Last week I shared a post on Facebook a comment about a recording of BAJE to the WORLD aired on television, asked for discussion and got some robust feedback. This episode showed scenes from a preliminary judging held at St. George Secondary School on August 24th, 2019. It was fraught with production challenges, technical errors and editing choices that made it a bad production. It should not have been aired. It reflected badly on the project, the participants, the service providers, the Community Development Department production, and Trident 10 TV recording team. But for a government directive I would not have expected that it be aired. Such policies ought to be re-examined.
Talent productions are not new to the Community Development Department (CDD). I was involved in Community Dance Fest 2004-2017. That
festival was designed to use the medium of dance as a vehicle for achieving social integration, social cohesion and behaviour change especially among youthBlackett, 2012
I believe it was successful. During this process, the cultural landscape of (ballroom/latin, community, concert and street) dance and the contribution of men to dance in Barbados changed significantly.
Armed with that information and resource, it is odd that the objectives of BAJE to the WORLD have broadened. While staying focussed on “unleash Barbadian talent and creativity, it also seeks to:
- serve as a catalyst for strengthening integration among all Barbadians, artisans and cultural practitioners.
- to promote Barbadian talent in arts and culture on the international stage.
- generate new opportunities for our nationals to earn income.
- showcase a multi-talented cultural display in the visual and literary arts – storytelling, theatre, dance, music and new media to take to an international talent competition to perform. (www.bajetotheworld.com)
Therefore, the CDD poses as a platform for professional development in the creative sector, something that is clearly the ambit of its sister agencies, Barbados Community College Fine Arts Division, Barbados Cultural Industries Development Authority, Community Independence Celebration Secretariat, the National Cultural Foundation, and the Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination at UWIs Cave Hill Campus. Were these agencies or relevant private agencies consulted? If so, how are these criteria being managed? It was not evident in the recording I saw. This is unfortunate given the track record of success that CDD has built and its large field of reputable experts and providers that it has built relationships with.
I felt the episode did not sufficiently represent the achievements of government and private agencies in lifting the standard of the performing arts, arts education and cultural development over the decades. This misrepresentation must change. I recommend that government agencies acknowledge each other strengths, recognize the common goal, and merge their efforts, expertise and resources to give our young people the best experience to hone, development and showcase their talent. Now, for those of us who keep asking others of us to volunteer our contribution in silence and with infrequent reciprocity, that is an article for another time.
Culture Clinic is a weekly column crafted by Dr. John Hunte.