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Panel Discussion Aims to Explore Art, Culture, Activism, and Media Literacy With V.I. Podcasters and Creators

Six Virgin Islands content creators will take part in a panel discussion via Zoom Sunday. (Submitted flyer)

The Virgin Islands Caribbean Cultural Center, which is housed in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at the University of the Virgin Islands, presents a virtual panel titled “For Deh Culture: Exploring Art, Culture, Activism, and Media Literacy with Virgin Islands Podcasters and Creators.”

The discussion is scheduled for Sunday at 3:00 p.m. and will take place online via Zoom.

Hadiya Sewer, director of the Virgin Islands Caribbean Cultural Center, believes that there is much to be learned from Virgin Islands’ media, content creators, culture bearers, and artists who use their platforms to steward dialogue about Virgin Islands culture and history.

“There are multiple ways that I approached the curation of this event. I wanted to ask critical questions about the role that Virgin Islands women play in curating and stewarding digital resources on Virgin Islands history and culture. Given that the United States Virgin Islands is a predominantly Black territory, this panel gives us a pathway for exploring our relationship to our history and Black History more broadly. How can we explore the ways Virgin Islanders are leveraging social media and other digital platforms to preserve our history and culture, engage in critical dialogue about current events, and share knowledge,” Sewer said.

“I specifically honed in on podcasts, art, digital landscapes, and the social media angle because in the Virgin Islands our cultural heritage resources are particularly vulnerable to climate change. We are a climate precarious space. Digitization and online platforms offer us an avenue to preserve invaluable information for audiences that may not have access to tangible archives or other information that’s gatekept,” she said

Sewer sees a movement taking foot among the millennials and younger generations in our community who are working together to carry our culture forward. “I believe a lot of V.I. creatives, podcasters, artists, scholars, and influencers are doing incredible work to celebrate, preserve, and transmit knowledge about our culture, and in doing so, they are making Caribbean cultural studies more accessible, familiar, and even entertaining for present and future generations. They are also carving out and claiming Virgin Islanders’ space in global currents and digital networks. This helps us to understand the role our territory plays in transnational history and cultural formations. I wanted to have a conversation that highlighted the ways in which young Virgin Islanders discover and disseminate information about our identities, histories, cultures, and politics”, said Sewer.

Six content creators who have made a sizable impact on the social media landscape of the Virgin Islands were selected to participate on the panel, including Deidre Ritter and Jeaiza Quinones Ivory of the “Good Up Podcast,” Gabrielle Querrard and Paulina Creque of the “Caribbean Mystics Podcast,” Kyra James of the social media platform “Kickin It VI”, and Stephanie Chalana Brown who uses her Facebook and Instagram pages to document and explore various cultural and historical facets of the Virgin Islands.

“I think it’s important that young Virgin Islanders see and celebrate people who look like them that are doing the work of being creatives, stewarding our history, directing and producing media. It’s important that we make the effort to collectively celebrate and articulate the contemporary work that members of our community are doing. Many of these platforms cover pertinent events and issues: Caribbean spirituality, archival practices, as well as the visual arts and material culture. The goal in curating this panel was to highlight podcasts and creative platforms that are making a splash in the Virgin Islands’ cultural tapestry, while exploring, documenting, and asking critical questions about our culture, history, and who we are as a people,” she said.

The public is invited to attend this upcoming panel discussion that will be held virtually on Zoom. Click here to access the link

For questions or comments, Hadiya Sewer can be emailed directly at hadiya.sewer@uvi.edu.

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