Ready, Set… Maria

By Ashfred Norris

In September 2017, a new school year began- which means I finally became a 2nd year Create intern! This symbolizes that I’ve successfully gotten through the probation period, did my fair share of mini projects as a first year student, and can now work on the ‘big-kid’ projects like Carisealand. I will admit- there’s prestige in being a 2nd year intern, but there’s also pressure… more pressure. Unlike the introductory mini projects we’re given to work on in the initial stages of our internship, working on the bigger projects; the stakes are higher, the quality must be superb and there’s absolutely no room for errors- actually feels like being a Digital Humanist. Quite unfortunately, the buzz and thrill from the pressure and prestige all had to be suspended thanks to the passage of Hurricane Maria. Sigh…

I wish I could say we conquered it; I wish I could say we survived. But the fact of the matter is that a hurricane isn’t a natural disaster until it has caused damage and devastation to its victim- which was exactly what Maria sought out to do. I used to say, that the worst part was waking up the next morning and not recognizing a place I’ve lived in all my life and called home. It’s not. The worst part is living, or at least trying to, after the disaster; or during it. Nonetheless, whether we want to or not, we have to persevere and we have to survive.

However, in our first and last colloquium class in 2017, we set out to further develop one of our ongoing projects (Carisealand), and make it the ultimate alternate Caribbean reality.  To be quite honest, there isn’t any one way to describe this project and what we want to create out of it but, in my opinion, it’s a multi-faceted undertaking which sets out to visually construct a sustainable Caribbean future. Like I said before, the project has many parts and my responsibility is to deal with the Environmental Justice, Poverty and Human Impact, and this is what I plan to do.

Whenever we speak of Environmental Justice, it basically speaks about any individual regardless of the age, sex, nationality, beliefs, sexual orientation, race, origin, income (anything which may differentiate one person from another), regardless of those differences, it shouldn’t determine the way in which they are treated, or how they are involved and engaged in relation to environmental laws, policies, and regulations. An example of environmental injustice would be someone who’s a part of a minority group, being forced to live in an air polluted area- other than someone who’s not a part of the minority group. I plan to get to the bottom of this problem. Why is it that certain people live in certain areas and others don’t? And especially after hurricane Maria, how does this affect it? How does poverty tie into all of this? Are poor people forced to take residence in poorly aeriated vicinities? Not only does it have to do with their right to fresh air, but what about their water supply and land distribution? Do certain groups or “types” get cleaner, treated water than others? Is climate gentrification, or gentrification of any kind going to be a problem? And in the end, how does all of this affect the individual, the victim; the human.

All in all, I’m very optimistic of what the future may have in store; especially since this project is my first time taking a seat at the ‘big-kids’ table.

 

Regrouping and Recreating

Regrouping and Recreating

By Gael Thomas 

My second year at the Create Caribbean Research Institute was preceded by the Create and Code Summer Camp where we taught young children the basics of coding; creating websites with HTML, apps with MIT App inventor and games with Scratch under the theme of marine life and forest restoration.

Coming in from a summer of fun and learning, I experienced a series of rapid changes in a short period of time.

The first two weeks of my second year at Create Caribbean encompassed saying goodbye to a few Creators and welcoming new members to the family. At that point plans were being made for the expansion of the Carisealand project in collaboration with the Naniki project by Oonya Kempadoo.  All Creators would be involved in developing the project and would each have a specific topic to base their research on. Additionally, I was particularly excited about the plans to paint a representative mural on a wall of our Create Caribbean Office.

In mid-September, however, the Category 5 Hurricane Maria disrupted all of this, leaving many plans in shambles, destroying our physical Create Caribbean home and leaving me fearful of the future.

It was a few weeks after the hurricane that I was able to establish contact with my fellow Creators and the ball resumed rolling when we met for the first time at our adopted school, the Convent High School. There, progress on the Carisealand project was made when we shot videos premiering the topics of interest.  My aspect of the project focuses on Agriculture, Food Security and Water Security. Questions like “How do traditional agricultural practises encourage or mitigate climate change?” and “Do people worry about how secure or vulnerable their food or water sources are?” will be asked to prompt deeper reflection. These will fuel the discussion into the human and cultural view of the effects of climate change as well as to investigate and pinpoint what can be done as well as what is being done to safe guard these areas from the negative climate change effects.

