ Re-branding Launch which has been designed to offer the visitor a ‘true-true’ experience of Bahamian culture through the Bahamian people ‘being who dey is and not who dey ain’t!’
The journey has been long, and the journey has been lonely, and although the road has been steep and winding, and dark, and filled with potholes, the steady movement towards the destination has not wavered, and there, in the distance, a light is shining, brighter every day, lighting the way for us to encourage and welcome others to join hands on the road to the future. …2020 is just around the corner and we gan soon reach!
BE BO BEN, MY STORY END…Thank you!
Members of the CN Market, which takes place on Wednesdays and Fridays in Pompey Square on Bay Street, held their AGM for the new year at Doongalik on January 26th to review their achievements in 2016 and to make plans for the new year in order to make 2017 even more successful!
Our thanks, as always, were extended to our "Mayor", Mr Gevon Moss (back row, 3rd from left) of the Downtown Nassau Partnership, who is in charge of the Pompey Square activities!
VP PATRICIA GLINTON-MEICHOLAS PRESENTS AT MAJORITY RULE DAY SYMPOSIUM AT THE UNIVERSITY OF THE BAHAMAS
Creative Nassau Vice President, Patricia Glinton-Meicholas was one of the speakers on a panel at the University of The Bahamas' 2-day Symposium held in commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Bahamas' Majority Rule Day which was celebrated on Tuesday, January 10, 2017.
Glinton-Meicholas' topic was entitled "Majority Misrule: Banishing the 'demos' from Democracy" and a video documentary of the entire symposium over the 2 day period can be accessed at: https://www.facebook.com/fdt242/programme
On this evening's Creative Nassau Radio Show on Island FM 102.9, Pam and Patti interviewed four amazing guests: Father Shazz Turnquest, Physics Teacher at St John’s College and three of the 15 talented students who have embarked on a fascinating journey – to build a solar powered car to display at the annual Solar Car Challenge taking place in July in Texas, USA! Their group will be the first ever from the Caribbean to take part! You can listen to the radio show here:
Read more about their activities on to this link from the November 9th Edition in the Nassau Guardian:
It will take $50,000 to get the car and the students to Texas next year, so Father Turnquest would appreciate any donations towards this amazing cause. You can message him on his facebook page for further information or contact Creative Nassau. Let’s support these enterprising young students, everyone!
The Creative Nassau Radio Show is proudly sponsored by Esso Bayshore and Esso Winton.
Creative Nassau members, President Pam Burnside, CN Market Coordinator Rosemary Hanna and Vice President Patricia Glinton-Meicholas, were invited to address COB architecture and visual art students on October 27 about their organization and the crucial role that Creativity plays in nation building. The presentation was a part of COB's ongoing 'Conversations with...' series of lectures in preparation for the student's charge by the Minister of Foreign Affairs to design The Bahamas' Pavilion for Expo 2020 in Dubai.
Each CN member made 15-minute power point presentations which dealt with the history and role of Creative Nassau, as well as the rich history of Bahamian Art and Architecture, in particular the clapboard house. CN members also elaborated on how the organization's mission to promote and celebrate Bahamian Art, Culture and Heritage from the inside out, is being implemented, and explained how the amazing lessons that exist within the architecture and art established by our ancestors contain the potential as engines for much needed national development and growth.
Students were urged to take inspiration and pride from these Bahamian treasures.
Creative Nassau Vice President, Patricia Glinton-Meicholas, addressed the first fall meeting of the Bahamas Historical Society (TBHS) last evening on the topic: "First Rat in the Hole Tail Cover: Roots of Psychocultural Obstacles to National Development". Interested attendees were treated, in 'true true' no-nonsense Glinton-Meicholas fashion, to a fascinating in-depth historical and cultural analysis of how to move our country forward by recognizing and dealing with our many challenges. Glinton-Meicholas began her presentation by referring to the wonderful experiences gained at the recent UNESCO Creative Cities Network meeting in Sweden. The presentation text should be available in the next TBHS Publication. For more information about the TBHS please check their website at www.bahamashistoricalsociety.com
Patricia Glinton-Meicholas is a graduate of the University of the West Indies and the University of Miami. She is an educator, author, poet, cultural critic and avid researcher of Bahamian history, culture and arts. She was the first woman to present the Sir Lynden Pindling Memorial Lecture and the first Bahamian writer to win the Bahamas Cacique Award for Writing.
