Masquerade

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — The St. Kitts and Nevis Department of Culture will explore additional strategies to preserve and promote the intangible cultural heritage (ICH) of the Federation when it meets with research and documentation teams on January 27.

ICH is described as the practice, representation, expression, knowledge, or skill considered to be a part of a country’s cultural heritage. Local examples of ICH include the story of the Mansion Bull, the dance and chants of the Masquerades, the method of making mauby, and more.

Marlene Phillips, Research and Documentation Specialist in the Department of Culture is spearheading the activities to safeguard ICH. She noted that an ICH project was launched in April 2019. Seven teams were trained in November 2019, and dispatched in July 2020 to various communities to research, identify, and digitally document aspects of ICH. The teams comprised a coordinator, researcher, interviewer, and videographer/photographer. Documentation was done via audio and video recordings as well as photography.

The team members will meet with Ms. Phillips and others involved with the project on Wednesday at the Players Dining Room at the Warner Park Cricket Stadium. They will share their experiences out in the field and recommendations on the way forward.

“We want suggestions on how to improve the process. We hope that the meeting will inform us where more training is necessary and we’ll also be discussing the future of the Secretariat,” said Ms. Phillip.

The participants who will attend the meeting will also discuss ideas to share their findings with the public during a seminar slated for February 2021.

Ms. Phillips said that the ICH project goes to the heart of what makes St. Kitts and Nevis and its people unique.

“The intangible part of our lives is our identity,” said Ms. Phillips. “It shapes the society, who the people are. If the elders or the people in the community, who are keeping it ICH alive decide to stop, then your culture is lost. So to safeguard, we need to identify what these beloved traditions are, see if they are in danger of becoming extinct, and discuss with the tradition bearers how we can pass it on to the next generation by involving them in the whole process.”