The Class of 67 Tours RHQ


The Class of ’67

It’s a week of …much ado, a golden jubilee spent at the Alma mater. 50 years since these students donned their caps and gowns and said farewell to their beloved UWI, they return to soak it all in once more.


Dr Suzanne Francis-Brown welcomes the Class of ’67 to the UWI Museum

A week at Mona, a week down memory lane, stirring up thoughts of ole times, and digging in  bridging some gaps while becoming reacquainted with the Mona campus. The class of 67 provided some enriching stories that linked much of our past as a growing institution. Many were enraptured relived their first year experience attending Martin Luther King’s presentation here on the Mona campus as they listened to a recording of the event.



Dr Stanley Griffin tells the class of ’67 about the UWI Archives

They began their UWI journey in 1964 (interestingly the year my uncle Jack graduated), and they completed their journey in 1967.  2017 marks their golden jubilee and this group does it in style. A Merritone Fete, a forum on building stronger ties, a gala evening and a morning chapel service, highlights the week of celebration.


Dr Stanley Griffin and Dr Suzanne Francis-Brown regaling the Class of ’67

The campus has changed, the UWI has grown and the class of ’67 wears their pelican pride proudly. 50 years is a big deal, let’s celebrate.





Chancellor’s New Robe

On Saturday, 16th of September, Chancellor Robert Bermudez was formally installed during a ceremony at St Augustine. It is an amazing order of events to have a new Chancellor ready to help mark the celebration of the university’s platinum jubilee.

The Saturday affair also marks an interesting new chapter at this regional university. Robert Bermudez with his distinguished business career joins a distinguished list of previous Chancellors among which are state heads, public policymakers and academicians. However he is the first entrepreneur and captain of industry to assume this role. Chancellor Bermudez has been said to be the right man for the right time. He assumes this leadership role at a time when Caribbean integration, innovation, enterprise, and international competitiveness are all critical elements in revitalizing Caribbean development. Chancellor Bermudez’ vision for the University as it approaches its 70th anniversary, encompasses a keen sense of the effectiveness of collaboration and relevance of the interdependence of academia and the economy. His business acumen will also serve The UWI as the institution seeks to grow into a more economically independent funding model for tertiary education in our region.

The Chancellor exercises powers and responsibilities laid down in The UWI Charter, Statutes, Ordinances and Regulations. He is respected as the highest office-holder in The UWI. The ceremonial installation incorporates academic regalia, an academic procession and other traditions of the early university. The order of proceedings has retained much of the original ceremony over the years, with a few minor changes. The Chancellor’s robe is one tradition that has retained its prominence in these proceedings. The original has been part of the Chancellor’s presentation since February 1950 worn by the very first Chancellor, Princess Alice of Athlone. All subsequent Chancellors including Sir George Alleyne, installed in 2003, have worn this Chancellor’s robe.


The first Chancellor’s Robe and Mortarboard on display in The UWI Museum. Chancellor Bermudez will be robed ceremoniously at his Installation as the 6th Chancellor of The UWI.

In 2004, An Ede and Ravenscroft (E&R) representative visiting Mona inspected the robe. It was sent off to E&R for repairs in 2006, as recommended and it was noted “the handmade gold ornaments date from the original robe made for Princess Alice in 1949. E&R also discovered that the robe was in poorer condition than originally anticipated: “…the amount of work that would be required to bring it up to scratch would have been extensive. I therefore decided that we should make you a new robe, and I am delighted to let you know that E&R will donate this to the University”. (Letters from Christopher Allan, E&R Specialist Operations Coordinator to Gloria Barrett-Sobers, UR, 20 Sept 2006 1 Dec, 2004 and 20 Sept 2006). Chancellor Robert Bermudez will be the first to be robed at installation ceremony in this new robe.

