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Suzanne Burke Bio

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Suzanne Burke is a Lecturer in Cultural Studies attached to the Department of Literary, Communication and Cultural Studies, UWI, St. Augustine.

She was formally trained in the areas of Psychology (B.A. - York University, Canada), Development Studies (M.A. Cum Laude - ISS, Netherlands), and Sociology (PhD - Essex University, UK).

Her research focuses on Caribbean culture, carnival, cultural industries and creative entrepreneurship as these relate to the development and evaluation of cultural policies and programmes.

She has worked extensively with a wide cross section of public sector enterprises, civil society organisations and private agencies in the areas of strategic planning, policy analysis, cultural industry development and audience research within and outside of the Caribbean.

In 2014 she conducted the first Cultural Mapping Exercise of Trinidad and Tobago for the Ministry of Arts and Multiculturalism that is currently being used to develop programming and policy in the sector. She has also worked with a variety of state actors to formulate policies aimed at growing the creative industry sector. She has studied and written various reports on the governance, and socio-economic impact of the Trinidad Carnival Complex for at least twenty years.

Her latest research examines the efficacy of creative clustering as a strategy for developing the creative economy and fostering innovation within communities of practice in the cultural sector. This research was the focus of her award of a Commonwealth Fellowship that was completed at City University, London in 2016.

This year she was part of the Technical Working Group that assisted in the formulation of the Draft National Cultural Policy of Trinidad and Tobago – Creating Pathways to Cultural Confidence.

She has supervised students at the MA, MPhil and PhD levels in a variety of research areas including festivals, creative entrepreneurship, popular culture, gender performativity in carnival and nostalgia and memory in the popular cultural domain.

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Sandra Vivas Bio

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Sandra Vivas was born in Caracas, where she earned her BFA from Universidad Central de Venezuela, later she completed a Master of Fine Arts from the San Francisco Art Institute. Vivas is a video and performance artist with strong conceptual influences, questioning clichés about identity and the structure of power in relationships. Vivas works with multiple medias: including drawing, painting, video, live performances and most recently film. Vivas has been living in Dominica, West Indies since 2009 and her work has been part of the Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival in 2015, 2016 and 2017.  After Hurricane Maria in September 2017, Vivas moved temporarily to Barbados

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Miguel A. López Bio

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Miguel A. López (Lima, 1983). Writer, researcher, and Co-Director and Chief Curator of TEOR/éTica in San José, Costa Rica. His work investigates collaborative dynamics and feminist re-articulations of art and culture in recent decades. He has published in periodicals such as Afterall, ramona, E-flux Journal, Art in America, Art Journal, Manifesta Journal, Journal of Visual Culture, among others. He has recently curated “The Words of Others: León Ferrari and Rhetoric in Times of War” (with Ruth Estévez and Agustín Díez Fischer), Los Angeles, REDCAT,2017; “Balance and collapse. Patricia Belli, Works 1986-2016” at TEOR/éTica and Fundación Ortiz Gurdián 2016-2017; “Teresa Burga. Structures of Air” (with Agustín Pérez Rubio) at the MALBA, Buenos Aires, 2015; and the project “God is Queer” for the 31th Bienal de São Paulo (2014). In 2016 he was recipient of the Independent Vision Curatorial Award from ICI, New York.

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Lise Ragbir Bio

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Lise Ragbir is a writer and arts-administrator who brings nearly twenty years of cultural management experience to her role as Director of The Art Galleries at Black Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. Her journey has taken her from the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art, to the United Nations, to a renowned Swiss corporate collection, to the most notable collection of public art in the state of Texas. From her work as a grant-maker with the Wallace Foundation to her work with museums and community-based cultural organizations, her experience spans public, private, for-profit and non-profit cultural initiatives. She holds a BFA in Art History and Studio Art from Concordia University in Montreal, and completed her graduate work in Museum Studies at Harvard University. Her essays about immigration, identity and social-justice have appeared in the Guardian, Time Magazine, Hyperallergic and USA Today, among other outlets.Her short fiction has appeared in Intellect Journal. In 2017 she received Jack Jones Literary Art’s Tiphanie Yanique Fellowship. In 2015 was invited to Callaloo Journal’s Creative Writing Workshop in Barbados. She is first-generation Canadian of Trinidadian-descent, and lives in Austin, Texas.

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Erica Moiah James Bio

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Erica Moiah James is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Art and Art History at The University of Miami.  Before arriving in Miami she taught at Yale University was the founding Director and Chief Curator of the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB). Publications include, Speaking in Tongues: Metapictures and the Discourse of Violence in Caribbean Art (Small Axe, 2012); Dreams of Utopia: Sustaining Art Institutions in the Transnational Caribbean(Open Arts Journal, 2016) (Manchester UP 2017); Every Nigger is A Star: (1974) Re-imaging Blackness from Post Civil Rights America to the Post Independence Caribbean (Black Camera, 2016) and Crisis of Faith: Charles White’s J’Accuse! (1966) and the Limits of Universal Blackness (AAAJ, 2016). She recently coedited a special issue of Small Axe Journal entitled ‘Art as Caribbean Feminist Practice’ (March 2017).  Curatorial projects and essays includeReincarnation: R Brent Malone a Retrospective, NAGB, 2015;  "Sunsplash" for the exhibition Nari Ward: Sunsplash (Perez Art Museum Miami, 2015);Caribbean Queer Visualities (Belfast 2016 and Glasgow, 2017) and "Graham Fagen: Opus V" for the exhibition Graham Fagen: The Slave's Lament (Galerie de L'Uquam,  Université du Québec à Montréal, 2017). Her forthcoming book is entitled After Caliban: Caribbean Art in the Global Imaginary.

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Clara Reyes Bio

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Clara Reyes, born on Curaçao, and raised on the island of St. Maarten has always been immersed in the world of the arts and culture. Guided from the age of three by a dedicated and committed mother.

Many years of training, exposure and immersion into creative arts expression in its myriad forms; including, but not limited to the visual and performing arts, photography, film, musicals, drama and storytelling, and love for history and culture has propelled Ms. Reyes to make the arts her calling.

Ms. Reyes holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Dance and Choreography with specialization in dance in education ages K through 12 grades. She considers herself a Griot and cultural worker and has done much research into St. Maarten’s traditional dance forms and culture, including resurrecting the Ponum Dance, danced at emancipation Day 1848 on Sweet S’ Maatin Land Ms. Reyes is a certified Somatic movement’s practitioner, Yoga instructor, holds a Diploma in Dance Theatre Production from Edna Manley College for Visual and Performing Arts in Jamaica, is a former student at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Merce Cunningham Dance Studio, and was a teacher, choreographer and performing artist with Committed Artist in South Africa.

Ms. Reyes career includes being head of Department of Creative Artistic Formation at the St. Maarten Academy Vocational Section, teacher at St. Maarten Academy, Academic Section, part-time lecturer of Humanities at the University of St. Maarten, part time dance instructor at University of Rochester, Performing Arts /Dance Instructor at the Learning Unlimited Preparatory School, teacher at The Charlotte Brookson Academy for the Performance Arts and Examiner for theatre arts for the Caribbean examination council (CXC)

Ms. Reyes works diligently to expose her audience, and students to the world of the arts and artistry. The arts offer healing, transformation and wholeness that enables us to find deeper meaning and richness in our existence. Ms. Reyes is Co-founder and former Director at the National Institute of Arts and is today the newly appointed Head of Department of Culture.

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