We Gathered, We Heard, We Discussed: Spoken Word Day 2015

The 'interactive discussion' in progress...

The ‘interactive discussion’ in progress…

Over seventy persons gathered for an ‘interactive discussion’ on “Securing Our Caribbean Audio Visual Heritage: Capturing the Present, Formatting for the Future” in celebration of Spoken Word Day 2015.  Spoken Word Day is held to mark UNESCO’s World Day for Audio Visual Heritage, 27 October, and to showcase the growing audio visual (AV) holdings of the University Archives.

Moderated by Dr Suzanne Francis-Brown, a captivating discussion ensued with distinguished panellists sharing their perspectives on using and safeguarding the creativity of the Caribbean in audio visual formats.  Maureen Webster-Prince, a pioneer multimedia Librarian, spoke about the technical requirements and challenges facing current Caribbean AV collections.  Herbie Miller, musicologist and Curator of the Jamaica Music Museum, spoke about ‘capturing the moments’, including the unedited recordings, and not just ‘final cuts’, in the collections. He noted that these moments add even more value to the collections.

Fae Ellington CD, a noted broadcaster and university lecturer, offered two contributions. She deputised for Earl Moxam, a veteran journalist, sharing his contribution on the value of sound recordings to understanding history. Included in his presentation was an excerpt of the very first radio broadcast in Jamaica by the colonial governor, Sir Arthur Richards in the 1930s.  Ellington, on the other hand, spoke to the power of AV materials in the construction of identities. She referenced a powerful audio clip of an interview with a young Marley at the funeral of his father Bob Marley. Ellington also shared an interpretation of the Jamaican National Anthem, which unorthodoxly, utilized Jamaican rhythms as part of its motif.  She juxtaposes this rendition of the National Anthem with the official version, and wondered aloud about its impact on Jamaican identity, especially when played on the world’s stage.

Storm Saulter, (@Stormsaulter), prominent Jamaican film maker, spoke on the possibilities the Caribbean can offer to the film industry with its sounds and sceneries. The images and soundscapes of the Caribbean are valuable and if these materials are made accessible, there is much profit to earn.  Also participating was Zahra Burton, of Eighteen Degrees North news programme. She noted there is economic value to having Caribbean AV materials accessible.

The conversation included questions and statements from members of the audiovisual information network, heritage trust and university staff and students.  We left the Ramson Room inspired that it is possible to safeguard our Caribbean heritage and with greater resolve we can capture our present realities for the future generations.

Here are excerpts of the various presentations:

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For more photographs, visit our Facebook page,

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One thought on “We Gathered, We Heard, We Discussed: Spoken Word Day 2015

  1. UWIMuseum says:

    The harsh reality exposed: Jamaican archives are in imminent danger of losing audio-visual material if necessary programmes are not put in place!
    The opportunity spotlighted: There is interest in the archived material if it can be conserved, organised, marketed and made accessible!
    Good work UWI Archives. More to do!

    Liked by 1 person

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