About This is ME

About THIS IS ME

“This is Me,” is the flagship outreach program of Caribbean InTransit’s art-for-social-change initiative.

Currently presented as an itinerant workshop series with a focus on arts, leadership, and entrepreneurship, This is ME targets underserved groups in the Caribbean, including, at-risk youth, women, and persons living with HIV/Aids. The series provides a  vital  link  between Caribbean InTransit, local school systems, and established social work collectives in the region and internationally. The program  is  designed  to  equip attendees with marketable skills. We develop sustainable cultural programming, addressing crime, violence, justice, invisibility, marginalization among other issues, by critically engaging participants in a proactive effort to manage and better their realities.

This is ME is the seed of our reason for being: we exist to further enable voice through the Caribbean Arts, to develop viability of the domain in the region, to provide a way-in for young people who need a space to express, desire access to opportunity, and require a platform to demonstrate what is possible.  We are designing a better future for our youth.

Objectives:

  • To develop students self respect, enable healing from traumatic experiences and allow them room for self-validation through their spiritual engagement and practical skills development.
  • To develop viable pathways to sustainable livelihoods including economic cooperatives, gaining vocational qualification as pathways to higher education or entrance into job market that facilitates, creativity, a sense of pride and accomplishment, ability of youth to earn a meaningful living and generate respect for themselves.
  • To create access for youth- expose students to global experiences and to facilitate the development of profound relationships between professionals, community scholars, youth and members of the Caribbean Diaspora.

“This is ME”  is a core aspect of Caribbean InTransit’s educational programming which also includes an academic journal and Google Talk Hangout Series called “Talking Arts” . Caribbean InTransit Arts Festival circuit provides a key element to the puzzle of access  to markets, knowledge and networks for youth by providing a platform for showcase, a marketplace for goods and services and  a network of scholars, artists and audiences.

THIS IS ME, Trinidad, 2012

This is Me Trinidad 2013 compilation

As part of the Trinidad launch of Caribbean InTransit’s issue two journal, the first “This is Me” workshop was held from March 6th-8th, 2012 at Belmont Boys High School in Trinidad. The aim of the workshop was to teach students to use their present circumstances to create positive visions for/ of themselves through photography, using available cameras such as mobile phones. The boys identified four themes, which describe their current situations: fear, violence, crime and corruption. They worked through these themes and talked about how they could support each other and find something positive in these. Together they created a photo montage which can be displayed as a mural. Caribbean InTransit Workshop Coordinator Kamilah Morain facilitated the workshop, along with artists Edgar Endress and Olivia McGilchrist.

THIS IS ME, Jamaica, 2012.

THIS IS ME 2012 JAMAICAThe second iteration of “This is Me” addressed persons living with HIV/Aids in Jamaica and took the form of dialogues and a new media project.  It was led by artist Olivia McGilchrist. It was is inspired by ‘Through Positive Eyes’, a global photographic collaboration with Gideon Mendel and the UCLA Art& Global Health Centre, “Hope: Living and Loving with HIV in Jamaica': an interactive website by poet Kwame Dawes as a Pulizer Centre commission, and ‘Expanding the Walls’, a photography based programme for high-school students at the Studio Museum in Harlem, NYC. A  series of still photographs and a video was produced which documented  meaningful dialogue on HIV/Aids between students and persons living with HIV/Aids.

THIS IS ME, Trinidad, 2013.

The third iteration of This is ME: In 2013, the focus of the This is ME, Trinidad workshop was twofold.  Initially students spent two weeks in self reflection and development with Steven Edwards Productions whose team use Transformation through Theatre to develop self-esteem and self-respect.  The students went through a number of exercises which were designed to bring out an awareness of how to present themselves well in different situations for example a job interview or work related activity – but generally the focus was on identifying and revealing the best you.  Sessions took place on September 16th and 28th from 8am to 3:30pm.

The first, third & final sessions on 16th September, 5th October & 12th October 2013 were held at Granderson Labs, a space dedicated by the Alice Yard team for artists in residence, exhibitions and workshops.  The second session was held at the St. Francois girls school on the 28th September to accommodate the multimedia workshop facilitated by Transformation through Theatre.

This one month workshop led students through self-development and arts training. Students met for 4 Saturdays and were trained by facilitators of the Transformation through Theatre program run by Steven Edwards Productions.   Following this, Arts workshops were lead by internationally recognized contemporary Trinidadian artist Christopher Cozier in conjunction with Irish artist Al Braithwaite and Jamaican artist Clayton Rhule.

Student Feedback

Students felt that they learnt how to look at objects differently and that in many cases they were more creative than they had originally thought they were. They learnt they could express themselves in new ways.  Additionally, some students expressed that they deepened their imagination in that they were able to find ways to improvise and ‘make art out of anything’, and further that ‘true art can be anything’.

Overall students gained new confidence in their own creative ability as they saw that previous experiences of ‘not being able to draw well’ did not limit them from being artistic and finding new ways of expressing themselves using materials they easily had access to in their daily lives.

 THIS IS ME, Trinidad, 2014.

“This is ME, 2014” will focus on at-risk youth ages 16-21. It addresses issues of crime, violence and injustice, invisibility and marginalization of youth by allowing participants a gateway to altered perspectives of themselves, enabling them to effectively manage and better their realities while developing marketable skills. The project will furnish curriculum development expertise to expand educational content to address the needs, interests and potential of at-risk youth. It will create economic cooperatives to expand horizons for independent economic stability and growth of vulnerable communities. Catering for multiple learning abilities in students, the program offers real world work experience, access to alternative routes to further education through vocational certification while opening up networking opportunities.

The program caters to both sexes in tapping into their sense of style and identity- “This is ME” is a positive, bold statement enforced through the textures, colors, shapes and styles that are worn on various occasions. Critical to presenting “This” as “ME” is the ability to explain the choices made, their  what has influenced these choices, the beliefs on which they hinge and the associations through which they are contextualized. We encourage youth to develop a sense of self-respect and earn the respect of peers and community through their informed and thoughtful presentations of style in “This is ME”. In addition to self-presentation, students extend their productions of style in offerings to the marketplace, thus producing products that bring sustainable economic returns enforcing  poverty reduction.

2 Responses to “About This is ME”

  1. Jennifer Clarke says:

    Hi, I was looking at the ad for Fashion Instructors due to start in September. I’d like some more information concerning venues, exactly where would these classes be held and times that the classes would be held. I’m a Bfa graduate in Fashion and have been teaching fashion for a couple of years.

    • Caribbean InTransit says:

      HI Jennifer,

      We are looking for a Color and Design Instructor. HAve you ever lectured in this area? Please contact us at 342 0307.

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