Did you attend the University of the West Indies (UWI) – or teach there – anytime in the last couple decades? There’s a good chance that you came in contact with a foundation course called Caribbean Civilizations.

UWI’s Anthony Perry says that the course was introduced in 1998 with the aim of engaging all UWI students with a sense of their Caribbean-ness; to give them an understanding of the social as well as historical context of the region – Anglophone and otherwise. The course outline has now been unified so that it should be delivered in the same way across the entire, four-campus university system.

Well, this past couple of weeks we’ve had a stream of visits from students looking for some artifact or location that they can relate to some of the concepts they’ve been learning about.They need to take a photo with the artifact or in the location, and provide information as well as argument. It needn’t be related to the UWI – but the museum and the wide-range of historic as well as more current referents on the Mona campus (and the same applies at St Augustine and Cave Hill) certainly make it convenient to look nearby.

It’s been a great way of introducing students to the UWI’s history and the history of the UWI sites, especially the founding campus at Mona. It connects to a great natural resource that surrounds the students but which they often don’t actually see: the richly layered history of the campus sites. It also fits within the museum’s effort to be relevant within the teaching and learning, as well as the research and outreach strategies of the university.

I’ve only captured a few of these visitors…but it’s been great interacting with them all! Kudos to the lecturers who are creatively using resources at their fingertips!


  1. Agreed – a wonderful way to have students attain some knowledge of UWI and its environs beyond our pamphlets. Should be an outstanding course. I expect Anthony Perry is pleased to see how Caribbean Civilisations has developed since its introduction back in the ’90s.


  2. Prof Hamilton did share the vision that resulted in our Caribbean students interrogating, earnestly, their culture and society. As we increase in our Caribbean”ness” it is hoped that the students eventually become the engine that drives the search forward!


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