A veteran educator, Glinton-Meicholas spent an aggregate of 17 years at The College of The Bahamas, where she served variously as a lecturer, divisional head, academic dean, Council Secretary and most recently, Vice President, Communications.
Dedicated to community development, Glinton-Meicholas was a founding member of the Boards of the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas and of the Antiquities, Monuments and Museums Corporation. She is founding member of the Cable Bahamas Cares Foundation and Creative Nassau, and a judge of the Templeton Laws of Life Essay Competition.
Creative Nassau President, Pam Burnside and Vice President, Patricia Glinton-Meicholas, along with Gevon Moss of the Downtown Nassau Partnership were honoured to represent the City of Nassau at the recent UNESCO Creative Cities Network 10th Annual Meeting in Östersund, Sweden (a UCCN City of Gastronomy) this month.
The UCCN now numbers 116 cities from 54 countries, and the Annual Meeting offers a unique opportunity to strengthen ties between the cities, to dialogue and exchange information, to formulate partnerships, and to determine and implement Network objectives, strategies and operations. The event took place over a period of a jam-packed week of activities which began with a three-day pre-Conference, at the Mid Sweden University which focused on Sustainability. Roland Krebs, Consultant for the IDB's Emerging and Sustainable Cities Initiative (ESCI) and the Nassau Urban Lab study, joined the team to make a presentation based on the recent plan prepared for the Bahamian government's National Development Plan for Downtown Bay Street and the Grants/Bain Town areas in Nassau, a project that was developed in conjunction with the consultants along with Bahamian stakeholders, civil society groups including Creative Nassau, and architecture students from the University of Vienna and the College of The Bahamas.
The following days were taken up with the UCCN's extensive Meeting Agenda, including several sessions hosted by author, Charles Landry, well known for his various books dealing with the concept of 'Creative Cities', and visits to various venues in the Ostersund and Jamtland areas where delegates were treated to exciting samples of Swedish art, culture, heritage, and gastronomical delights!
Following the UCCN Conference, Pam and Patti traveled to Vienna to visit with Mr Krebs and several of the Vienna University students and also to meet with an urban planning organization that oversees an area of Vienna city, who shared his expertise in the programme.
The 2017 Annual Meeting will be held in Enghien les Bains in France.
For more information about the Conference and the UNESCO Creative Cities Network log on to the website http://en.unesco.org/creative-cities/home
CN executives, Pam Burnside and Patricia Glinton Meicholas, along with CN Market artisan Martine Cleare, took part in an informative Caribbean regional webinar hosted by the OAS office in Washington on July 8, which discussed the reports of a two year grant funding programme in the Craft Sector throughout the Region. Shacara Lightbourne of the IICA office on Village Road kindly hosted the webinar, whilst other CN members logged in online from their respective locations.
The past week has provided the opportunity for Creative Nassau to be broadcast over the radio airwaves! On Thursday, May 12 CN President Pam Burnside was a guest of Ed Fields Live talking about "Cultural Protectionism":
Some would argue that The Bahamas is losing its identity because it does not adequately protect its heritage; its culture. While others would counter by saying it is insular to lock out other influences and that both the old and the new can co-exist.
There is no fiercer warrior than Pam Burnside when it comes to cultural authenticism. On Thursday, Rogan Smith and me find out exactly what that means. Does it allow for us to progress culturally or does it stunt our growth if rigidly adhered to.
whilst Vice President, Patricia Glinton-Meicholas was one of the guests of international broadcaster, Peter Greenberg on Friday, May 13 as he broadcast from Atlantis on Paradise Island.
The following is with kind courtesy from Mr Greenberg's facebook post of that date:
The Peter Greenberg Worldwide Radio Show broadcasts this week from the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island in the Bahamas. Joining me will be USA TODAY's Gene Sloan on the boom in cruising to Cuba and what it means for other Caribbean cruise destinations. Michael Becker, CEO of GeoSure Global, will discuss the importance of situational and cultural awareness when you travel, and which regions of the world need your undivided attention. Tazia Rutherford, Atlantis' Associate Director of Marine Mammal Operations, talks about the daily challenges of maintaining a habitat that protects all of the resort's marine life and how guests get to interact. Pepin Argamasilla, who runs John Watling's Distillery, Ltd., will discuss the history of rum, and rum running, and how visitors to the Bahamas may be drinking less, but drinking better. Want to know what the purchase of Virgin America by Alaska Air means to you? Scott McCartney, travel editor for The Wall Street Journal, has a few thoughts. Then, stories from Patricia Glinton-Meicholas, Bahamian Author of An Evening in Guanima: A Treasury of Folktales from The Bahamas. Alana Rodgers, one of the founders of Hands For Hunger, discusses ways travelers can get involved with their important and essential work every time they visit the Bahamas. Last, but not least, David Singleton, author of the book Crush, talks about how a crush can inspire travel and how that crush leads to many other discoveries around the world. There's all that and more when Peter Greenberg Worldwide broadcasts from the Atlantis resort on Paradise Island in the Bahamas.