Representatives of governments, universities, businesses and other organizations and members of civic society at the regional and international levels, along with members of the University staff from across the region attended this special event. The public is invited to view the installation ceremony on UWI TV via:

The 1st  Installation

The First Installation Ceremony of Her Royal Highness, Princess of Athlone as Chancellor of the then University College of the West Indies, in the open air at Mona, February, 1950. (UWI Archives)


SOUND MEMORY: “…UWI is unlocking the potential of the West Indies…”

Celebrating the life of Dr Knox Hagley one of the early UCWI graduates. Dr Hagley has been a passionate West Indian man and song writer. This UWI Museum blog highlights one of his songs…

UWI Museum

We have to thank Sean MockYen of the rich & diverse Media Lab at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Archive for pulling out this recollection in sound.

It is an excerpt of a song that was written in 1997 by Dr Knox Hagley, then Director for Community Health & Psychiatry at the UWI Mona Campus in Jamaica, where Dr Hagley had literally come of age decades before – a member of one of the early cohorts of medical students at the then single-campus University College of the West Indies.

Dr Hagley, who died in August 2017, was well known then, and since, as the mellow voice singing the iconic song ‘Mona Moon’, an anthem for campus couples written by one of their number. This later song, which Dr Hagley himself wrote and sang to accompaniment by Dr Douglas Welds, expresses the writer’s feeling about the special role that…

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“What goes up doesn’t have to come down”

This 2017 IAAF World Championship, a spectacle of sporting glory, hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for many Caribbean fan favourites. This championship marks a significant transition in athletics with Usain Bolt’s departure from the competitive world stage. We congratulate our regional athletes as they gave their very best and celebrate our medallists.

It’s finally over and many are still dumbfounded at their unrealized predictions. Many pundits, sports analysts and commentators such as Hubert Lawrence and Patrick Anderson from Jamaica have noted that this year represents a ‘changing of the guard’. It has come with new athletes across the world staking their claim in a number of events that Caribbean athletes have dominated in more recent times.

How does the region ensure a seamless transition between the various outgoing and upcoming athletes? How do we also unearth new talent in our region to continue to view athletics with pride atop the medal podiums?


Earlier this year, 2017 the UWI embarked on adding to the research and development (R&D) in Sports in the Caribbean with the launch of its first new faculty in 40 years.

“The launch of this new faculty will not only aid in formally legitimizing sports education, training and research in the higher learning industry for the Caribbean, but it will also aid in driving development and economic growth prospects for our region.”  Professor Archibald McDonald

At championships and other sporting events, athletes battle and push themselves to win against odds. It is these competitive activities, the space and other elements; all that shape sports and the arena that will fill the academic pursuit.

“The launch of this faculty facilitates The UWI’s goal of laying the necessary foundations in moving the sport initiative in the Caribbean in a right and positive direction.” Principal Archibald McDonald

As feared by many, we have lost a bit of our air of dominance in the sprint events during this recent IAAF World Championship. The results this year, below what is normally expected of this our small island states, has played this out.

“Sport is at the heart of our regional identity. We must begin to formally invest in this industry if we expect to see greater returns for the future.” Principal Archibald McDonald.

With the launch of the Faculty of Sport we begin in earnest to research and learn from our strengths and weaknesses. We will also develop the science gleaned through the excellent work of our regional coaches in athletics and other sporting disciplines achieving amazing results over the years.

…we must invest in a centre of excellence here that explores the research behind sport, which will engage in state-of-the-art teaching and learning about the complexities of sport, whilst providing the facilities and tools that will facilitate training excellence in all fields of sport. Here we are bringing the teaching, learning and research experience in a unique field to the doorsteps of our Caribbean people, opening an immense pathway for sport higher education and regional development.”  Professor Archibald McDonald

Sports is entwined with the development of our region, the Caribbean has bonded and grown through our common pursuits and exploits but there is also an economic benefit that hasn’t been fully realized.


The UWI is celebrating 70 years as a regional institution and has launched a campaign focused on funding the infrastructural development of it newest faculty, the Faculty of Sport. It is “70 in 70” with the goal of 70 million in the 70th year.

