A timeline helps us order the past and make sense of it. We identify the things and people that stood out and made a difference to what we have become. And timelines have been around longer than you might think!
Ever since the UWI Museum got going, we’ve been jotting down points of reference towards a timeline of the history of the UWI, with several subsets taking off for each of the four campuses; for some of the iconic individuals we’ve made the subject of cameo and pop-up exhibitions; for interesting cultural and political moments where The University of the West Indies (UWI) and its predecessor University College of the West Indies (UCWI) interfaced with broader regional societies – such as the injections of carnival and steelpan in Jamaica, where the founding Mona campus is located.
This summer, the baby steps towards creating an institutional timeline had a growth spurt when UWI MA Heritage Studies student Yasheka Walters took it on as a project for a Practicum stint at the museum. She dug into UWI histories for relevant dates and events; then set out of add some regional and international context. The plan is for her to produce something that can be displayed on paper or on a computer screen; that will give the viewer a clear sense of how the UWI has developed over the years since the 1945 decision to establish it as a tertiary institution serving then British West Indian territories.
The UWI is celebrating 70 years of operation in 2018; what better time to add the timeline to our offerings.
We’ve asked UWI veteran Joy Pilgrim, retired Deputy University Registrar, to cast an eye over the draft, with a view to filling any gaps; with our current focus being on the period to 2000. But here’s a question to you, if you’ve had UWI connections or knowledge: What do you think are points to remember? They could be points of continuity or points of change. They might seem obvious — or be something few people might think of. We’d love to hear from you. Your points may end up on our timeline too!