Edna Manley College Celebrates Research in Arts Day 2018

Photo: Donald De La Haye Principal, Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, Dr. Nicholeen DeGrasse-Johnson (second right), speaking during the opening ceremony for the institution’s annual Research in the Arts Day on Wednesday, March 7. The event was held at the College’s Arthur Wint Drive campus in Kingston. Others (from left) are Pastor of Temple of Light Centre for Spiritual Living, Reverend John Scott; Patricia Newland, daughter of one of the College’s co-founders, Sheila Barnett; and Jamaican broadcast pioneer, Alma Mock-Yen. The Day was observed under the theme ‘Embracing Our Inheritance: Founders and Findings’.

Story Highlights

  • The Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts commemorated its annual Research in the Arts Day on Wednesday, March 7 at the institution’s Arthur Wint Drive campus in Kingston, under the theme ‘Embracing Our Inheritance: Founders and Findings’.
  • Principal, Dr. Nicholeen DeGrasse-Johnson, said the Day is observed to enlighten students about the College’s origins and work as well as the history of the institution’s founders.
  • Dr. DeGrasse-Johnson noted that the College has a rich history that “we really should try to… preserve… (in order to maintain) the tradition of who we are and what we do”.

The Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts commemorated its annual Research in the Arts Day on Wednesday, March 7 at the institution’s Arthur Wint Drive campus in Kingston, under the theme ‘Embracing Our Inheritance: Founders and Findings’.

The Day formed part of the College’s observance of Founders’ Week 2018, from March 4 to 9.

Principal, Dr. Nicholeen DeGrasse-Johnson, said the Day is observed to enlighten students about the College’s origins and work as well as the history of the institution’s founders.

Activities marking the occasion included group assignments, interactive sessions, presentations and a treasure hunt.

Dr. DeGrasse-Johnson noted that the College has a rich history that “we really should try to… preserve… (in order to maintain) the tradition of who we are and what we do”.

Meanwhile, College Orator and noted cultural authority, Dr. Amina Blackwood-Meeks, said research in the arts is important for maintaining cultural identity.

“In cultures such as ours, increasingly viewed as being under threat, the value of research in the arts might include cultural revitalisation as well as cultural authenticity,” she argued.

Dr. Blackwood-Meeks further contended that culture is pivotal to national development, as articulated in the country’s long-term National Development Plan – Vision 2030 Jamaica.

“Vision 2030 is a vision of what we should be in 12 years’ time… (and) is premised on a platform of sustainable development knowledge. Among the national outcomes of Vision 2030 is listed authentic and transformational culture. Our work as cultural artists is predicated on our ability… to be both authentic and transformational,” she said.

The week-long activities commenced with a church service on March 4, followed by a Founders’ Reception on March 5 and an exhibition hosted by the Faculty of the School of Visual Arts on March 6.

Other activities include an International Women’s Day event dubbed ‘Electric Boogie’, which will celebrate women in the arts, as well as a Gender and Development Lecture, both of which are scheduled for March 8.

The week concludes with a theatrical production by the School of Drama titled ‘Belly Woman’.

Founded in 1950 by renowned artist, the late Edna Manley, the College was originally named the Jamaica School of Art.

It was later expanded to incorporate the School of Music, which was founded in 1962 by noted musician, Vera Moody.

The institution grew after incorporating the Jamaica National School of Drama, founded by members of the Little Theatre Movement in the early 1970s; and the Jamaica School of Dance, which was founded by the National Dance Theatre Company with key contributions from foundation members Sheila Barnett, Barbara Requa and Bert Rose.

The group of schools was eventually renamed the Cultural Training Centre in 1976 and, thereafter, the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in 1995.

The institution has been preserving Jamaican and Caribbean culture for more than six decades by offering diverse degree programmes in visual performance, arts management and humanities, and continuing education.

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