New Faculty of Culture, Creative and Performing Arts coming to The UWI, Cave Hill Campus
On next year’s observance of Emancipation Day, the region’s cultural landscape will receive a significant uplift when The University of the West Indies (The UWI) at Cave Hill launches a new Faculty of Culture, Creative and Performing Arts.
It will be The UWI’s ninth faculty – the seventh at Cave Hill – and is expected to open up a world of opportunities for aspiring cultural artists, performing arts practitioners and facilitate in-depth study of the Caribbean’s much celebrated culture.
Establishment of the new Faculty was approved on October 31, when The UWI’s Senate, the regional institution’s highest decision-making body, met at its Regional Headquarters in Jamaica. The Faculty of Culture, Creative and Performing Arts will begin operations from August 1, 2020 and will offer multidisciplinary and cross-faculty teachings.
The UWI Senate agreed that the creative economy was global in scope and presented an opportunity for the Caribbean to formalize its vast available resources in culture, creative imagination, and the creative sector. In that regard, The UWI has a pivotal role to transition creative and cultural practitioners from a local or seasonal space, to being major players on the international stage, with a local commercial presence anchored within the region. The new Faculty will be driven by a focus on deepening critical studies of Caribbean culture and identity as well as global economic imperatives that centre the creative industry within the academy. It will, therefore, empower graduates to generate personal and national wealth, local intellectual property rights, new employment opportunities, jobs and businesses regionally. It also opens a new conversation regarding the Caribbean as an owner and rights holder rather than a participant in the global creative economy that today accounts for USD $2.225 billion or 3% of the world’s GDP.
Commenting on the initiative, Vice-Chancellor of The UWI, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles drew reference to the small minority of local artistes who succeed globally. “The majority” he said “are seasonal artistes dependent on festivals, craft fairs and pop up shops. Far too few are on the international stage producing outputs and generating revenues from global production, marketing, and distribution from a home-based commercial enterprise that is generating employment opportunities, building new sectors and earning foreign exchange for the domestic economy.”
He continued: “According to an Ernst and Young study, cultural sectors in Europe employ more persons between 15-29 than any other sector; including more women. Globally, creatives employ more persons in the United States, Japan and Europe than the entire automotive industry. These are staggering numbers.”
A measurable increase in the number, scale, and reach of creative and cultural practitioners in international trade and business; clear alignment with national and regional development priorities for the creative economy; transformation of creative talent and performance skills into formal commercial entities; opportunities for existing business students or business graduates of The UWI to develop specialist skills in service to the creative industries; development of globally positioned entertainment management companies with newly developed skills to represent Caribbean creatives, are just some of the major outcomes projected by the University.
Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the Cave Hill Campus, Professor Eudine Barriteau stated that the establishment of the Faculty is an acknowledgement by The UWI that the Orange Economy represents the business of the region’s immediate future including the creative industries, film, animation, the gaming industry, theatre, dance, painting, sculpture, performance, music industry and video production.
“These have to be developed and offered in synergy with Caribbean cultural studies,” she noted. “The Faculty endorses the UWI’s commitment to develop these sectors for intellectual, economic and aesthetic purposes and assures that there will be an emphasis on both greater research into Caribbean culture and the business of the creative industries.
She added that the Government of Barbados has prioritized the Creative Economy as a key plank in its national development strategy. On this basis, the Government has expressed overwhelming endorsement for the Cave Hill initiative and pledged full support for collaborations. She said the Campus will appoint an Implementation Committee and a Creative and Cultural Studies Curriculum Development Committee, to include industry practitioners and national stakeholders, to assist in developing new programmes to be offered by the Faculty.