POSSIBILITIES ABOUND — Can we catch them all? :)

It’s been SUCH an energising week – chock full of possibility. See what you think!

First, in the inbox Monday morning, there was a request for the set of questions developed to guide our interviews with University (College) of the West Indies graduates and veteran staff, as we try to enrich the social history of the university, especially from its earliest years. The request came from a colleague interested in collaborating on this endeavour. The hope is to not only collect this information but to transcribe and organise it so that it feeds into the database of information available on the university’s own development and its contribution to the development of the Caribbean.

This week we added two interviews to that repository, making at least half dozen this month. And as fast as the new information has become available, there has been demand for it. So, just one day after very musical alumni cousins Shirley and Marjorie Whylie shone light into their respective UCWI/UWI* stores of memories, students researching the history of Irvine Hall were asking about the hall roots of the iconic University Singers — and we had some of the answers!!!

Then there was a meeting with colleagues from the Jamaica Military Museum, with whom we’ll be collaborating for a programme of activities this International Museum Day (IMD), May 18, 2017. More on that soon.

In the mail came an unexpected packet from Gibraltar, in response to a letter I wrote to the Gibraltar Chronicle, seeking artifacts or mementoes of Gibraltar Camp, an evacuee and refugee camp in Jamaica on the site that now houses the University of the West Indies. My correspondent doesn’t have mementoes, but she was moved to share relevant information that she is working into a book.

There was a meeting with a colleague from the Department of History & Archaeology, seeking engagement on a project aimed at engaging young people with some of the histories soaked into the ground of the Mona campus which holds legacies of the sugar plantation period, slavery and emancipation, post-emancipation, 20th century wartime camps, and the regional investment in education and development.

We had a meeting about the UWI Museum website, which has been in development and should be coming soon!

And the cherry on top: an end of day visit from a couple of UWI-ites, one still a student, the other working at the university, whose quiet walk around was capped with energetic, enthusiastic feedback – including a recorded message of support.

So much potential and increasing incidences where lines of collaboration, thrown out over the past couple of years, are getting some pingback (broadly interpreted 🙂 )!

Suzanne Francis-Brown, Curator

*University College of the West Indies (UCWI, 1948-1962) segued into the University of the West Indies (Uwi) in 1962.


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