I’m the lead academic in the network, based at the University of Birmingham. You can see a video of me introducing the project here, and you can find out more about my research, and about all the other network members here
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I want to start with something that might seem a bit incongruous, but which has touched me deeply as a member of the Caribbean diaspora. The Drum, an intercultural arts centre in my home town of Birmingham, is closing its doors today, after 22 years of hosting events, running workshops, fostering artistic talent, amongst the Midlands Caribbean Diaspora, as well as in relation to a range of groups. I went along to their closing event last week. (Charles Small, the Drum’s CEO)I feel very sad about this, but I’m also bewildered that it should have happened so quietly – there has hardly been any commentary on the passing of this important institution. Doubtless the incredible noise from Brexit had something to do with this, but also I think it has to do with a kind of resignation in the face of the incredible insecurity faced by Britain’s Caribbean diaspora communities at the moment. We are saddened, but simply not surprised, that a major cultural landmark is closing, and we are already thinking about how to regroup and start again.
This seems to me resonant with many of the concerns of this network as I see it. The Caribbean region faces many different kinds of insecurity – environmental and livelihood insecurities, violence and criminality – but the region also punches well above its weight in creative production – music, dance, visual arts. CARISCC begins from the starting point that these two elements of the Caribbean region’s global presence are closely related – the region creates in insecure conditions, many within the region try to address its insecurities creatively, and it is therefore a fascinating case study for how we can think globally about creative risk, in the midst of so many global risks to our creativity.