Even with the setbacks of the limited internet access and the various challenges surrounding amenities such as electricity, my hopes are high for the end product of this project!

Changes

Changes

By Raissa Henderson

“Most people quit because they look how far they have to go, not how far they have come.”

Since the hurricane [Maria], a lot has changed; the way the Create Caribbean team communicates, the urgency of assignments and projects, and how important it is to just be committed. Communication has been the most difficult for me since I no longer get to meet with the team in person. Sometimes, it feels good to be in a familiar zone that is overflowing with a motivating vibe, in the midst of comfort and creativity.

I struggle to stay focused on the work because I get easily distracted with negative thoughts. I often worry about the quality of work I have to give. I also worry about the future of us students and the administration of Create Caribbean, with hopes that we can get back on our feet and grow successfully in a timely fashion.

On a positive note, work is being done. I am elated to be a part of this current project, Carisealand, a digital curation of projects from my fellow teammates. It concentrates on research of the development of a sustainable Caribbean done in a collaborative effort. I focus on the topic of Forest Conservation from the main project. As a guide, I have organized questions that help to produce a final piece that is relevant, informative, original and insightful.

1. Have we noticed the real change in the environment over time?
2. What have we done to encourage this change?
3. Why is it important to pay attention to any change whether natural or man-made?
4. How is the change in nature and the change in a population’s lifestyle correlated?

With these questions and further research, I am hoping to create an encouraging project that
inspires readers to be aware of their environment and its significance to our livelihood. I also hope to grow in writing skills and overcome the challenges I face daily.

Committed to Creativity

By Precious Peter

“My satisfaction comes from the commitment to advancing a better world.” – Faye Wattleton.

With that being said, I am back at Create for the second semester, on guard for all the challenges about to come my way. So far, this term has been a bit hectic for me, however, there were some very enjoyable and memorable moments. My Create life, paired with my school life, has been overwhelming especially with exams around the corner, but still, I try to give adequate attention to both and continue to show my 100% interest. Essentially, I intend to improve on my late submissions thus far. Reasons for such include; my failure to utilize time wisely sometimes, and struggling to get some sleep.

To be back at create is indeed a great feeling especially when assigned an interesting project. The first project I worked on was ‘The evolution of dress in Dominica’. This involved digging deeper into how our present creole wear became what it is today, and how both the men and women’s creole wear have blossomed over time. The research looked at how the creole dress has moved from something so formal to simple and creative modernized styles. Also, when I was younger I was told that each wrap on top the creole headpiece had a different meaning but was never told what they meant. Now, I am fully aware what each one means and this indeed saves me from wearing the headpiece irresponsibly.

Currently, the second project I have been assigned to for this semester appeals strongly to my creative and artistic side. I am to put together sketches and creative pieces for our Create Caribbean ‘Coloring Book’ which would mostly appeal to children but will be something that would capture the eye of anyone. I really look forward to this project as it helps me to put my creative eye to work and allows my imagination to be explored.

Interestingly, I was also introduced to a course called Digital Humanities (DH). Though I do not actually take this course as one of my subjects at school, Dr. Esprit has more than welcomed me into her class to learn and be involved just as much as her students. With such a busy schedule, I try to find time to follow up on what the DH students are doing, as this, is a tremendous help in making me a more internet savvy individual. I believe that any digital or research fanatic should take such a course. It opens you up to so much information and provides knowledge on how to go about doing things digitally correct. For instance, proper citation, learning about archives and so much more.

Admittedly, it has certainly been a challenge to stay fully committed to, and punctual at, Create Caribbean Research Institute, especially trying to balance school, my painting hobby, and my other internship at Dominica National Council of Women (DNCW), but I am aware of the endless opportunities opened to me. In addition to that, I didn’t try so hard to get into this institution to just give up so easily, therefore I will continue this journey with my create family and friends. This is me CREATing a future which emanates from CREATivity!

