Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 1st 2015 Contents 6 UWI TODAY – SUNDAY 1ST FEBRUARY, 2015
University museums are common all over the world:
there are over 80 in the UK alone, for example. At Mona,
on the ground floor of the Vice Chancellery building, the
UWI Museum displays the University’s rich history – but,
inevitably, it’s mostly about the Jamaican campus.
Here at St. Augustine, our predecessor institution,
the Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture (ICTA), had
envisaged a museum from its very inception. Early floor
plans for the Administration Building included space for a
museum. Sadly, it never materialized, and to date we have no
Campus Museum, but the idea has always remained alive.
It was Deputy Principal Rhoda Reddock, while she
was head of the then Centre for Gender and Development
Studies, who took the initiative to get the ball rolling. Later,
as Deputy Principal, she took up the idea again and was
instrumental in setting up a working Museum Committee,
which reports to her. It’s chaired by Dr Glenroy Taitt of the
Alma Jordan Library and Mike Rutherford, who runs the
Zoology Museum, is deputy chair.
The principal – though not the only – purpose of the
proposed Campus Museum is to display and celebrate our
rich history: the history both of our geographical space,
and of the institutions which have found their home there.
First, in the 1800s, there was the St. Augustine sugar estate;
the Principal’s office building was the estate manager’s
house. Then the colonial government bought the estate and
established a demonstration farm and agricultural research
station. It donated the land for ICTA, which opened its
doors in 1922. And then, of course, with the merger of ICTA
and the University College of the West Indies in 1960, the
regional University established its second campus here.
Our Campus Museum will feature a permanent
exhibition illustrating the history and pre-history of UWI,
St Augustine. This will include documents, paintings and
photographs, but especially physical objects (artifacts), the
main feature of any museum.
We already have on campus several important museum-
like institutions and collections. There’s the National
Herbarium, which houses specimens of the plants (flora)
of Trinidad & Tobago collected over a period of nearly 200
years. The Zoology Museum in the Department of Life
Sciences is home to the Banwari Burial, the oldest human
remains found in the West Indies, and a rich collection of
animal specimens. The History Department’s Archaeology
Centre has many Amerindian artifacts, and the Eric
Williams Memorial Collection in the Library includes
MUSEUM COMES TO LIFE
BY BRIDGET BRERETON
photos and artifacts and the Doctor’s reconstructed study.
The Cocoa Research Centre manages an internationally
known cacao germplasm collection, the International Cocoa
So the foundations of a Campus Museum, which
could be multi-site, already exist. These collections are
highlighted in the Museums and Collections website which
was launched in 2013 – check out the campus home page
just after “Libraries”. In the absence of a physical museum,
the website is an important form of outreach.
The Museum Committee is working hard to develop
a historical collection: documents, but especially artifacts,
which illustrate the history of the campus. The first phase
included developing an acquisition or collecting policy
(what kinds of objects we want to collect) and starting
an inventory of objects already owned by UWI. Through
student assistants in the summer of 2013 and 2014,
inventories have been drawn up for several departments and
units, as well as a partial listing of works of art owned by the
campus. This work is ongoing, of course. Later, we will want
to solicit artifacts and memorabilia owned by individuals,
especially alumni and former staff – think of old ID cards,
hall menus, sports gear and so on.
Naturally, the aim is to digitize as much as possible, to
create a bank of digital images of interesting objects in the
historical collection. This has already started; one especially
fascinating object recently put online is the Visitor’s Book in
the Principal’s Office. Going back to the 1940s, it’s amazing
to see what a diverse collection of the Good and Great has
visited our campus!
Of course, the ultimate aim is to have a building, or part
of one, dedicated to the Campus Museum. One possibility
is to house the Museum in an existing, older structure,
perhaps dating from ICTA days (1922-60), so that the
building as well as the contents reflect our evolution. A
more ambitious (and expensive) dream is for a new, state
of the art structure.
In addition to the permanent exhibition on the history
of the campus, similar to the University Museum at Mona,
temporary displays might be mounted from time to time on
particular themes, to which the public and school groups
could be invited. An art gallery and temporary art exhibition
space would be a tremendous asset.
Of course, since this is a University Museum it should
contribute to our teaching and research programmes, just as
the National Herbarium and the Zoology Museum do now.
When the Department of History introduces its graduate
programme in Heritage Studies, it will find the Museum
a valuable asset to planned courses on museum studies,
heritage conservation and so on.