“If there’s one industry that we can develop right now to diversify our economies and make our economies competitive, it is to build a sporting industry in our region” UWI Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles.


The faculty of Sport is regional in outlook and practice as it aims to establish footholds across the Caribbean engaging regional institutions. There are also a number of programmes already in train that will be delivered jointly with institutions with established Sport programmes based outside the region.


Contributors: Sean MockYen, Adrian Green, Kwasi Tinglin

There’s a new Chancellor in town


Chancellor Bermudez arrived for his first day in office at the Vice Chancellery Regional Headquarters UWI today, July 18. He was appointed by the University Council on April 27 at the Cave Hill Campus in Barbados in succession of Sir George Alleyne.   Chancellor Bermudez assumes duties as the 6th Chancellor of the University of the West Indies, following in a line of celebrated Chancellors:

Her Royal Highness Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone (1948-1971);

Sir Hugh Wooding (1971-1974);

Sir Allen Montgomery Lewis (1975-1989);

Sir Shridath Ramphal (1989-2003);

and Sir George Alleyne (2003-2017).



Photography courtesy of UWI Archives Media Lab

On reaching the Regional Headquarters, Chancellor Bermudez was warmly greeted by Vice Chancellor Hilary Beckles and University Registrar C Will Iton as he prepared to assume duties at the UWI. The UWI’s senior executive management team and extended community of faculty and staff, students, alumni and council members warmly welcome Chancellor Bermudez to the university. The institution also takes this opportunity to thank Sir George Alleyne for his remarkable tenure of 23 years working at the regional University, including 14 years of service as Chancellor.

According to the University’s Statutes and Ordinances, “the Chancellor shall preside at meetings of the Council [the highest governing body of the regional university] and any Convocation and shall have such powers and perform such duties as may be conferred upon the holder of the office of Chancellor by The UWI Charter or any Statute, Ordinance or Regulation.” The official installation ceremony for Chancellor Bermudez is expected to be held in September 2017, at The UWI, St. Augustine Campus.

Chancellor Bermudez, a national of Trinidad and Tobago, has been an entrepreneur for over 40 years. He has led the growth of his family-owned business, to a regional business throughout the Caribbean and Latin America and has enjoyed a distinguished career in business, serving as either Chairman or Board Director for several other corporate bodies in Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean. His vision for the University outlines a keen sense of the mission, effectiveness, relevance and interdependence of academia and the economy. His professional experience as a Caribbean-wide entrepreneur with business acumen garnered from across the region suggests that he will continue the distinguished tradition of Chancellorship that this University has maintained throughout its history.


Photography courtesy of UWI Archives Media Lab

With his many years of experience in business, Chancellor Bermudez is well placed to help the UWI exploit entrepreneurial and enterprise opportunities.

According to Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, “Our new Chancellor has demonstrated through his many roles as a man conscious of his Caribbean identity and responsibility, and willingness to provide leadership to our people at home and beyond, in the entrepreneurial arena and elsewhere, that he is amply energized for the role of Chancellor of our beloved UWI. He comes to office on the eve of our 70th anniversary during which the university community will be reflecting upon 70 years of service and leadership. It will be an honour for us to have him presiding over these activities.”

Adapted from:

The University Marketing and Communications Office articles

  1. New UWI Chancellor takes office: Robert Bermudez begins term as The UWI’s 6th Chancellor
  2. Robert Bermudez Confirmed as The UWI’s 6th Chancellor

Do More with Records

June 9 is International Archives day, celebrated annually all over the world but don’t take my word for it, click on International Council on Archives IAD Map.,-62.03851758008875,1.643856076407539

The UWI Archives team jumped out of the blocks a little early but logistics dictated that International Archives Day (#IAD17) Do More with Records workshop would be scheduled for June 6 and 7. So we reached inward and engaged staff at the Regional Headquarters that create records for our institution, our secretarial staff.