A Creator in the making!

By Mikayah Antonio

Though unknown to Create Caribbean and its members, they have been the stepping stones guiding me across this seemingly infinite obstacle course known as college. Create Caribbean provided a somewhat welcoming, peaceful, and suitable environment for me to not only conduct my studies but to complete other tasks assigned to me. Here I received the needed experience, constructive criticisms, guidelines, moral support and opportunities needed to ensure that my stay at the Dominica State College is a prosperous one.

Though I have yet to take full advantage of the opportunities granted to be by this organization, it continues to benefit me in the best ways possible. My fellow interns and the staff are fun to be around and they somewhat motivate me as a person. I plan to continue my stay here in this institute, ensuring that I do my best to benefit them both as a friend and co-worker.

Another semester within this institution provides the opportunity to right my wrongs, gain more knowledge and build up myself as I go along. Though this semester opens up room for improvement, however simultaneously makes room for failure. Keeping such in mind I shall attempt to learn from my mistakes ensuring that failure only breeds new knowledge and perspectives, rather than a mere repeat of history. Moreover, I intend to use my college mistakes as guidelines as to how I should go about completing my daily tasks. Therefore, with this semester, Create shall not only remain as a means of acquiring new experience and knowledge but also provide what is needed to successfully complete the next phase of my life.

Furthermore, I wish to fully complete the Carisealand project prior to the end of this semester. This project is one in which we are required to use the data collected by my fellow intern Jodine Robin, to create a well-organized map that displays all the required information about Caribbean islands that practice sustainable development projects. Although I wished to use the semester as a time of self-analyzation, I shall strive to be a beneficial factor within Create Caribbean. With time being a limiting factor, I hope to successfully complete my work within the time range required by my leaders.

 

Team Building

By Rhea Xavier

I have a theory which revolves around the belief that getting something in motion is more difficult than keeping it in motion. I hold this belief in many aspects of my life, from something as trivial as beginning a new habit, to something as critical as having a lifestyle change. With no surprise, I had difficulty starting this blog. The reasons behind my difficulty can span from procrastination to simply not knowing how to begin. As a result, I was constantly reminded by my supervisors, Mia and Jada, and finally decided to put my thoughts on paper.

Throughout my current tenure at the Create Caribbean Research Institute, I’ve learned a lot revolving around history and collaboration. Currently, I’m working on the SPAT (Small Projects Assistance Team) Memory Project alongside a fellow colleague, Gael Thomas, and I must say that it has been a truly amazing thing to interview and meet some of the SPAT Members. These people have been movers and shakers, who have greatly impacted our society in Dominica. SPAT was a Non-Government Organization (NGO), which operated for about 20 years succeeding Hurricane David in 1979. After aiding in relief efforts, SPAT then assisted in the education of women and farmers. I was responsible for organizing information about the members of SPAT and I must say it was quite trying at times. Working with people like Ronald Green and Francisco Esprit made me realize how many people work in this country and can easily go unnoticed or unaccredited.

As a result of being an intern at Create, I am required to do a course called Digital Humanities at the Dominica State College and I must say that it has been incredibly eye opening. Prior to beginning this course, I was uninterested in current affairs simply labeling it as ‘too depressing’. However, I am learning the importance of staying updated on all things current; international news and how it can impact me in Dominica. Also, I learned why social media and the internet is so important and how it is beneficial globally. Within this course, Our class will be working on a project entitled Resistance and Caribbean Reality.

My group focuses mainly on how Science and Religion impact the aforementioned topic and consists of four people, which includes two fellow interns, Jodine and Gael. Through this project, we essentially learned the importance of collaboration as well as developing skills like intensive reading. (See: The Transformation of Reading) This course essentially teaches me how everything impacts everything and how we can document it. The lecturer, Dr. Schuyler Esprit, has been imparting this knowledge to us in an interesting and fun way as we learn about websites like Zotero, Knightlab, Omeka and Neatline, and how we can apply it in our daily lives. This, in turn, allows us to be more productive and creative in our Create projects, as well as other courses.

