The link between innovation, culture, the arts and youth development was explored this morning with the launch of the Social Identity Renewal & Integrated Upliftment Strategy project.
Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth Affairs, Stephen Lashley, told an audience at the Spirit Bond, Wharf Road, the City launch this morning: “Whether it is certain isolated cases of gun violence; whether there are issues in relation to moving our country forward at the level of the trade aspect, the cultural issues and heritage, within a world that has shifted in terms of its focus – it is certainly clear based on the research and from your own observation that we need to re-examine ourselves and become emboldened as a people that have been given a very rich ancestry upon which to propel our own development.
“So this particular project this morning is based on a number of things. One of the things we will deal with is innovation and the whole question of encouraging creativity and transforming how we think, while looking at some of the practices that we need to change and that we need to invent,” he said.
Lashley continued: “This innovation centre which is within the confines of this Spirit Bond, itself an historic structure within our world heritage City of Bridgetown, and our world heritage property includes our Historic Garrison as well. The choice of this location is not by accident, because much of what will be done within this building as part of the SIRIUS Project, embodies all that we have come through as a people, moving through the times of slavery, the period of emancipation and independence.
“If you examine the period between independence and now we do not have a lot of years in there. It is a relatively short period of time. So we are still in the process of reconstruction and repositioning within the environment in which we really have to make decisions on our own and in our own interest.” The Minister of Youth Affairs disclosed that the innovation centre at the Spirit Bond will be one of three, with one in the north and one in the East to cover that area and the south.
“The idea is to look at existing systems which exist in Barbados and see how best we can learn from them. One of the successful models that we have looked at in Barbados is the Pinelands Creative Workshop. These innovations centres will develop and promote important aspects of innovation and they will do that by encouraging existing entities to refocus themselves into creative places of originality.
“We want to transition by means of this innovation centre into having an entity which is the corporate aspect of this project that will then market the outputs of the innovation centre. It is not enough to train and to think and meditate, but the reality of some of the issues that Barbados faces and young people face in particular have to do with what they do with their time. How do they translate their talent into earnings. As you know, you cannot do too much today without having some dollars in your pocket, but we want to move into commerce,” Lashley explained. (NC)