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by Suzanne Francis-Brown
I’ve been on study leave for a few weeks, following up on some outstanding research re UWI artifacts, attending a Museum Ideas conference (http://www.museum-id.com/event-detail.asp?id=526) and taking the opportunity to browse a number of other museums.
I thought I’d share some of the journey over the next few weeks, starting with a presentation to the Ramphal Institute.
At the Ramphal Institute:
The http://www.ramphalinstitute.org is based in London and tackles a range of development issues in the Commonwealth and beyond. The name celebrates the work of the fourth Chancellor of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Sir Shridath Ramphal.
I was honoured to be asked to present a talk on the work of the museum and happy to share conversation with the audience afterwards.

What did I talk about? I started with the truisms about the importance of the UWI to the region, underscored in its mission and the recent statement by Vice-Chancellor Hilary Beckles about the university’s global relevance. But how to show this as well as to say it? That is a task rooted in the history and the data.
I spoke about my current trip to complete research on some of our artifacts; and about the concomitant need to capture the oral and social history – including current efforts through collaborations with the Department of History’s Social History Project (on UWI & the 1960s) and a Legacy project being discussed with the UWISTAT Alumni Ambassadors.
There was more – Email <uwi.museum@uwimona.edu.jm> for the full presentation.
One participant urged the creation of an economic plan for the museum, positioning it as a part of the UWI’s value chain. Another put me in touch with Susan Okokon, a historian of Bajan-Nigerian descent who is perhaps best known for her book http://Black Londoners . We talked about the socio-cultural position of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities in the UK, but she also emphasized the need to create a presence in the UK, with a view to attracting support globally.
The UWI already benefits from the existence of the British Foundation of the UWI (http://www.thebfuwi.org/ ) whose encouraging trustee Elizabeth Mullings-Smith also attended the talk.
Thanks to organizer extraordinaire Rolande DeGazon-Johnson for the photos.
More to come from the Curator on the Road:

  • Museum Ideas through workshop and conference, including my very own Dream Team (for only half-hour, but hey!) of brainstormers for our proposed 2018 Rodney Exhibition
  • Digging up info on our artifacts
  • Benefitting from the experience of archivists and curators
  • Visiting museums….museums…


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