IDB Cultural Center Lecture - Culture and the Caribbean
Thursday, April 7, 2011
6:30 pm
IDB Cultural Center Art Gallery
1300 New York Avenue NW, Washington, DC

The IDB Cultural Center and the Embassy of The Bahamas
cordially invite you to attend a lecture by
the former Director of Culture of The Bahamas

Dr. Nicolette Bethel

What Price Culture?
The Challenge of Cultural Development in the Caribbean

In 2004, the vitality of festival economies around the world and the success of Caribbean-based festivals throughout North America and Europe encouraged CARICOM to adopt a New Strategic Plan to reposition the pre-eminent Caribbean Festival of Arts, otherwise known as CARIFESTA, as the grandest Caribbean festival of all Its value would lie in its authenticity, its position in the Caribbean region, and its potential to attract revenues earned by Caribbean festivals elsewhere around the globe to the region from which that culture sprang The goal was to turn that culture into an engine of economic and social development.

Central to the Festival's success would be the one element which made CARIFESTA both marketable and exciting: its mobility.  CARIFESTA has been hosted by member states of CARICOM, from St. Kitts-Nevis to Trinidad and Tobago.  Every major country in the region has played host to the festival, with one exception: The Commonwealth of The Bahamas.

In 2006, the Government of The Bahamas announced its intention to host CARIFESTA 2008.  Not only would it serve as the proving ground for the New Strategic Plan, but CARIFESTA would also be a valuable tool to help re-shape the Bahamian tourism economy in a global reality where culture is increasingly being recognized as a crucial economic sector.  In 2007, however, following a change in government, the new administration rejected its predecessor's plan.  This presentation examines these issues, places them in the context of the Bahamian government's overall administration of culture, and describes Bahamian civil society's response.

Nicolette Bethel is a poet, playwright, and blogger/columnist.  She holds a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge, and is a researcher in the fields of Bahamian national identity and of Junkanoo.  For five years, she was Director of Culture for the Bahamas Government.  She is the founder of Shakespeare in Paradise, an international theatre festival held in Nassau every October, and founding editor of the online Caribbean literary journal tongues of the ocean.  Her play Powercut was made into an independent film and released by Plantation Pictures in 2001.   Her work has been published in a variety of places, including the collections The Oxford and Cambridge May Anthologies (Oxbridge, 1993), Junkanoo and Christianity (College of The Bahamas, 2002), and Managing Island Life (Abertay, 2006).  She is now Assistant Professor of Sociology at the College of The Bahamas.  In 2010, her poetry book, Mama Lily and the Dead was published by Poinciana Paper Press.

Free and open to the public.  Lecture will be held inside the IDB Cultural Center Art Gallery in the main building

1300 New York Avenue NW, Washington, DC   Metro Center  202 623 3558   2011 – Inter-American Year of Culture

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