Caribbean Community Based Organizations, The Arts,


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There are two highly successful community based organizations (CBOs) in Barbados, the Pinelands Creative Workshop and the Israel Lovell Foundation. Both of these entities are linked to impoverished neighborhoods and over the past 20 years have been successful in social empowerment and transformation through the strategic and creative use of the arts. Additionally, both these CBOs have strong affiliation with the political representatives and leaders of their constituencies. This combination of CBOs, the arts and political support has led to a model that is now being duplicated throughout the rest of Barbados and the Caribbean. Of particular interest is the fact that both these groups are now engaging entrepreneurial development as part of their new mandate and social agenda.

This paper will examine the evolution of these CBOs and their models for achieving social transformation. Much of the research will be primary drawing directly from the source of their leadership and members as well as the author’s experience in managing their arts projects through Barbados’ Cultural Action Fund. It is hoped that this attempt to examine this model will serve to inspire further research.

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Caribbean Community Based Organizations, The Arts,

  1. 1. Caribbean Community Based Organizations, The Arts, Cultural Programming, Political Leadership And Their Role In Promoting Social Change – The Case of Barbados By Ian W. Walcott Presented at the 33 Annual Social Theory, Politics and the Arts Conference 11-13 October, 2007, New York University, USA
  2. 2. What is a Community Based Organization (CBO)? <ul><li>It is non-profit; </li></ul><ul><li>It relies on voluntary contributions; </li></ul><ul><li>It acts at the local level; </li></ul><ul><li>It is service-oriented; </li></ul><ul><li>It targets the disadvantaged groups with society; </li></ul><ul><li>It tends to be a bottom-up organization formed by the very community it serves. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Image of Barbados
  4. 4. Urban locations of CBOs <ul><li>91, 000 inhabitants </li></ul><ul><li>11/30 MPs </li></ul><ul><li>2/3 total population </li></ul><ul><li>High concentrations of urban poverty </li></ul><ul><li>Locale of PCW and ILF </li></ul>
  5. 5. Pinelands Creative Workshop <ul><li>Goals </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Develop self-awareness and personal growth; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Promote a positive community image; and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Educate and uplift community and other communities within Barbados and Caribbean region. </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Evolution of Pinelands Creative Workshop <ul><li>Phase I - 1978 - 1986: established its identity and explored direction. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>main activity - annual cultural production, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>With limited involvement in sporting activities </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Phase II - 1987 - 1991: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>gained regional recognition for its cultural productions, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>changed its approach and structure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>began to operate in a more business like manner </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>new approach to community governance. </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Evolution of Pinelands Creative Workshop <ul><li>Phase III - 1992 - 1995 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>consolidated its physical base </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>expanded its range of activities in the community. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Phase IV 1996 - present </li></ul><ul><ul><li>sought after as a partner for national development programmes, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>using its model for outreach to other communities at national and regional levels. </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Israel Lovell Foundation <ul><li>Founded in 1990 </li></ul><ul><li>Named as political activist and Pan African, Israel Lovell </li></ul><ul><li>Concentrates on programming in: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The arts and craft </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Education </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Empowerment through business </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Comparison – PCW & ILF
  10. 10. The Rise of Political Figures <ul><li>Similar Profiles </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Linked to CBOs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Strong grassroots leadership </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Centre-left of the political spectrum </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Strong socialist views </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>High level of popularity </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Weaknesses of the Politicized CBO Model <ul><li>Can lead to split loyalties </li></ul><ul><li>Favoring constituency over national agenda; </li></ul><ul><li>Allocation of funding according to interests of CBO; </li></ul><ul><li>Over-politicization of CBO </li></ul><ul><li>Can lead to negative changes in CBO’s developmental scope; </li></ul><ul><li>Potential backlash and criticism from CBOs not politically aligned. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Conclusion - Transitioning towards Business Development (Entrepreneurial) Models <ul><li>Both CBOs use Afro-Caribbean focused cultural and artistic programming to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>attract their constituencies, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>promote identify and social change </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Strategic shift to entrepreneurship </li></ul><ul><li>Recommendation for new housing model that promotes: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ownership – rent-to-own scheme </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Small business </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Self-reliance </li></ul></ul>