University Registrar; C Will Iton, the principal custodian for all records of the University of the West Indies, was moved to contribute to the DO More with Records workshop and congratulated the move to focus inward. The participants were engaged and lively as they discussed the role of records management in their daily tasks. University Archivist Mrs Alexander-Gooding had her audience thinking on ways to update and improve their work flow as she shared a number of considerations and complimentary strategies. Her presentation invoked some serious queries and some were posted on the UWI Archives Facebook page during the ongoing session.

UWI Archives Do More with Records Workshop is in full flight. #IAD17
Participants ask some interesting questions:
Suzie: Is our university going paperless?
UA: Going paperless is inaccurate, we can reduce paper in certain instances but paper continues to be preferred for permanent records and record with legal standing

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UWI Archives Do More Workshop heats up as Ms Rose-Parkes asks “What steps have UWI taken to safeguard our institution in light of the cyber security threats and breaches affecting other countries and institutions?
Kemar (CIO rep): Staff members are being educated on steps to manage data within their purview. Our CIO continues to manage the security of our network closely, and we ensure continued back up of electronic files for quick restoration.

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Dr Cherri-Ann Beckles was the next presenter and her presentation drilled down into the various standards and processes involved in creating, managing and caring for records as well as disaster preparedness in day to day activities. Now I must apologize to Cherri Ann because in case that description sounds rather bland, the truth is actually in the tasting or lets just say her participants were spellbound. Many regularly remarked on how much they learnt and were eager for more.

Dr Beckles did not mince words when she revisited the question of a paperless system.

Dr Cherri-Ann Beckles presenting Active Records Management.
Dr Beckles insists Paperless systems cannot be supported without greater evidential proof that electronic records can stand the test of time. [She also reports that] Our earliest paper record is from the 1400s.

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As part of the push to update the Management of Active Records both Dr Cherri-Ann Beckles and Mrs Sharon Alexander-Gooding reiterated for our participants that correspondence as records needed to be arranged in the order they were received with corresponding date stamp.

Dr Stanley Griffin focused on the life of the record, as it transitioned from active to archival preservation. Archival records are accessioned into the archives once once they have been appraised as having enduring value which simply put is long term value to the workings of the institution. He also reminded participants of the appropriate process and guidelines to access archival records

The Do More with Records workshop was a success based on participants feedback, thanking all our participants for the lively and stimulating discussion. Also our presenters Dr Cherri-Ann Beckles, Dr Stanley Griffin and Mrs Sharon Alexander-Gooding for condensing and making palatable Records Management Principles, Disaster Management for Records and Active to Archival Records and their value, these represent chunks from the UWI taught Records Management programme, hats off well done. To our Facebook participants thank you and keep the conversation strong and on record.

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Organizing our new records

UWI Archives recently accessioned over 200 boxes of records in one month. The hard task of organizing these records is now ongoing. This is primarily focused on arranging and describing these new items in order to make them searchable.

Now, you might ask shouldn’t the record be kept in its original state with its original detail? You are correct, we must preserve the record in their original state. However arranging and describing records new to our archives helps create clear and logical pathways from your research questions to useful answers that maybe contained among the records in our collection. This ensures a far better user experience because a well-organized collection of records determines how quickly and how much of the relevant information is unearthed by a researcher. It is a case of extracting key details and refining into a useful but concise summaries that help users find information quickly while also preserving context.

As part of our move to organize our new records expeditiously, UWI Archives enlisted an energetic young man, Delano Brown. This isn’t the first time Delano has joined our team and we are always happy to welcome him. When he is not working at UWI Archives, Delano works with The Mona Records Centre. His regular posting places him at the center of records retrieval. At UWI Archives, Delano also appears to be submerged in a sea records and files. He is now preoccupied with listing and tracking a specific subset of the records that were recently accessioned at UWI Archives.

