Islas Creativas, British Council, Cuba, by Adolfo Mesa

We are working in partnership with the University of the West Indies (UWI) on CATALYST, a three-day ideas lab workshop from the 13 - 15 June at the UWI St. Augustine Campus in Trinidad and Tobago.

The workshop aims to harmonise cultural activity in the region, by highlighting the cultural, scientific and social dimensions of co-operation between the European Union (EU) and the Caribbean.

Including 37 key policy makers and speakers, creative practitioners, festival organisers, academics, representatives from donor agencies, independent consultants, and others speakers, CATALYST identifies the need to enhance the common vision between the EU and the Caribbean through sharing research, activities and learning from best practices.

Through the voice of the practitioner, there will be an opportunity to analyse the efficiency of international donor agencies.

Dr. Suzanne Burke, Lecturer in Cultural Studies at the UWI, St. Augustine Campus says;

It is envisaged that CATALYST will provide an opportunity to get high-level decision-makers, funders and creatives in the same space to discuss how funding and technical assistance actually affect their work in the creative ecology. This information will then be used to hone a more co-ordinated, inclusive, evidence based approach to the sector’s development.

The University of West Indies looks forward to collaborating with international agencies such as the British Council, regional actors and cultural practitioners in the service of converting this most important of regional assets into real developmental energy.

Echoing similar sentiments is Simon Dancey, Global Director for Cultural Skills at the British Council says;

I am delighted to be part of CATALYST; a key opportunity to unite cultural activity in the Caribbean. This ideas lab gives us the much needed chance to identify and consolidate the common vision between the EU and the Caribbean, encouraging a dialogue around the cultural, scientific and social dimensions of the relationship. We will do this through the voice of the practitioner, by sharing invaluable research and activities.

Other outputs of this unique workshop include: addressing cultural policy issues in the Caribbean and contributing to better working values, analysing strategies in the field of culture, evaluating grant strategies in the field of cultural co-operation, identifying the transformation of the paradigms of cultural policy, and stimulating dialogue between the cultural and funding sector.

The UWI is internationally recognised as a centre of excellence in research, knowledge creation and innovation on matters related to the Caribbean and small island states. It aims to provide a high quality teaching and learning environment, facilitate critical thinking, and produce graduates who are equipped to innovate regionally and impact globally. The University has collaborative links with over 160 universities globally. 

In its commitment to enhancing Caribbean development, UWI’s focal areas are linked closely to CARICOM’s development priorities. They take into account region-wide areas of concern such as environmental issues, health and wellness, cultural industry development, gender equity and the critical importance of innovation. UWI St. Augustine is the ideal institution for local and international students with an interest in Caribbean society.

Full programme to follow.

We'll be sharing updates from the conference on our Twitter.