The Arts and Humanities Research Council, United Kingdom, under the Translating Cultures/Care for the Future Innovation Awards on International Development, held a two-day workshop on Reading, Writing and Narrating Volcano Landscape & Hazard, in collaboration with the National Emergency Management Organization, (NEMO) in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
According to Dr. Wendy McMahon from the University of East Anglia, the goal of the workshop was to bring people in the arts and cultural community together to discuss the volcano landscape, and how they can provide scientists with different ways to help increase community awareness of the volcano here in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
The group also consisted of Professors Jenni Barclay from the University of East Anglia, David Pyle from the University of Oxford, and Richie Robertson from the Seismic Research Centre at the University of the West Indies.
Day one of the workshop began with a reading of The Volcano Suite - a series of 5 poems by Ellsworth “Shake” Keane. It consisted of three sessions, Reading Hazardous Landscapes, Storytelling Archives and Recovery and Cultural Imagination, followed by group discussions and presentations by participants throughout the first day; most of which were centered around poetry written in response to past volcanic eruptions in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Montserrat.
During the Recovery and Cultural Imagination session, Dr. Yvonne Weekes from the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, read a few pages from her book Volcano, a memoir documenting the eruption of the Soufriere volcano in Montserrat.
On day two, participants were asked to give a list of things they would like to see in a museum, if one was to be developed, about the volcano on mainland Saint Vincent, and to give suggestions on how to improve four different exhibition concept designs that the group presented. The group is looking to develop and create a mobile exhibition about the volcano in Saint Vincent, and has proposed to make it a roving exhibition to travel with easily and possibly take to other countries that have an active volcano. They are hoping to have a design concept finalised before their next visit to the island in 2018.
Images from the 1812 and 1979 volcanic eruptions in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines were also shown on the second day, as well as a preview to a documentary in which residents affected by the 1979 volcanic eruption share memories from that day.
The two-day workshop was held at the Curator’s House at the Botanical Gardens, Kingstown Saint Vincent & the Grenadines on 2nd and 3rd November.