jab jab, oil down, luni spark and electrify, nutmeg, carnival, sugar cane plantations, patois, wire bending, Carib, Arawak, French, English, Scottish, Indian, revolution, Ronald Reagan – i've been learning about culture, history, food, music, language, and creative industries in Grenada, and learning some new words in the process.
i am here with a team from NSCC working with our partner college T.A. Marryshow Community College to conduct several days of focus groups with 10 different groups of artists, cultural groups, industry reps, government reps, students, employees, alumni. Together we are trying to understand the challenges and opportunities in the cultural/creative industries sector to support the local college to develop a new entrepreneurship-oriented associate degree program for aspiring artists. To me as an outsider the potential to develop cultural industries is incredible, especially for such a small island of 100,000 people. However, we have heard many stories of the challenges facing artists here, and concerns about the influences from larger countries in the region, and some aspects of the culture that are fading fast, like the local patois.
I'm wondering if I'm just caught up in the idea of something that is new to me, and perhaps the project is more challenging than it seems. Debriefing the next day on the sessions with David Flemming, Marryshow's Dean of Continuing Education, and project manager on the Grenada side for this project – he tells us that the discussions with the focus groups gave him goosebumps, and he and his team are excited to move forward. Sounds good to me!
With a combination of funding from this Association of Canadian Community Colleges project, and potential funding for CARICOM scholarships, we plan to bring 7 TA Marryshow employees to NSCC in July for CCEDP courses, curriculum development work, and related training, mentoring and project planning. We also hope to receive funding for two TA Marryshow students to come to NSCC on a one year exchange in culinary arts at Akerley Campus. We had a chance to meet and plan with this group, and help prepare them for their time at NSCC.
We also brainstormed with our NSCC group and the TA Marryshow team some ideas for an exchange from NSCC to Grenada for a group of NSCC students and employees, for next May/June 2014, related to creative and cultural industries. This is really exciting and will be a fantastic opportunity for students and staff from both colleges!
It was great learning from our colleagues from TA Marryshow, and also from my NSCC colleagues Kris Jacobsen (curriculum consultant) Larry Bergeron (faculty member and entrepreneurship specialist), and Zoran Kondali (project manager, NSCC International).
ps check out Luni Spark and Electrify on Youtube!