The Museum Committee wants to involve the campus
community in its work. If you own interesting things related
to the history of St Augustine, or if you know where such
objects (or documents or pictures) may be located, or if
you just want to help—please contact glenroy.taitt@sta.
uwi.edu or firstname.lastname@example.org. They would love
to hear from you!
Emerita Professor Bridget Brereton is a specialist in the
Some of the artifacts
unearthed so far at
the campus museum.
SUNDAY 1ST FEBRUARY, 2015 – UWI TODAY 19
but we need to work on showing that
We at the Faculty know what we have to
do and we accept that responsibility. But
it can’t just be up to us. The university has
of new positions, the importance of
something like philosophy, how these
things deepen, not just the Humanities,
but every other faculty in The UWI.
The space we occupy is important.
Staff working in the Humanities must
feel valued. Therefore there has to be
investment in the Faculty in terms of
human resources and the nature of the
JH: What kind of challenges do you
HC: I am practical. I’m a new dean. That is
always going to be a challenge. Two, I
am youngish. On a personal level I need
to find my space as dean. It’s one thing
to have people support you, the other
thing is that you have to deliver. I am
developing my own style of leadership.
I’m not confrontational. I don’t think it
helps anything. I think we have too much
confrontation and negativity. I have no
intention of joining that game. But I
have to develop my space; where you
are respected for the quality of what you
do and not how loud you speak or the
contacts you have. My approach is going
extremely hard. I intend to respect others
and I intend to focus on the issues and not
I have a former dean whose support is
there even though he is determined not
to interfere (laugh). I have my colleagues.
I don’t think I can do it all alone. I think
my biggest challenge is me (smile) in the
context of who I am in the deanship right
JH: At the end of your tenure, what would
you like your legacy to be? What is your
most ambitious vision?
HC: I would like every organisation and
institution in Trinidad and Tobago and
the region, when they are working on a
policy paper, you think “hold on, there
are relevant resources in Humanities
and Education”. I would like them to
understand what the faculty has to offer
things people enjoy and do casually.
We have significant contributions to our
society. At the end of it all I would like to
position this Faculty to be a major player
in the development of the university, T&T
and the region. That is what I would like
my legacy to be.
A whirlwind visit by His Excellency Takashi Uto,
Parliamentary Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs of
Japan, on January 10, resulted in an interesting and
promising conversation between members of his
delegation, which included His Excellency Yoshimasa
Tezuka, Ambassador of Japan, and UWI officials at the
St. Augustine campus.
The Vice Minister conveyed the interest of
the Government of Japan to encourage greater
collaboration in higher education with the Caribbean
and pointed to the Japan-CARICOM Friendship
Year (2014) as a basis for this. He issued an invitation
to all the UWI campus principals to visit Japanese
universities and it was agreed that further discussions
with the Japanese Ambassador would work out details
for these and reciprocal visits.
Along with Campus Registrar, Richard Saunders,
and Director of the Office of Institutional Advancement
and Internationalisation, Sharan Singh, were Deans
Indar Ramnarine, Brian Copeland, Isaac Bekele and
Haricharan Seetharaman (representing the Faculty of
His Excellency Takashi Uto, Parliamentary Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan presents a gift to Director of the Office of
Institutional Advancement and Internationalisation, Sharan Singh, while Campus Registrar, Richard Saunders looks on. The
UWI presented the Vice Minister with a steelpan replica during the brief visit to the campus on January 10.
The conversation touched on possible
collaborations in areas such as disaster preparedness
and management, science and technology, medical
technology, food (science, processing and technology)
and technology transfer (commercialization of IP).
Mr Singh indicated that it would be ultimately
desirable to see students and staff from Japan and
the Caribbean conducting visits, exchanges and
collaborations but that the universities need to begin
to develop institutional collaborations as the precursor
The Vice Minister also revealed that he has proposed
to the CARICOM Secretariat the establishment of a
Scholarship Fund for Caribbean students to study in
Japan. The Vice Minister’s entourage also included Mr.
Daisuke Ichikawa, Secretary to the Parliamentary Vice
Minister, Ms. Mika Suzuki, Political Adviser, Embassy
of Japan, Trinidad and Tobago and Mr. Jiro Kodera,
Translator. After their discussions, and an exchange
of gifts, the party was due to fly off to Panama and
JAPAN COMES CALLING
“it would be ultimately desirable to see students and
staff from Japan and the Caribbean conducting visits,
exchanges and collaborations”
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