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He is completing studies in Computer Science and Entrepreneurship and shares that his role at UWI Archive has given him new insights and challenges. These have sparked Delano’s inner entrepreneur. He is now in the early stages of combining both his passions, Computer Science and Entrepreneurship to exploit an opportunity in management of the records in the custody of Records Centres and Archives.

Records Management Training Held in Antigua

Antigua and Barbuda, a twin island state known for its 365 beaches and pink-coloured sand, among other things, was recently visited by Mrs Sharon Alexander-Gooding (acting University Archivist) and Dr Stanley H. Griffin (Asst. Archivist/Officer-in-Charge at Mona) to conduct a week of training on Records Management.

This training course was arranged and hosted by the Government of Antigua and Barbuda’s Training Division with participants from across the Public Service. The aim of the workshop was to ensure participants learn about the international standards and best practices in managing the active, semi-active and archival records.  Held in St John’s, the state capital, at the Division’s Training Room, some 43 participants covered the fundamentals of records management theory, the influential factors and traditions  in Caribbean record-keeping, active and inactive records management, managing records centres and elements of archives management as well as care and handling of records.

On the final day of the week, the Chief Training Officer, Mrs Miguelle Christopher, noted that the purpose of this week of training was to renew the professionalism of staff involved in processing records or ministry registry offices.  Participants were expected to return to their offices and implement the best practices taught. Mr Joseph Prosper, Director of the National Archives, encouraged participants to fulfil their roles in order to safeguard the documentary heritage of the nation and assist the National Archives in fulfilling its legislated role.

In addition to training staff members, Mrs Alexander-Gooding and Dr Griffin led a morning Records Management Awareness Session at the Cabinet Office with executive members of the Public Service, which included the Cabinet Secretary,  Permanent Secretaries and senior officers of the security forces and government agencies. The aim for this session was to inform the leaders represented about the training course, and to encourage them to support their direct reports in implementing new procedures and practices that were taught.

Outreach and training are key activities for members of staff in The UWI’s Archives and Records Management Programme. It is not uncommon for our Records Managers and Archivists to provide consultancies to organisations, and conduct staff training and community workshops.  This is in addition to the six (6) week summer Certificate Course in Records and Information Management at Cave Hill Campus, Barbados and Mona Campus, Jamaica.  Members also teach in the BA (Information Studies) and MA (Archives and Records Management) Programmes in the Department of Library and Information Studies (DLIS).

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Blog post by Stanley H. Griffin, PhD


Accessions in March

We accessioned over 200 new records this March, and though it took a few months in planning it feels like a remarkable achievement. Let’s take a step back, have you ever wondered how records get into an Archive? Before records become part of the Archival holdings, they must be accessioned.

Accessioning is the process by which the Archives take legal and physical custody of records – it is the first step towards making records accessible to administrators, researchers and other users of the archives. Sushil Kumar in his book Archives Principles & Practices defines Accessioning as the practice of transferring physically and legally to a repository units of records at a single time. Well that makes it pretty much a legal transfer.

It also means to take and document the custody and receipt of records. Many archives refer to accessioning as a preliminary description of the record (content, context, structure) and not strictly just a physical and legal transfer. Many times this will be the only level of description that the archives will be able to do because archive collections are indefinite and the resources available are limited. It is during this transfer process that while the records are carefully documented, they are further classified to ensure proper arrangements and levels of accessibility are determined, that is should these be made public or reserved for private use only.

At the University of the West Indies Archives (UWI Archives) the creator of the record submits paperwork to the Archives indicating which records they would like to transfer and why.  The paperwork includes a form containing the agreement to transfer records to the Archives, including a reference to the relevant records.  It is now the job of the University Archivist and accessioning staff to confirm that these records (that are of enduring value) should be transferred to UWI Archives from the custody of the record’s creator, and whether or not they should be made available for public use.  Once the paperwork has been verified and approved, the records may be physically transferred to the UWI Archives.

