Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 5th 2015 Contents | PROFILES |
By Roslyn Carrington
RACHAEL COLLYMORE is a Publicist, certi-
fied events planner and entrepreneur. She's
the founding director at Power Media Hub
LLC.; her Non-Profit Organisation, Poetic
Vibes Arts Foundation, seeks to contribute to
the development of the arts in T&T and the
She recently returned from the inaugural
South North Griots Summit in Toronto,
Canada. The event brought together spoken
word artists, coordinators and presenters
from Canada, UK, USA, Brazil and the
Caribbean. Collymore was part of a panel dis-
cussing the promotion of spoken word and fu-
What is Poetic Vibes Art Foundation all
Poetic Vibes AF first started in 2007 as an on-
line networking hub for artists to express
themselves. Since then, we've been showcas-
ing up-and-coming talent, predominantly po-
etry, music and art, but we've also featured
photography. Hopefully, we can expand into
dance. We have put out two online publica-
tions and currently engage and network with
artisans around the world using social media.
Poetic Vibes AF's mission is to raise the level
of awareness of the arts through the produc-
tion of arts-focused events, artist develop-
mental projects and incentives and
What events have you done?
In 2010, we started an initiative called Syner-
gia: A fusion of Art, Jazz and Poetry. It's an on-
going series that happens every year, one or
two events which are geared towards expos-
ing new talent and up-and-coming artists in
an intimate setting. We've featured some of
T&T's prominent and rising stars, Nickolai Sal-
cedo (artist/singer), Vaughnette Bigford, Ruth
Osman, Russell Durity, Mikhail Salcedo and
the Salcedo Quintet, Dean Williams, Keegan
Maharaj, Freetown Collective, John John,
Janique Dennis, Derron Sandy, Aisha Perry,
Patrice Inglesbirth, Astar Bishop (artist),
Danielle Boodoo Fortune (artist), Shalini Singh
(artist), Cher Layne (artist), Dayo Bejide Trio,
Leel Bain, Brendon and Brandon O'Brien, Lee
Sanowar (artist), Nyla Singh (photographer),
Olivia Fern (photographer) and many more.
We are also the local coordinators for a global
event called 100,000 Poets for Change, which
was launched in 2011 by Michael Rothenberg
in California. This takes place annually on the
last Saturday in September.
Our local event is called 100,000 Artisans for
Change Trinidad and Tobago. We host it at
NALIS amphitheatre; we've already booked
the space. But this year I'm also looking at
other venues. We want to have a week-long
series of events.
What can the audience expect?
Each year we choose a theme that deals with
social, economic or environmental issues.
We've had people like Elspeth Duncan, Errol
Fabien (host), Jamie Thomas (host), Marsha
Pearce, JWave, Richard 'Solman' Solis, Rizon
and many talented artisans at 100TAFC. We
reach out to artists who have something to
say, and who are interested in making a dif-
ference. We are agents for change and want
to continue the conversation for change.
What are your other collaborations?
In 2012 we collaborated with Trinidad Theatre
Workshop for 100,000 Artisans for Change.
In 2013, we were invited by Roots Oral Tradi-
tions - Mtima Solwazi to collaborate on their
inaugural festival Cascadoo International Spo-
ken Word Festival. We coordinated the clos-
ing event, Voices Under The Trees at The
Normandie. The featured guests at Cascadoo
were the group "VOCAL" from Canada. This
year, VOCAL launched the South-North Griot
Summit in Toronto under the banner of
Northern Griots Network. We were invited to
participate in the inauguration.
Tell us about the summit
I presented on two panels, one on Spoken
Word Fusion, a discussion on the fusion of
spoken word with different forms of arts, and
the Presenters' Forum: a roundtable conver-
sation with international and national coordi-
nators of arts events and presenters. The
conversations tended to overlap, because you
can't talk about one area without talking
about another. We didn't know each other, but
our challenges --- developing the craft, getting
it out there, getting the right audience --- were
We talked about understanding our audience,
engaging them, and carrying the message for-
ward. What does it mean to the artist? What
does it mean to the audience?
What is your greatest challenge?
People still see the arts as a hobby, a feel-
good thing. It doesn't get the same respect as
another field, such as being a doctor or lawyer.
It's hard getting people to understand that
this is a valuable field to get into.
In Trinidad and Tobago we're growing, but the
industry needs to be developed. We need av-
enues for artists to work on their crafts; resi-
dency programmes, real investment; grants
that would enable the artist to take a sabbat-
ical to produce work and hone their skills.
What do you want to see happen?
We need to have more conversations. We
need to have these summits taking place in
other countries. We need people the likes of
Yasus Afari, who spearheads the Jamaica Po-
etry festival to come to Trinidad. He's our
neighbour and we haven't had that exchange
taking place. I had to go to Canada to meet
the gentleman, and the Canadians knew his
I met a woman called Kat Francois from the
UK; her roots are in the Caribbean. There were
many persons like that... people whose navel
strings are rooted in the Caribbean, even
though they are scattered in different parts
of the world.
What is your ultimate goal?
We have a lot of talented people in T&T. We
need to make people aware of what is going
on in the global space, what we can do here,
and what can happen. The time is now to get
people touring, open their minds, and see how
we can carry this conversation forward.
Poetic Vibes Arts Foundation can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on
Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/po-
etic.vibes. More info on Rachael can be
found at: http://about.me/rachaeln.colly-
Tanya, Yasus, Me.
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