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FRC Making Traditional Culture Meaningful

Veteran cultural activist, George "Fish" Alphonse. [Photo: Stan Bishop]

OCTOBER is celebrated as Creole Heritage Month in Saint Lucia. The programmes and events for the month are largely organized by the Folk Research Centre in association with individuals, groups and communities. The climax of the month is the now-established Jounen Kweyol which takes place this year on Sunday October 30. The event celebrates its 32nd anniversary this year. The main communities selected as the central venues for Jounen Kwéyòl 2016 are Choiseul, Belle Vue, V Fort, Jacmel and Gros Islet.

As it usually does, the FRC has organised cultural education programmes aimed at school children in Saint Lucia. This year the children’s programmes take place from Tuesday October 4 to Thursday 27 at the FRC headquarters on Mount Pleasant. The teaching sessions are arranged from 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. and from 12:30 – 2:00 p.m. daily. A formal ceremony will mark the opening of the classes on Tuesday October 4 at 10:00 a.m..

The theme of the Cultural Education Programme for 2016is “Making traditional culture meaningful.” The FRC remains dedicated to reminding St Lucians, through educational programmes organized by the Harold Simmons Folk Academy (the teaching arm of the FRC), of its rich cultural heritage.

Among the objectives of the annual programme are the increase of knowledge and awareness of aspects of St. Lucian culture among students and teachers. The FRC would like to ensure that young students continue their education with a good foundation in cultural education.

The children’s programmes of the FRC are endorsed by the Ministry of Education. Teachers are asked to call the FRC to make a booking for their students.

The Bank of St. Lucia has supported the FRC’s educational programmes for several years and continues again this year.

The National Community Foundation has also been one of the regular partners with financial support and partners again with the FRC.

The programmes are conducted in a lively, interactive manner and led by well known cultural personalities.

The 2016 Cultural Education Programme of the FRC will focus on the theme “Making traditional culture meaningful.” The aim will be to help students identify, recognize and appreciate their unique St. Lucian cultural traditions. Tutors will stress that to learn about our culture in all its various aspects is to learn about ourselves, to appreciate who we are and what we possess as a people.

Facilitators will focus on specific and distinctive aspects of St. Lucian Kwéyòl culture. Classes on The Kwéyòl language, Kwéyòl narratives (folk tales), Kwéyòl music, Kwéyòl dances, Kwéyòl children’s games, Kwéyòl arts and crafts, Masquerade will be presented alongside a general survey of St. Lucian history that is culturally focused.

This programme will comprise interactive presentations from which the participants (both teachers and students) will acquire cultural skills and knowledge, interact with several prominent cultural personalities, and be encouraged to continue their involvement in cultural activities. It is hoped that this experience will help to instil in the participants a lifelong interest in, and appreciation of their rich cultural traditions.

The programme ensures that the participants in each school session will get an opportunity to meet a prominent national artiste or cultural personality in the person of the tutors. The school sessions will take place every day from October 4 – 27. Schools must book with the FRC receptionist to arrange visits in the morning from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., or in the afternoon from 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

This year, several well-known cultural personalities will tutor students and perform for them, among them George ‘Fish’ Alphonse poet and actor, Jason ‘Bachelor’ Joseph, musician, Richard Ambrose, dancer and choreographer, Mrs. June King Frederick who has promoted the revival of masquerade traditions and Gary Butte, St. Lucian artist. Kwéyòl language classes will be taught by Mr. Hilary LaForce, Executive Director of the FRC. Kennedy ‘Boots’ Samuel, former Executive Director of both the FRC and CDF, will present classes on the history of St. Lucian culture.

Primary School teachers and students are expected to benefit from this educational experience. The Ministry of Education has given its full support again to this initiative by the FRC. While the Ministry has undertaken to inform schools of the programme, teachers are encouraged to call the FRC at 452-2279 to make bookings for their classes.



Veteran cultural activist, George "Fish" Alphonse. [Photo: Stan Bishop]
Veteran cultural activist, George “Fish” Alphonse. [Photo: Stan Bishop]

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