Inter-American Development Bank Supporting Culture and Creativity in Barbados

The Barbados Association of Drama Educators (BADE) was among the 50 proud recipients of a grant from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) last August. These grants were awarded through the Cultural Development Programme of the IDB Cultural Centre, a programme established to fund projects designed to provide technical training, restore artistic traditions, preserve cultural heritage and educate youth across Latin America and the Caribbean.

In 2012 alone, 1004 project applications were received. The rigorous selection process evaluates projects for their educational scope, effective use of resources and their long-term impact on the community, among other things. Selected projects share the objectives of the IDB Cultural Centre to showcase creativity and promote socially impactful cultural initiatives across the region.

As a grant recipient, the BADE lauds the work of the IDB in supporting the Arts and is looking forward to partnering with the institution to see their proposal of a workshop for Caribbean drama teachers come to fruition in December, 2013.

(FILE IMAGE - 2010, Memory Of Water: FCH) According to Cicely Spencer-Cross, President of the BADE, "the funding will give a platform for Caribbean teachers to come together to exchange ideas; to learn from each other’s experiences and to formulate a benchmark to determine what good art is. Art is described as subjective; however through knowledge and training one can develop an eye for good theatre. This workshop should give the teachers greater confidence in producing works of a high standard."

(FILE IMAGE2010, Memory Of Water: FCH) According to Cicely Spencer-Cross, President of the BADE, “the funding will give a platform for Caribbean teachers to come together to exchange ideas; to learn from each other’s experiences and to formulate a benchmark to determine what good art is. Art is described as subjective; however through knowledge and training one can develop an eye for good theatre. This workshop should give the teachers greater confidence in producing works of a high standard.

The three-day workshop will coincide with the Caribbean Secondary Schools’ Drama Festival, to be hosted by Barbados from December 8-15, 2013. This will be a momentous occasion for Barbados as it is the first time the festival will be held here, having previously been hosted by Trinidad, Antigua, Guyana and St. Lucia.

This will provide an ideal opportunity for the teachers participating in the workshop to put into practice the techniques learnt.

As Spencer-Cross explained, “with the presence of a number of Theatre arts teachers and practitioners at the Festival and in keeping with the format for previous Caribbean Secondary Schools’ Drama Festivals it was important to use the opportunity to share and explore the concept of ‘Assessment and Evaluation of the Performing Arts’. Hence, the idea of a workshop for teachers.”

At present, excluding Barbados, there are 6 countries that have confirmed participation: Trinidad, Guyana, Dominica, British Virgin Islands, St. Lucia and St. Vincent. The BADE is extremely pleased with the response thus far and hopes to add four additional countries to the list shortly.

The BADE is looking forward to a successful workshop in conjunction with the IDB and sees this as a significant step towards achieving their goal. In the future, the Association hopes to form an alliance with various entities to establish a five-year programme to train 20 individuals annually in Drama in Education and Theatre Arts. There would be an online component with tutors in each territory.

When asked about the possibility of a continued partnership with the IDB through further grant funding, Spencer-Cross explained that the BADE would definitely be seeking funding to support their on-going efforts and if there was an opportunity to collaborate on developing Arts in education in Barbados and the region, they would approach the IDB for assistance.

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