Upon arrival, an assessment is carried out and some boxes of records are quarantined and treated for preservation issues.  Records are then processed, organized and shelved in the assigned storage area.  Overtime the searchable Regional Archives Online Database is updated to reflect these new records, this update is done after the completion of all related archival processes.

submitted by Vanessa Lyons            |            edited by KDT & SG
Archives Assistant                                       UWI Archives 
UWI Archives

Archives and Records Management at UWI Research Days 2017 

It was three exciting days, showcasing the best in original thought and ideas at the University of the West Indies, Mona.


It is February and Research Days 2017 at UWI are on in earnest.  As part of the sea of activity, the team at UWI Archives collaborated with the Department of Library and Information Studies (DLIS) to introduce  the new Archives and Records Management (ARCM) programme offered by the department.


The Humanities courtyard was transformed into a plaza filled with research activities. Booths were staffed by UWI students from the department who were passionate about their research and ready to share.


Visitors to the booths were introduced to the various specializations in the department and the associated research. Many of them were prospective UWI students seeking entry into the UWI.

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They participated in various activities which helped them understand aspects of the work and research within the department.

A cool  gentle breeze swept over the courtyard and many of our visitors gleamed with a note of excitement, happy with the displays.

Early factoids


It’s early in the New Year and interestingly, early in the life of the UWI we would have just been getting ready for graduation….

In 1954, UCWI graduates were presented in mid-March, but in the following year our presentation of graduates took place on January 21, 1955. The ceremony then shifted to mid-February and UWI Archives records show that the presentation of graduates ceremony was held in February between 1956 and 1960. See below we have the programmes to prove it.


Some time after the transition from UCWI to UWI, our presentation of graduates ceremony moved to the more familiar October and November ceremonies. Read more…

Another connected factoid is that UWI began conferring honorary degree in 1965

One of our notable honorary graduates Sir Dwight Venner closed his life chapter recently and UWI Archives joins with the UWI Community in paying tribute.

Sir Dwight Venner was conferred a honorary degree during the 2003 Presentation of Graduates ceremony. His work is also documented in the Library of the Spoken Word Collection, these include…

Sir Dwight Venner sharing his thoughts on the OECS Experience as part of a panel focused on”Governance for Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication” during a Mona Academic Conference in 2002.

Earlier in 1999 Sir Dwight Venner,  challenged the UWI in defining its role in “Development in the OECS”.

We celebrate the life and work of Sir Dwight Venner and invite you to discover more about Sir Dwight Venner and his passion for regional development from the records held at the UWI Archives.

We anticipate an exciting year with an inflow of new acquisitions, which undoubtedly will form new collections. Why not visit UWI Archives and begin to discover more about the UWI and the region.

Season’s Greeting

We are feeling the cool breeze and yes the Christmas will catch us in a good mood. In this season of joy and good will, UWI Archives celebrates 2016 as a year of accomplishments.

In the midst of our accomplishments we also had fun. Recently two members of our UWI Archives team had lots of fun learning at a State Protocol and Business Etiquette Workshop held at UWI Regional Headquarters.


Our team members were exposed to modern protocol requirements, the impact of protocol on professional conduct, business dining etiquette as well as the importance of maintaining a professional image and good deportment.


Workshop participants showed off their new knowledge, using protocol techniques in managing ‘an official event’ a fashion show dubbed “Touch of Elegance”. As part of this event they observed state protocol standards, flag etiquette, mastering the art of handshaking, accurate names recall while effectively maintaining eye contact and responding to introductions.

You may also know there are protocols for food… participant were immersed in the navigating the business meal, the duties of the host, hostess and the guest. Oh and to beware of the pesky silverware, seating and napkin etiquette;  participants show off their savvy at their business meal. Protocol included wines selection that goes with meals types… so detailed, and the do’s and don’ts of dining etiquette.

