The National Cultural Foundation
St. James, Barbados
It’s now the start of the Michaelmas school term and the National Cultural Foundation has two invaluable resources to add to the toolkits of parents, guardians, students, and educators.
The Foundation is proud and excited to offer two digital texts: Bajan Folkways A Cultural Forms Resource ToolKit and We Ting: A Bajan Heritage Reader For Juniors. The texts are loaded with information of indigenous Bajan culture that captures our traditions, folklores, characters and norms. In keeping with the Ministry of Education’s policy of online classes, the two free editions are available on the NCF’s Training Platform. Simply go to the Training tab on the NCF website www.ncf.bb
The Cultural Resource Toolkit specifically targets the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) Theatre Arts students and has been produced in collaboration with CSEC curriculum consultants in the fields of dance, drama and stagecraft. It was written and edited by Charmaine ‘Nailah Folami Imoja” Gill.
The 96-page publication includes historical information and activities for students on the Crop Over Festival, its relation to plantation history; dances and recreational practices of the Enslaved; the evolution of Tuk music – past to present; the historical and social significance of The Barbados Landship and survivals of African-based world views in performance-based practices such as tea meetings, stilt-walking, masquerade and storytelling.
Chief Executive Officer Carol Roberts-Reifer of the NCF said the toolkit was created to groom the cultural lexicon of young creatives.
“Emerging artists are often aesthetically disconnected from their indigenous traditions across various platforms, including digital media. With teaching resources such as the Barbados Cultural Forms Toolkit, we are hoping to inspire new generations of creatives to proudly and confidently use their own vernacular in their creative products, even as they look to the global stage as their marketplace. This for us is at the epicenter of sustainable cultural development,” the CEO said.
We Ting, created for juniors, is a flipbook. The publication engages students directly in a storytelling format. The narrative is given by Muddah Sally and is targetting students 8 to 11-year-olds.
The 60-page full-colour heritage edition delves into Crop Over, excursions, The Barbados Landship, Agrofest, Christmas Day in Queen’s Park, ring games and songs, tea meetings and Bajan folk characters among other topics. The book was written by award-winning author Linda M. Deane and designed by Sheena Weeks.
NCF’s Research Officer Michelle Springer, who was the producer of the Cultural Resource Toolkit and managing editor of We Ting, said working on both projects was rewarding as she explained why the resources were needed at this time.
“The books were produced in 2020 when we were first battling the COVID-19 pandemic and we were called to reflect on what reinforces our resilience as Barbadians. It was even more critical that we, the custodians of our heritage practices and traditions, do everything to preserve it.
Springer added: “The NCF demonstrated its commitment to this important role with the production of this resource toolkit. We extend special thanks to writer, cultural arts administrator and educator Charmaine ‘Nailah Folami Imoja’ Gill, whose Pan-Africanist sensibilities and knowledge were of great value.
We hope you enjoy using this cultural resource as much as we enjoyed producing it for you.” (PR)
Written by: Toni Yarde