PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad — So you missed out on all those talks with your grandparents about what the good old days were like — or perhaps you’re curious about your family’s past and how you ended up in the Caribbean. Either way, it’s now possible to live vicariously through the stories of West Indian families (maybe even your own!) via the Caribbean’s first crowd-sourced cultural heritage research platform, the Caribbean Memory Project.
Launched in 2014, this innovative initiative allows people to archive cultural, social and historical memories and is founded on the belief that it’s important for West Indians to be the storytellers of their own history.
The sole purpose of the CMP is to serve as the missing link that Caribbean people need — a public database to collect and document family text and photo archives as well as lost and found materials, in order to showcase the lives and experiences of their ancestors.
This digital tool can be used to spark inter-generational conversations and helps ensure that contemporary Caribbean communities understand where they came from.
Global Voices spoke with the project’s founders, Kevin Browne Ph.D., and Dawn Cumberbatch, to find out more.
Caribbean Memory Project: The Caribbean Memory Project is an undertaking in practical citizenship, archiving, community education, and digital humanities. It’s the Caribbean’s first formal, crowd-sourced cultural heritage research platform. Its initial incarnation was ‘Found(ations): The Vernacular Digital Archiving Project,’ was an academic inquiry designed to activate and engage the memory of cultural heritage among a mixed audience and to aid in counteracting the effects of erasure and forgetting occurring in a growing number of contemporary Caribbean communities. We’re motivated by enduring questions of citizenship and its related responsibilities — to a family, a community, a country — which are central to the conceptualization and sustainable enactment of Caribbean identity.
Read more here.