Thinking Spaces, “Improvisation, Plantation Societies and Difficult Conversations” is presented by Marsha Hinds Myrie, and takes place Wednesday, March 29 at 2pm ET. The talk includes a presentation followed by a guided Q&A and conversation period.
Marsha will present a brief overview of literature about the plantation society and the presentation of social injustice as a remnant of plantation and post coloniality. She will be joined virtually by Barbadian film producer, Russell Watson, to discuss the question of using art as an advocacy tool. The presentation will conclude with a closer analysis of the activist theatre run by the National Organization of Women for its successes and possibilities.
This talk takes place in-person in MacKinnon room 103, University of Guelph. Registration is required to attend. Sign up now!
The stated purpose of the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation is “…to create positive social change through the confluence of improvisational arts, innovative scholarship, and collaborative action.” The purpose of this talk is to invite partnership and mutual sharing in Critical Studies in Improvisation to imagine uses and expansion in plantation societies. Using art to confront complicated social issues is a long accepted and well received practice in plantation societies. Drumming, calypso, reggae music and parodies have been used by populations where other forms of expression such as newspapers and even social media are heavily policed to control dissent or calls for justice.
In 2018, just before the global COVID pandemic the National Organization of Women of Barbados reactivated the connection between women’s social justice organizing and art – specifically theatre. The practice of using theatre to focus and engage women themselves and the general public has been in vogue since the 1970s when the Women’s collective, Sistren was formed in Jamaica. By putting Critical Studies in Improvisation in conversation with the Caribbean women’s organizing strategies I hope to encourage both groups to continue to think about the importance of their work specifically for modern day plantation societies.
Marsha Hinds Myrie’s life and work are an embodiment of dualities and intersections. She is a Barbadian/Canadian citizen with an ancestral, cultural and intellectual home in Africa. Her career unfolds, sometimes spectacularly and sometimes confusingly at the intersections of activism and education with research being a forced endeavour to maintain the grace of the academy.
Hinds Myrie is President’s Gender Equity Committee postdoctoral fellow with a focus on women’s leadership at the University of Guelph and the immediate past president of the National Organization of Women of Barbados. She spent 22 years developing an advocacy model to address the issues of underprivileged groups of women in Barbados and the Commonwealth Caribbean. The major focus of the work is to develop and encourage the use of victim defined services for women and girls affected by various types of gender-based violence while at the same time removing the burden of eradicating violence from women and victims by forcing a stronger lobby in policy spaces.
The philosophical mooring for Marsha’s interaction with equity work come partly out of her PhD research which focused on the ways in which political and cultural experiences shaped the development and creation of intellectual spaces and intellectual thought in Commonwealth Caribbean tertiary institutions. The epistemological valleys that create disciplines in the Western academy are still immensely uncomfortable for Hinds Myrie but if forced she would classify her work as womanism, Black Studies, philosophy as praxis and intellectual history.
Marsha is mother to four biological children, godmother to one amazing godbaby and aunty to scores others.