Published in Barbados Today on October 7, 2020

 

With the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrating the impact disasters can have on the cultural landscape, as seen in the cancellation of Crop Over 2020, stakeholders have been told they have a role to play in protecting Barbados’ cultural heritage.

Cultural stakeholders in the Pine, St Michael, through a workshop designed to sensitize them about the importance of cultural first-aid, learned that they have the responsibility to save aspects of culture which drive the economy.

Cultural first-aider Halcyon Wiltshire-Busby said following the workshop at the Marcus Garvey Institute on Monday, they have a better understanding of stakeholder engagement and who should be contacted about protecting cultural assets during a disaster.

Wilshire-Busby, an archivist at the University of the West Indies (UWI), said cultural assets are not only found in a museum, but in communities as well.

“And if a community is displaced, that could lead to the further eradication of that community’s culture. Also, they have learnt about civil engagement, how various groups can actually come together to help each other, because we can’t work in silos. There must be a coming together of minds to help bridge that gap to ensure that our culture is safe for the next generation,” she said.

Chief Executive Officer of the Pinelands Creative Workshop Sophia Greaves said the workshop came at a critical time for the organisation which is in the process of archiving its dances and intangible assets for research and internal development.

“This kind of research allows not only for internal use, but also for national as well as international use, if necessary, within our archiving system. Pinelands have not stopped working and all during COVID we have had our online platform up and running programmes for our children. We did Toastmasters and we also looked at cyber security and information security workshops,” Greaves said.

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