• JIS News

    Senior Research Fellow at the African Caribbean Institute of Jamaica/Jamaica Memory Bank (ACIJ/JMB), Dr. Julian Cresser, has said that reaching out to young persons, and getting them to embrace their cultural heritage, is a top priority for the organisation.
    In an interview with JIS News, Dr. Cresser said the ACIJ/JMB Debate Competition, is a key component in the organisation’s Open House Programme, which will last from October 27 to 31.
    “The debate competition is indicative of our interest in the youth cohort and the importance we attach to them. We realise that a main part of the clientele that we receive in our library comes from the secondary schools in Jamaica. We get inundated with requests when it is School Based Assessment (SBA) time,” he noted.
    “We realise that we have to cater some of the services, not just to say here is the information, but to get them involved in the whole process. Previously we had a number of lectures which we would make at high schools, but this is a way of getting them more directly involved in the process,” Dr. Cresser added.
    Finalists for the debate competition will be decided on October 23, when Campion College takes on Glenmuir High School in one semifinal and Meadowbrook High and Wolmer’s Boys’ High Schools face off in the other. The debate will be held in the Lecture Hall of the Institute of Jamaica, starting at 10:00 a.m. It is open to the public.
    Debating the moot, ‘Be it resolved that the inclusion of the Tainos on Jamaica’s Coat of Arms has no value’, Glenmuir High will be the proposing team, while Campion College will oppose. In the other semifinal, Meadowbrook High will propose and Wolmer’s Boys’ will oppose the moot, ‘Be it resolved that the extinction of the Tainos of Jamaica is a myth’.
    The grand final for the debate will be held on October 31, beginning at 10:00 a.m. also in the Lecture Hall at the Institute of Jamaica.
    The competition is one of the ways in which the ACIJ/JMB is adapting to the ever changing demands and communication patterns of Jamaica’s youth.
    “In the last two years, the ACIJ/JMB has produced two multimedia CD-ROMs, which were geared at a general audience, but more specifically, at high school students who would be doing SBAs for Caribbean Secondary Examination Council exams and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations. One is on German Immigration to Jamaica, focussing on Seaforth Town and another is on AfroJamaican Religions – Rastafari, Kumina and Revival,” Dr. Cresser informed.
    “This is an attempt to recognise that a new age demands new ways of reaching out to the students,” he continued.
    The ACIJ/JMB has also made visual presentations a more central part of its exhibitions.
    “In our exhibitions, we have also incorporated visual presentations, so we have had video clips being shown. We are attempting to move away simply from persons coming in and reading books in our library, to various ways of making the information more accessible and enjoyable, because we want people to enjoy and learn,” Dr. Cresser said.
    In addition to the debate competition, Open House 2008 will feature a multimedia exhibition and a lecture to honour the legacy of Jamaica’s indigenous people, the Tainos.
    The ACIJ/JMB is a division of the Institute of Jamaica. The ACIJ was formed in the early 1970s to look at Jamaica’s cultural heritage and specifically the African retentions in Jamaica. The JMB is an initiative started by Dr. Olive Lewin, in her work to examine folk music in Jamaica. It is an oral history project, which seeks to capture information about Jamaica’s social history, generally through interviews with the country’s senior citizens.
    Both organisations were combined in the 1980s to form one entity, under the Institute of Jamaica, which serves to examine all aspects of Jamaica’s cultural heritage and make this information accessible to the public, through its library as well as exhibitions and outreach programmes.