Then on Wednesday, May 18 both Pam and Patti were guests on Island FM 102.9's "Morning Boil" radio show www.islandfmonline.com hosted by Eddie and Sannie discussing all manner of things Bahamian!
It has been a busy, and a definitely PR-productive week!
Creative Nassau's Straw Documentary, "Strawcraft of The Bahamas: weaving economic diversity" which showcases the fascinating story of this traditional Bahamian craft, was officially launched on Thursday May 5, 2016 at its home base, Doongalik Studios Art Gallery at #20 Village Road, Nassau, Bahamas.
Written and produced by CN Vice President, Patricia Glinton-Meicholas, this 15-minute documentary is another amazing accomplishment for the organization whose mission is to 'celebrate and promote Bahamian Art, Culture & Heritage from the Inside Out'.
Copies of the documentary, in DVD and Blu-ray format, are now available for sale at the Gallery. The following photographs of the evening's event show the interaction with the interested audience before and during the filming and the display of strawcraft from several of the talented straw artisans from the Creative Nassau bi-weekly Market in Pompey Square, Bay Street.
The photographs of the Launch evening are courtesy of CN member and photographer, Rosemary C. Hanna.
Creative Nassau (CN), the not-for-profit organization, which, since 2008, has been turning new pages in the promotion of Bahamian history, culture and the arts as the keys to economic diversity, has accomplished another first. On Thursday, May 5 at Doongalik Studios, Creative Nassau will launch “Strawcraft in The Bahamas: Weaving economic diversity”, a short video documentary showcasing this unique aspect of Bahamian culture by which many Bahamian families have earned a living for centuries.
The 15-minute film, written and directed by Creative Nassau’s Vice President, Patricia Glinton-Meicholas, was produced by CN in conjunction with The Counsellors Limited (TCL) with the sponsorship of The Counsellors Ltd, the Jackson Burnside Library Fund, Arawak Homes Ltd and Cable Bahamas Cares Foundation.
“Creative Nassau’s mission is to demonstrate to our people and the rest of the world that we, as a people and a nation, are more than just “sun, sand and sea”. We have been achieving this through the promotion of Bahamian history, culture and the arts, with special focus on two aspects of Bahamian tradition— junkanoo arts and strawcraft, which are distinct features of our African heritage. We see these pursuits as two of the keys to achieving greater economic diversity, through a process that the Inter-American Development Bank has been promoting as the “Orange Economy” which uses creativity as the basis for sustainable development throughout all levels of society. We have devoted our first documentary to strawcraft, an industry that has allowed many Bahamian families to rise out of poverty by becoming entrepreneurs and actively contributing to the economic stability and growth of Bahamian society. This tradition, we strongly believe, still has enormous potential to positively impact our economic climate today if we would properly encourage its revival,” said Pam Burnside, President, Creative Nassau.
Patricia Glinton-Meicholas commented: “I’m so pleased with the valuable footage we have been able to capture. I think viewers will be particularly fascinated by an interview TCL recorded in Red Bays, Andros. This documentary is only the beginning. It is only 15-minutes long, but there are so many more wonderful facets of the Bahamian straw industry to be told, including its major role in Bahamas tourism. It’s awe-inspiring that Bahamian creativity has produced such a wealth of straw weave patterns and exquisite basketry. These must be recorded and passed down to future generations in order to stimulate a greater appreciation for and the continuance of these important parts of our heritage. There are many more people who have made contributions that we must and will acknowledge, but filmmaking is a costly process. We owe this promising start in great measure to our generous sponsors and the people who participated by providing information, examples of straw products, video footage and photographs. I’m particularly grateful to my technical editor, Jide Lowe of TCL and Pam Burnside and Rosemary Hanna, who have been excellent constructive critics, as well as other contributors, to whom we will express our gratitude at the launch,” Mrs Meicholas said.
The DVD will be available for purchase at Doongalik Studios.