Traveling  Caribbean

Newsletter # 2

Aruba || Bonaire || Curaçao || Netherlands

Our previous bulletin introduced the start of the NWO-funded Traveling Caribbean Heritage (TCH) project by briefly describing the project’s objectives and presenting the TCH project team members. In addition, the bulletin also announced a survey scheduled to be conducted in the subsequent weeks in Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, and in the Netherlands. We are pleased to inform you that the survey is completed, and that after an intensive few months of dialogue with over 40 organizations active in the field of heritage management, we have carried on with a series of workshops on all three islands in the second half of September. And last, but certainly not least, we can report on exciting efforts in Aruba and Curaçao in the previous month in the area of heritage education.

This second TCH bulletin serves to update the reader on the developments of the previous months and progress made thus far, and to inform you on how we plan to move forward with TCH.
TCH Survey Results and Workshop
The survey conducted in the months of April to June among a wide range of project stakeholders in all territories was the work of the island coordinator, the PhD and the Postdoc researchers. The purpose of the survey was to create input for an analysis of the professional field of heritage and, more specifically, to offer a preliminary overview of the needs, challenges and expectations of the agents active in this field. The results of this preliminary enquiry formed the starting point for the project.

In the months after the survey was completed, the island coordinators made the necessary preparations for the kick-off of the project on Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao. The main activities were workshops on each location, and the preparation of programs in the area of heritage education.
Click here for an overview of the lectures given in all the six workshops.

The town of San Nicolas hosted the very first TCH workshop in a series totaling up to six events, and covering all three islands during the second half of September. The recently renovated monumental building of the Nicolaas Store offered the podium for workgroup and panel discussions, presentations and group assignments. The Nicolaas Store was erected in the 1940s and served as a local general store and also offered a home for the owners of the store and their family on the top floor of the building. The building has a rich history as a prominent locality in the public space of the San Nicolas community. Now a community museum, the Nicolaas Store maintains its social character and perhaps forms a striking example of best practices of safeguarding cultural heritage.

(photo courtesy of Stichting Monumentenfonds Aruba)
Glenn Thodé, rector of the University of Aruba, inaugurated the TCH workshop series with a personal account to highlight the significance and timeliness of the TCH project, with regards to the management of Aruban cultural heritage.

The goal of this first workshop day was to evaluate the outcomes of the survey with professionals active in the Aruban field of heritage, while putting together an action list for the future. Suggestions and preferences were made for TCH research themes and for strengthening capacities and developing professional expertise in the field of cultural heritage. In addition, a panel of the TCH Aruban consortium partners representing the public, private and civil sector, discussed the contents and incentives of the UoA heritage course.
UoA heritage course
The Curaçaoan workshop series took place on the 20th and 21st of September, in similar fashion as on Aruba. The University rector Francis de Lanoy opened the event with an inspiring speech, accentuating the most significant goals these workshops intent to achieve. Dr. De Lanoy addressed the participants with the Curaçaoan proverb ‘na kabuya bieu nos ta konopa kabuya nobo’ (at the end of an old rope one ties a new rope), as heritage, after all, embodies a trans-generational process of nation building.
A group of over forty participants discussed the survey results in multiple meetings and reported their findings in a plenary session. The second day of the workshop was identical to the Aruban variant, highlighting the ongoing developments of the Curaçaoan national canon as a work in progress.
The workshop series culminated on Bonaire on the 23rd and 25th of September. The workgroup of participants on Bonaire was smaller than on the other islands, which allowed a split up in two groups, each taking on a slightly different approach to establishing a canon for insular history. The working groups incorporated both variants of the canon exercises, as was done on Aruba and Curaçao, with a focus on Bonairean cultural heritage. Similarly to the workshops of Curaçao and Aruba, the Bonairean workshop participants also strongly emphasized the importance of Papiamentu in education as major contributor to cultural identity. Moreover, this last workshop day also dealt with the subjects of nation-building and nation branding in the context of sustainable tourism development.

The extensive two day session was sealed off with a cold beverage at the ocean front, while enjoying a Bonairean sunset.

In the same weekend of the kick-off on Bonaire, the cultural department and museum SKAL, together with the Stichting monumentenzorg Bonaire, organized  the annual Monumentendag. This  recurring event was held for the third time and after showcasing the areas of Playa and Rincon, the choice for this year’s event fell on the bario of Antriol. Both areas of Antriol Pariba and Pabao (Den Tera) house a large number of build structures, listed as an imperative heritage that need safeguarding.

Even though the turnout was slightly less than in previous years, the event was well attended and enjoyed a tremendous catering. To top it off, each attendee was given a memento of one’s journey that day through Antriol’s monumental heritage.

Aruba: heritage learning journey
Aruba aims to develop an educational trajectory targeting young professionals whom at present are actively involved in cultural organizations in the public and NGO sectors. With over 30 young professionals and students signed-up, who for a large part did also participate in the TCH workshops, the heritage course took off on October 6, 2017, at the University of Aruba. This course is coordinated by TCH partner and UoA staff Luc Alofs, closely cooperating with guest lecturers Kees de Jong, Chando Pieters, Stan Kuiperi and Greg Richardson.
Photo courtesy of Sinthya Ridderstraat
University of Curaçao Moises Da Costa Gomez and Bonaire
The University of Curaçao Moises Da Costa Gomez launched a studium generale at the beginning of September, a few days prior to the heritage course series started on Aruba. These academic activities entail a selection of courses with a special focus on cultural heritage. The studium generale forms a stepping stone for what hopefully will evolve into a bachelor program in Cultural Studies at the UoC. By focusing on cultural heritage, this course aims to advance professionalism in the area of heritage management. In consequence, most participants enrolled in this studium generale are young professionals who are actively involved in the field of heritage.

Even though geographical boundaries separate Curaçao from Bonaire as insular territories, practical and technologically ingenuous measures allowed for Bonairean professionals to participate in this studium generale while these were held at the UoC in Curaçao. These Bonairean trainees were able to participate via a streaming televised connection from their location on Bonaire.
The Netherlands
There were no TCH workshops in The Netherlands, but the Dutch-based contribution in the project as presented on the islands is also continuing.

UNESCO’s Memory of the World Comity in cooperation with Wikimedia Nederland organized an introductory meeting at which a new Caribbean working group was started.

Aruba and Bonaire are getting further acquainted with the Dutch Digital Heritage Network this month.

And Splika held a tour of Tambú in the Netherlands, showcasing different local Tambú groups, with keynote speaker René Rosalia.
In the following months, the project team will be working on both a policy paper that will set out the project priorities, as well as an outline of forthcoming scholarly papers.
In accordance with the priorities set in the workshops, the TCH project is committed to contribute to strengthening local capacity in the area of heritage management, and will offer a theoretical reflections on heritage practices and policies.
Please feel free to share this bulletin within your professional networks, or with anyone else that might be interested. And of course, were are very interested in hearing your reactions and suggestions. For now, thanks much for your interest. More to follow soon!
Visiting Address
Reuvensplaats 2, 2311 BE Leiden
Postbus 9515, 2300 RA Leiden
+31 (0)71 527 229

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KITLV / Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies · Reuvensplaats 2 · Leiden, 2311 BE · Netherlands

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