A Challenging But Successful Semester

By Chelsea Lugay

This semester was the most challenging for me this far, however, I believe that I was able to get through it rather well.I went from being a first year student and intern to a second year student and intern in very little time.This semester I was presented with many opportunities that will surely benefit me in one way or another.  My main focus this semester was my personal life, working on the Visualising Caribbean Literature Project (VCL), school work and my community partner which was the Waitukubuli writers.

I enrolled in a total of five courses, two courses for my major and three electives.  These five courses have allowed me to gain quite a bit of knowledge to help me not only in my current life but in my future professional life as well. Most of my classes were on online platforms therefore I only went on campus for assessments. Though I believe that online learning is very beneficial, there are quite a few disadvantages as well. These include, poor wifi connections, noisy surroundings making it difficult to take part in class discussions and electronic issues, all of which I experienced this semester. This semester I completed a course ‘Professional Development Seminar’, one that I would not have done if it was not a requirement to graduate. However, throughout its completion it became my favorite class that I enrolled in. I practiced writing resumes and cover letters, taking interviews and so much more and I am ready to use what I have learnt some day. 

For the VCL project, I was tasked with creating  author country markdown pages. It was a rather easy task, because I had access to the spreadsheet, with all of the information that was needed to populate the pages. I found it fascinating to see all the coded pages that I made become actual pages on a  site. Additionally I made a few author data sheets, which were used to organize the information about specific authors, so that information could then be used to make markdown pages. My greatest challenge with this however was time management. I found it very difficult to work on the VCL project and complete all that was expected from me in school. I eventually found a way to attend to both my school work, the VCL project and my personal life. 

During this semester I also had the opportunity to represent Create Caribbean at The Caribbean Digital IX in Puerto Rico, alongside Dr. Schuyler Esprit and one

of my fellow interns, Zervita Charles. There, I took part in a workshop with Alex Gil, that focused on using digital humanities tools such as Omeka and Wax. I am already familiar with the two, and though the workshop was entirely in Spanish I found it very informative and I gained a lot of knowledge that I can continue to use. On the following day I attended The Caribbean Digital Conference, where several individuals portrayed the Digital Humanities projects that they had been working on. I really enjoyed these presentations, I considered them to be creative and I believe that all of them would in fact be beneficial, to researchers, students, etc. Not only was this an educational experience, but I got an opportunity to meet such amazing people as well, people interested in areas that I’m interested in, and they made the experience even more memorable. I am extremely grateful that I was given this opportunity and I will never take it for granted. 

Finally, I  worked with my community partner Waitukubuli Writers. It is a registered group of Dominican writers who are passionate about Dominican literature. Their aim is to preserve and showcase the published and unpublished pieces of Dominican authors, poets and playwrights. They gave me the task of creating an Omeka site and a WordPress site. The Omeka site is an interactive and child friendly site that can be used in schools, while the WordPress site will be the Waitukubuli Writers’ official site to publish pieces. So far I haven’t encountered any challenges and I have been making progress. 

Overall this semester asked a lot of me , but also gave me many great opportunities, and I was able to complete this semester proudly.

The Learning Curve

By Élise Valerie

Throughout this semester I was assigned to work with The Chronicle Newspaper, assisting them with the process of digitizing their newspapers. This project was created in an effort to shorten the retrieval process of information stored in newspaper editions. Before a database of the papers can be created, the older newspapers need to be scanned and uploaded into a folder on Google Drive as a temporary repository. Moreover, an inventory of the condition of the different papers was updated where seen fit. Under the guidance of previous interns, I was taught how to properly scan and analyze the condition of the newspapers. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I scanned 20 newspaper issues all from the year 1986. When fulfilling this task, I would check the data in the inventory spreadsheet and compare it to the papers in my presence looking for any discrepancies, which would be corrected in the document upon discovery. I would then scan the pages of the newspaper and upload them to folders that correspond to the newspaper issue. 

In an effort to assist with the completion and launching of the Virtualizing Caribbean Literature Project, the first task that I understood was the creation of a list, consisting of the author countries included in the project and whether or not they had a markdown page created already. This list was created utilizing Google Sheets and was stored in the shared drive dedicated to the project. After this, I changed the country permalinks from the country name to the number that was associated with it on the country.json page. Once that task was completed, I created Genre pages for the different genres of works in the collection. Upon completion, I ensured that the name of the author markdown pages and their permalinks were under the same name from the letters ‘a’ to ‘i’. I later assisted in the creation of author data sheets.

In terms of my school work this semester, there was a drastic increase in the coursework and assignments expected to be completed as well as the level of difficulty experienced when compared to last semester. Due to the seven courses taken spread between my double major, at times it was very hectic. The amount of work that needed to be completed depleted much of the free time that I had and overwhelmed me occasionally. Eventually, I got accustomed to my schedule and the demands of my courses.  While becoming acclimated to the situation with my studies, I neglected my duties as an intern. I did not complete the vast majority of the hours that I was expected to complete. At that time, I had not thought of how this carelessness would affect the launch of the project (Which it did). After this revelation, I tried pulling my weight by completing tasks that would aid in the completion of the project. I did this by being more consistent with my hours, both those associated with the VCL project and those associated with The Chronicles. This did little to nothing though as the damage was already done and the time allocated to the launch of the project had passed.  

Finding the Balance

By Resaen Stoute

This semester was both good and bad due to numerous reasons. As a second year intern I now had to balance school work, my community partner, working on the Visualising Caribbean Literature project and my personal life.

I enrolled in 7 courses this semester which meant a full schedule and a lot of work. Seeing that I am majoring in both economics and hospitality, there was a great amount of things to be done. Some of my coursework included numerous tests, quizzes, assignments, groupworks, problem sets, case studies, models etc. With all this there were also some setbacks such as cancellation of classes, no internet connection and personal issues. Also, most of my classes were on campus therefore I had lots of “ups and downs” to do . To add to this, I had to spend four hours every week working on the Visualising Caribbean Literature project.

My task on the Visualising Caribbean Literature project dealt with author data sheets. Firstly, I had to separate the list into two sections; Authors who had data sheets and Authors who did not have. After this, I then fact checked the authors who had and then started working on completing those who did not have. However, while working there was an issue. The list we were working off of was not updated therefore I had to recheck to identify which authors were on that list. Another task I did was fixing all genre types for authors beginning with the letter “O”.

The next part of this semester was working with my community partner, the Dominica National Archives Unit. This unit is where all materials from the past, business court etc. are stored in hopes of preservation. To gain service learning hours, I spent six hours a week at the unit working on data entries for audio and video cassettes. Most days I entered approximately three boxes of information onto the system whereas other days my entries were a bit fewer. However, starting this project was not easy as there were quite a bit of technical difficulties, thankfully the issue was resolved in the following days. Secondly, I had to complete two hours three times a week and this was very hectic seeing that i had classes both before and after those free two hours. Then, the site crashed so all the work I entered was deleted and I had to re enter everything. That was very frustrating seeing that I could have been working on another box. Lastly, this place was very very cold and seeing that I was coming from the sun and sitting in this cold environment for two hours, I felt sick on numerous occasions and this was not really the best working environment for me. I both enjoyed and did not enjoy this experience due to numerous reasons. I enjoyed this seeing that all I had to do was sit by myself and do the work. On the other hand I did not enjoy this because there were several instances of miscommunication and issues that were uncalled for which made me want to stop, however, I kept it together and returned.

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 🙂