The National Cultural Foundation (NCF) has released two new resources that will assist students in their studies during the school year.
These resources come in the form of digital texts entitled: Bajan Folkways A Cultural Forms Resource ToolKit and We Ting: A Bajan Heritage Reader For Juniors.
The texts are loaded with information on indigenous Bajan culture that captures this island’s traditions, folklores, characters and norms.
In keeping with the Ministry of Education’s policy of online classes, the two free editions are available on the NCF’s Training Platform on the NCF website.
The Cultural Resource Toolkit, written and edited by Charmaine ‘Nailah Folami Imoja” Gill specifically targets the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) Theatre Arts students and has been produced in collaboration with CSEC curriculum consultants in the fields of dance, drama and stagecraft.
The 96-page publication includes historical information and activities about the Crop Over Festival, its relation to plantation history; dances and recreational practices of the Enslaved; the evolution of Tuk music – past to present; the historical and social significance of The Barbados Landship and survivals of African-based world views in performance-based practices such as tea meetings, stilt-walking, masquerade and storytelling.
According to Chief Executive Officer of the NCF, Carol Roberts-Reifer, the toolkit was created to groom the cultural lexicon of young creatives.
“Emerging artists are often aesthetically disconnected from their indigenous traditions across various platforms, including digital media. With teaching resources such as the Barbados Cultural Forms Toolkit, we are hoping to inspire new generations of creatives to proudly and confidently use their own vernacular in their creative products, even as they look to the global stage as their marketplace. This for us is at the epicenter of sustainable cultural development,” the CEO explained.
We Ting, created for juniors, is a flipbook. The publication engages students directly in a storytelling format. The narrative is given by Muddah Sally and targets students between the ages of eight and eleven.
The 60-page full-colour heritage edition delves into Crop Over, excursions, The Barbados Landship, Agrofest, Christmas Day in Queen’s Park, ring games and songs, tea meetings and Bajan folk characters, among other topics. The book was written by award-winning author Linda M. Deane and designed by Sheena Weekes.
The NCF’s Research Officer Michelle Springer, who served as producer of the Cultural Resource Toolkit and managing editor of We Ting, described working on both projects as a rewarding experience.
“The books were produced in 2020 when we were first battling the COVID-19 pandemic and we were called to reflect on what reinforces our resilience as Barbadians. It was even more critical that we, the custodians of our heritage practices and traditions, do everything to preserve it.
“The NCF demonstrated its commitment to this important role with the production of this resource toolkit. We extend special thanks to writer, cultural arts administrator and educator Charmaine ‘Nailah Folami Imoja’ Gill, whose Pan-Africanist sensibilities and knowledge were of great value,” said Ms. Springer who also expressed the hope that those persons utilising the cultural resource would gain as much enjoyment from their use as had those who produced it.