This internship has been extremely beneficial in my life by allowing me to change my perspective, my lifestyle choices and my methods of research. And although my theory was not proven wrong since I wrote this blog relatively fast, I do hope that through the grace of God, that I am able to continue and eventually complete this internship believing that there is more in store that I may be able to learn here at Create Caribbean.

The Road Ahead

By Jodine Robin

My journey continues over the past two years I have been at the forefront of the Carisealand project. As we know, this project is environmental friendly where sustainable and conservative organizations, businesses and natural sites are exhibited. My main role is to gather and organize the resources, however this semester I am also interested in mapping and plotting that data onto the site. Although each aspect of the project has its importance, being involved in this part is vital since that is what viewers will see.

Additionally, this semester I am enrolled in a Digital Humanities (DH) course that coincides with the work done at Create Caribbean. The University of Southern California (USC) defines Digital Humanities as ” A collaborative and interdisciplinary research. It comprises a broad collection of scholarly activities that apply new technologies to humanities such as History, Literature, Philosophy while expanding traditional forms of scholarly communication”. Create Caribbean in itself is a Digital Humanities organization where the projects are digitized, which is a major factor for all DH projects. There are about eight types of Digital Humanities Projects including a digitized version of text project, like the Road to Independence and a mapping project such as Carisealand.

In teaching students how to create and develop Digital Humanities projects, there must be a project to work with. Hence the class project is Resistance and Caribbean Reality: History of Dominica’s Resistance in a Global Context. The main goal of the project is to put Dominica on the ‘map’, in terms of pertinence to worldwide issues. The topic is broad, therefore in order to narrow it down, there are six sub-topics including religion and science which my group is responsible for. I am very much looking forward to working on this project because we decide everything about the assignment with guidance from Dr.Esprit, the lecturer, and director of Create Caribbean.

This semester at Create will be unlike like any other since it is my last semester at DSC, however, I do not believe that my time at Create will end there. Create Caribbean has always been an organization where I could be myself. I am always open to new experiences, lessons, and people, which is the door and path set at Create. So as my time a college dwindles I am certain that my journey as an intern at Create Caribbean will continue.

‘Each day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.’— Matsuo Basho

Exploring My Talents

By Madisha LeBlanc

This is my second semester as an intern at the Create Caribbean institute and it is promised to be a very busy one. At this institute we the interns are responsible for doing research on given projects, we should complete at least five hours per week, alongside our school assignments. It sounds like a lot of time and work, but it is managed simply and fairly by us interns having the privilege to choose the time that best suits us during the week to complete our required hours. We are also allowed to use and evolve our talents and learn new skills while at work.

There are many projects to work on this semester such as the Eastern Caribbean Maroons, SPAT: Alliance of Cuba and Dominica, and The evolution of dress in Dominica, just to name a few. All of these require thorough research and learning the history behind it all. Despite all the projects available, not all talents can be used, but those like graphic designing, video editing, drawing, management, and researching can be very useful at Create.

I assist in the completion of projects at Create Caribbean by creating graphic images and drawings relating to the topics of projects if it is needed by my fellow interns. This semester I am focusing on developing my knowledge and skills in graphic designing. Right now, I am mostly productive at graphic image skills and drawing when it is done manually, as I have not yet been able to familiarize myself with graphic designing sites or software and apps. However, I now know a few names of graphic designing software, thanks to Garvin Le Blanc, a fellow intern responsible for graphics at Create.

This picture you see was drawn by me using the paint software installed on computers. I learned to do this by exploring and testing the available tools and using my imagination to create an image. The first images I created on Paint were houses, trees, a view of the mountains with a waterfall flowing down, a night sky, and cartoon characters. Now I aim to learn to create more graphical designs and even animation. My time at Create Caribbean has been exciting and educational and I am looking forward to learning new skills and knowledge at this institute.

