The research projects conducted at Create Caribbean are interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary. Although the projects launched by the Research Institute will prioritize Caribbean history, literature and arts, Create Caribbean facilitates and provides partnerships and other support to the entire Dominica State College community in a wide range of disciplinary projects, including social sciences, agriculture, health sciences and information technology. Below is a list of projects designed and conducted by the staff of Create Caribbean Inc.
Visualizing Caribbean Literature (VCL) is an interactive database of more than 3,000 literary works about the Caribbean experience or by writers identifying as Caribbean people. The database includes authors and titles that represents the diversity of the body of work that is Caribbean literature in language, genre, author country of origin and publication location and institution. The project also represents works in translation from the authors included in the visualizations. VCL is a student project, a capstone production of the Research, Technology and Community (RTC) Internship at Create Caribbean Research Institute.
Visualizing Caribbean Literature builds on existing work in Caribbean digital literary studies, including In the Same Boats, Caribbean Literary Heritage and the 2020 effort of The Caribbean Digital VII to create a database of Caribbean digital scholarship, collectively annotate the works of Aimé Césaire and produce a generative collection of keywords that inform the constellation of Caribbean Studies.
Create Caribbean is proud to be a partner on the Caribbean Cyclone Cartography | Surviving Storms project in conjunction with scholars from University of London at Goldsmiths, Mona Geoinformatics Institute and other institutions. The project, funded by the Global Climate Research Fund (GCRF), investigates the past, present and future of climate disasters in Dominica, with implications for the wider Caribbean. Create Caribbean interns are focused on the work package called The Dominica Story Project, which seeks to use visual ethnography and digital storytelling to document survivor stories about the 2017 Category 5 Hurricane Maria, which devastated the island. The goal is to gain insight through survivor narratives of Dominica’s vision of its future despite and because of the environmental and socioeconomic impacts of climate change on the vulnerable Caribbean. Interns are also engaged in archival research, focused on documenting the history of storms on the island from as early as the 19th century into the current moment.
Carisealand began as a collaboration with Caribbean writer Oonya Kempadoo to develop a larger network of Caribbean writers, scholars, artists, scientists and environmental activists.
The project was created for research and centralized sharing of projects, data, art and works in progress within the Caribbean region. It is intended for the express purpose of collaborative knowledge sharing and inter-disciplinary exchange for sustainable development.
Over time, it has expanded to include both intellectual inquiry and narrative representation of the histories and possibilities of the Caribbean’s struggle with modernity through the discourses of nature and environment. At its core, the Carisealand project hopes to bring scholars, artists and activists to think through some challenging questions as highlighted on the project’s Home page. The ultimate work of the Carisealand project is to offer models for designing an alternate Caribbean future; a Caribbean that clarifies and streamlines what the UN Sustainable Goals have offered into three pillars: sustainable living, community accountability, and planetary responsibility.
The hope is that the project inspires governments, students, artists, civil society and the general public a digital platform and user-friendly access to information and projects per island/nation, area or subject, with a focus on the environment and preservation. The project has been supported by and enjoyed collaboration with Duke University’s Forum for Scholars and Publics.
The 2016 Dominica History web project, brought to you by Create Caribbean Research Institute at Dominica State College in collaboration with the Division of Culture, reflects on the theme “Building Communities 1838-1938” to illustrate how Dominica’s villages and towns have been formed, developed and created solidarity and unity among our people.
What do we understand when we here the phrase “Building communities?” For one, we think about the physical infrastructure – roads, utilities and communications networks – that connected the various parts of our island home, Dominica. The 2016 theme for Dominica’s History Week asks us to consider how the former slaves who won their freedom in 1838 Emancipation were able to travel all around the island to make a life for themselves. We think of how they connected with the Kalinago communities during and after slavery, and how they were able to navigate business and personal life among the colonial settlers during that period.