As we approach the end of 2016, UWI Archives wishes all our family and friends happy holidays. We are pleased you shared in our many triumphs during this year and for your invaluable comments, feedback and support, we are grateful. UWI Archives team hope you’ll continue to follow and participate in our activities during 2017 and beyond. Share some of this season’s  cheer with those less fortunate. Wishing you and your families all the rich blessings of this season and see you in 2017.


ON THE ROAD: Roots of that Royal Charter!

Here’s an interesting read on the History of UWI’s administration and records.

UWI Museum

by Suzanne Francis-Brown, UWI Museum Curator

One of my bucket list items this past few weeks was tracking early documents relating to the UWI’s lost Charter – the first Royal Charter, granted in 1949 and lost in a plane crash en route to the founding Mona campus in Jamaica. Some of those documents are on deposit at the UK National Archives, and they include  explanations of why a Royal Charter was considered the best option as the nascent university developed its governance and administrative structures.

The UCWI eventually applied for the Charter in the second half of 1948, the same time it was taking in its first students – 33 young men and women from across the Caribbean, studying in the founding Faculty of Medicine. But the arguments in favour were set out a year earlier in a letter from G.F. Seel of the Colonial Office to Sir Eric Leadbitter…

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A Caribbean Literary and Cultural Archives


Few of our members represented the UWI Archives at the 35th Annual West Indian Literature Conference in beautiful Montego Bay, Jamaica. One of the interesting presentations was that of former University Archivist, John Aarons. In keeping with the conference theme ‘Archiving Caribbean Literature and Popular Culture’ Aarons focused on developing a ‘Caribbean literary and cultural archives’ . He declared that more of the creative works staged in the region needs to be preserved formally and made easily accessible for research and or other non-commercial use .


Creative works, in this case, includes manuscripts and notes by authors, scripts of plays, programmes of events, production notes, lyrics of composers and singers, music videos, posters etc. These kinds of works often are not available commercially and  don’t fall under the provisions of the legal deposit legislation. Aarons quoted 

“As in Shakespeare’s time, today’s Jamaican theatre holds the mirror up to life…”  taken from ‘The Jamaican Theatre’, an authoritative work by creative luminary Wycliffe and Hazel Bennett. 

Records are preserved not only to ensure that we have evidence of past actions but also to serve as a memory for the future.  They are preserved with the expectation that they have long lasting value.

Materials and Records such as the lyrics and music sheets of our regional composers and scripts by our playwrights are not only of value for literary and cultural purposes; they have social value. Needless to say these productions are highly enjoyable, but can anyone locate the scripts and production notes if one wants to study them seriously?

Can we develop collections of popular cultural expressions, which fall out of the collection range – or even knowledge – of the established institutions?

The Jamaica Music Museum with it mandate…

to be the national archive for all of Jamaica’s music forms, collects both ethno-centric and other Jamaican based musical genre material. These include instruments, devices and equipment, books, photographs, ephemera, audio-video recorded media.

Aarons opines that this effort is unfortunately seriously under resourced, and it is often difficult to attract significant donations of materials from private collectors at home and abroad.

Media houses are also an important source of creative works that contribute to our regional memory – recognising the cultural and monetary value of programme tapes when preserved and organized.

The Banyan Archive based on the holdings of Gayelle, a community television station in Trinidad and Tobago and the Archives of the Creative Production Training Centre (CPTC) are good examples.


The Internet has changed the game plan for libraries and archives in much of it operational areas, noted Aarons . One area of concern is the sheer volume of material that’s of value and often only available on-line via You Tube and other online media archiving sites.

Aarons may have raised more questions than answers but the challenge he leaves us is to find ways of archiving the cultural works and expressions of today that are not being collected. We have lost enough already as Derek Walcott (2000) said…

“What is archival in the Caribbean, as the Caribbean writer knows, is what got lost in the annals of sugar cane burned every harvest like the library of Alexandria, what disappeared in spray in the wake of the slaves. A huge amnesia rather than a history.”

Let us all ensure that our literary and cultural archives do not suffer that same fate.