One Step at a Time

By Ashfred Norris

It’s such an amazing feeling to be back at Create Caribbean again. It’s already my second semester, and I once more had the opportunity to reunite with my Create family, get more involved in the affairs and works of the institution, and the best part; the projects! Now, I know you may be thinking, “Why is he so excited about amassing large quantities of primary and secondary sources of information, transforming and interpreting them, in order to present a cohesive and well-constructed piece of research, while also having his college assignments and work to be done, and a personal life to tend to?”

In our very first meeting with Dr. Esprit this semester, she entered the room and asked, “Are you all tired?”, “Have you been staying up late?” She asked these questions to get us to understand that if we are aspiring to be successful people, then we have to drill the concepts of hard work and dedication into our systems now. She then left us saying, “If it hurts, that means it’s being done right”. I took this motivation and applied it to my new project entitled; “The Roseau Valley: from estates to villages”.

The sole purpose of the project is to inform its audience about the Roseau Valley and explain how these estates were transformed into villages and residential areas. I found it both ironic and intriguing as I am from the Roseau Valley, however, I did not have any knowledge on the topic prior to my research. It was quite interesting to find out who were the owners of the estates before, and this further explained how the ownership shifted and landed in the hands of certain persons today.

I enjoyed going to institutions such as; The National Archives and Documentation Center, where I received some of the content which is displayed in the exhibit, and I also had time to look through their collections on Dominican history, and I was  also fascinated by some of the things I found. One in particular, being a report from the Seismic Research Unit, UWI issuing a volcano hazard report in 2001 where they explored the possibilities of having a volcanic eruption in the Southern parts of Dominica, and as a result, various earthquakes from 1998 into 2001.

In closing, the assignments and projects that are done at Create are not just extra work we have given ourselves. The projects assist us in becoming well-rounded individuals who can manage their time effectively. Hence, we have enough time to complete both Create and school assignments and, as one intern said, even have time for ‘recreational relaxation’. The research and tech skills enable us to differentiate between actual and alternative facts, amongst other qualities which can be incorporated in our school work and subsequent ventures. In my opinion, Create Caribbean is an asset and the value cannot be depreciated!

 

 

 

Ano Dois (Year Two)

By Garvin LeBlanc

Year two as a Create Caribbean intern and so far, so good. So far, my projects this semester have been a bit different than last year. Last year, I was dealing mainly with just graphic design and illustration with a few dabs of video editing. This year, I had to step up my game. I bought a camera for Christmas and I’ve been responsible for videography, photography, graphic design, illustration as well as something I’ve been willing to try out for about two years now – music production. I had fun doing the intern photo and video shoot as well as compiling a short bloopers reel where one of our new favorite phrase “recreational relaxation” can be found. The music production was a bit of a heavy task but I’m happy I got the chance to tinker with it and get a feel of how it is to actually conceptualize a sound and bring it to life.

It’s an intern’s privilege at Create Caribbean to be enrolled in the Digital Humanities course at Dominica State College, where we can learn how to properly do the work that is required of us as interns. I’ve learned a lot about digital humanities projects this semester, such as the components that make them unique, as well as ways in which I can produce effective digital humanities projects. So far, as an intern, I haven’t had to do as much as research as the other interns so I’m keeping my mind open and prepared to do my best to on my digital humanities project. Our project is titled “Caribbean Resistance and Reality” and my group is responsible for dealing with “Art and Education” as a theme. I consider myself an art enthusiast, so I’m really looking forward to finding out ways in which art was involved in resistance in both Dominica and the wider region.

I’m still trying to juggle around my time better. Things are a lot more hectic in my life than I budgeted for. I have some responsibilities that make doing the things I’d like to a bit less of a reality than before but I’m managing. Thankfully, Dr. Esprit, as well as my Create Caribbean family make it easy to juggle my not so organized life and I’m grateful for that. This semester will be a good one, I can feel it in my bones. Até! Tchau 🙂