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The UWI launches new faculty to support culture, creative and performing arts in the region

The University of the West Indies (The UWI) Cave Hill Campus began a new chapter in its history on August 1 with the launch of the Faculty of Culture, Creative and Performing Arts. The launch coincided with Emancipation Day celebrations across the region.

Addressing the virtual event, Campus Principal at The UWI Cave Hill, Professor the Most Honourable V. Eudine Barriteau, celebrated it as an achievement for the region’s creative intellectual development.

“We have to ensure that the interplay between understanding our cultural identity and the unleashing of artistic creativity demarcates a new economic subsector. We may call this the Orange Economy and promote its relevance to expanding GDP, however we have to insist that the men and women who continuously draw their livelihoods from generating diverse cultural expressions receive the required legislative and policy support from Caribbean states so that the Orange Economy does not mirror the plantation economy.” Professor Barriteau added, “Through uniting scholars, creative practitioners and policymakers, the campus and the wider creative community, the University through this Faculty, seeks to lead the way in generating new understandings of ourselves, our creativity and the untapped wealth embedded in our culture.”

Image of Professor Dr. Hilary Beckles
UWI’s Vice Chancellor Sir Hilary Beckles

Vice-Chancellor of The UWI, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles hailed the establishment of the new Faculty stating, “Caribbean culture and civilisation, its performance as an art, its public validation, has long desired within The UWI, a Faculty of the performing arts. Yes, we have been engaged in the intellectual discourse, we have been engaged in multiple aspects of culture and arts. But we have fallen short in the area of perfecting the performance by focusing specifically on the practical aspects of performance. He further explained, “The sophistication of that performance requires the intellectual engagement and the bringing together of intellectual discourse and the performance dimensions.” He commended “the entry of this new and distinguished Faculty within the family of The UWI’s academic and professional discourse.”

Vice-Chancellor Beckles was also full of praise for Principal Barriteau, who oversaw the establishment of the new Faculty.

Prime Minister of Barbados, the Honourable Mia Mottley lauded the “bold move” taken by the campus, noting, “the time is right for us to study who we are.”

“As I’ve said over and over, our artists, our cultural practitioners, they tell us what is possible. And from what is possible, we build as those in government and those in the rest of society on what is probable. But it is only when we are given the directions as to what is possible through the cultural practitioners and the activists of our region, that we begin to understand how we may better claim our destiny but at the same time tell our story,” Prime Minister Mottley said.

According to her, the new Faculty will add significant value to the nation, and also allow Barbadians to embrace the uncomfortable aspects of their culture.

Dean of the new Faculty, Professor David Akombo, believes the Faculty presents an opportunity for Caribbean countries to develop the region’s creative industry. “The Faculty of Culture, Creative and Performing Arts was founded just for this purpose. Its role will be to reinvigorate cultural studies, creative and performative endeavours for future generations and also to spur growth of present day professionals throughout the Caribbean region,” Professor Akombo noted.

At the undergraduate level, the Faculty offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Arts, a Bachelor of Arts in Caribbean Studies and minors in Music and Cultural Studies.  Postgraduate programmes are available in Creative Arts and Cultural Studies.  The first cohort of students will commence studies at the start of the 2020/21 academic year.   For more information, visit or email [email protected].

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