Dominica History/The Road to Independence is a multimedia web resource to celebrate Dominica’s 2015 History Week. History Week is an annual program by the Division of Culture to create public awareness, especially among the island’s students, on various topics of interest in Dominica’s history. This year, the topic “The Road to Independence” highlights the complex web of events, personalities and movements that moved Dominica from colonialism into political independence from Great Britain.
The multimedia project focuses on the dates 1950-1980, and highlights the key historical events, with detailed primary and secondary source analysis, along with present-day reflections on the lessons of that era – from active members of that movement at the state and grassroots levels, from students and scholars of Dominican and Caribbean cultural/political history, and from students of history and social studies currently encountering these knowledges for the first time.
The project includes images, text-documents, newspaper clippings, court, legal and Parliamentary documents, audiovisual recordings, and other resources that will appropriately chronicle the history of Dominica’s road to sovereignty.
SPAT Memory Project is a digital repository for the publications and related documents of the Dominica-based non-profit organization, Small Projects Assistance Team (locally known as SPAT). SPAT has served as a community development organization in Dominica for several decades.Its projects included publications, documentaries, town hall meetings and intellectual events of political, economic, and cultural merit. SPAT was integral to development and advocacy initiatives around the island and influenced key policies in areas of labor and economics, politics, gender, literacy and adult education, creative and performing arts, indigenous culture.
Maroon Country is a multimedia educational resource focused on the history of maroons, the independent and resistant black communities of the slavery-era Caribbean. The resource will focus on maroon history and culture in Dominica and the Eastern Caribbean, including the French West Indies. The web resource will include manuscripts and archival material for scholars’ further research, exhibits and analysis for use by teachers and students of high school and college. The site, built on the Omeka platform, will also include for younger audiences a game app featuring historically accurate maroon characters, events and artifacts, and a children’s short story for web, e-book and print formats.
Maroon Country is an awareness project aimed at emphasizing the lasting impact of these influential figures and communities on Caribbean post-Emancipation and postcolonial life. The maroons’ presence in Dominican history is dynamic and enduring, with evidence of the maroon life still present in Dominica’s physical and social landscape. The restoration of a Neg Mawon statue in the capital Roseau and the recent successful publication of Negre Mawon: The Fighting Maroons of Dominica (2014) by Dominican historian Dr Lennox Honychurch have reignited national interest in these histories, particularly following the 200th anniversary of the War of 1814, when Chief Jacko the maroon was executed. Partnering with the community organization July 12th Movement, Create Caribbean aims to generate and sustain dialogue in educational contexts about this significant history.
Imagined Homeland (Dominica’s Literary Geographies) aims to digitally recreate significant historical locations referenced literature by Dominican authors and or set in Dominica through geographical mapping, literary and historical analysis and audiovisual exhibits. The project aims to contextualize the island’s complex literary history and to explore the significant sociopolitical contexts that influenced literature about Dominica’s dynamic physical and social geography.
This project uses both close and distant reading to provide literary analysis of several literary works and will include, geographical mapping of historical locations featured in each novel and overlay mapping of novels to view Dominica’s geographical significance to Caribbean literary history. It also includes textual analysis and exhibits featuring manuscripts, images, timelines and other relevant information about the authors, their relationships to Dominica, and the novels’ focus on the natural and social landscape of the island.
Novels for analysis:
- Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys
- The Orchid House, Phyllis Shand Allfrey
- Autobiography of My Mother, Jamaica Kincaid
- Unburnable, Marie Elena John
- Pharcel, Alick Lazare
- Kalinago Blood, Alick Lazare
- Abraham’s Treasure, Joanne Skerrett
This project is being developed to serve as a key educational resource for teaching Caribbean literature in secondary and tertiary schools. The various interpretations will also serve younger age groups by providing visual aids to the study of Dominica’s featured historic sites. The resource also hopes to attract literary communities, particularly emerging writers in Dominica as a reference site for continued literary production in and about Dominica.