Fri | Dec 1, 2023

Plans unveiled for first poetry and music symposium

Published:Thursday | March 23, 2023 | 12:52 AMAaliyah Cunningham/Gleaner Writer
Poet, Yasus Afari, is the chief organiser of the inaugural staging of the Jamaica Poetry and Music Symposium.
Poet, Yasus Afari, is the chief organiser of the inaugural staging of the Jamaica Poetry and Music Symposium.

The inaugural staging of the Jamaica Poetry and Music Symposium is set for this Sunday at the Institute of Jamaica. This staging will be held under the theme ‘Taking Ownership and Responsibility – Transforming Lives, Shaping Our Future’, and according to chief organiser, poet Yasus Afari, plans are coming together well despite a few hurdles.

“There are challenges ... it takes a lot of time to be moving and folding, and to do the consultations to reflect and facilitate the production of the symposium, but it has been inspiring. People are generally welcoming and excited to be a part of something they consider to be necessary and to be timely, and that it has far-reaching impact and has helped to alleviate some of the challenges. We are well on track. There is no charge to attend the event on the 26th nor for lunch, but you have to go on the link and register,” he said.

Last Tuesday evening was the official presenters’ launch of the event, and on Sunday several creative industry insiders will come together in hopes of creating working solutions to problems that have been faced within the business. Among them are Winford Williams, Jerome Hamilton, Herbie Miller, Marcus Goffe, Cordel Green, Steppa, Ras Jaja, Dr Winsome Miller-Rowe, Joy Faircloth, Talia Powers, MC Teddy, GT Taylor, Coleen Douglas, Blakka Ellis, Dr Olive Senior, Maxine Stowe, as well as representatives from several involved bodies and schools.

Speaking with The Gleaner, Stowe said she was looking forward to the outcome from the discourse throughout the day.

“It is a very integrated group of personalities relating to the culture and creative industry. Not just music, but areas that do impact on the music. I am looking forward to sharing my experience of the business, internationally and locally, and getting feedback from the creative industry here in Jamaica, not just music, but the whole ecosystem,” she said.

“The objective of the symposium is to create a steering committee to look further on what comes out of the symposium, so that is my mindset. With the kind of players that are there, we are looking at carrying some solutions to some long-standing issues. It is really how we can benefit from huge influence impact and economy that is external to us,” Stowe added.

The symposium begins at 10 a.m. and features several sessions, including presentations and panel discussions. The symposium will also discuss the premise that “every song is a poem set to music” and wants to bring that to the forefront, with that art form being the central leading edge of the creative industries, which they aim to harmonise around and within the music of the people. Afari is also aiming to ensure that the messages and reasonings had at the event leave the venue and go out in a practical sense.

“It is a war room in the trenches to look at what is happening and challenge what is happening, and come up with a platform and solution for social justice and social advocacy. For our part, we try to ensure that things are true to purpose in terms of our goals and objectives. We want to have an exit poll and evaluation, and an impact assessment which can help to determine how we respond, what we have learnt, and how we stand up against the goals and objectives that we present,” Afari shared.