ANANSE SOUNDSPLASH 2013 - festival report




Sponsors and Supporters

In 2013 Ananse SoundSplash secured the collaborative support of the Council of Community Colleges of Jamaica. Accordingly, the eight legs of the festival were hosted by selected colleges allowing the festival to be transported to rural locations thus facilitating greater reach and greater involvement of a wide cross-section of the Jamaican population. This outreach was strengthened by the participation of the Institute of Jamaica, IOJ, the Social Development Commission, SDC, and the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission, JCDC.

The British Council facilitated the participation of Kenyan/Scottish storyteller, Mara Menzies.

Financial contributions were received from First Global Bank, Bank of Nova Scotia.

Valuable contributions in kind were made by Rex Nettleford Hall, UWI, Lasco, Seprod, Kingston Graphics and the host colleges.

Content and Presenters

The festival manifested as a judicious combination of presentation of papers, discussions and performances reaching a high point with a gala dinner of Jamaican cuisine hosted by Moneague College.

Anchored by Festival Organiser, Amina Blackwood Meeks, high quality papers were presented by accomplished academics, lecturers, researchers and performers : Dr. Jean Small, Nicole Williams, Rosette Chisholm-Salazar and Elaine Oxamendi Vicet, Steve Russell and Kenneth Russell


Presenter Nicole Williams, second right, shares lens time with Mara, Amina and Marcia Nembhard, Lecturer and Head of Department, Moneague College. Photo below catches Ezekiel Russell enjoying his presentation




A total of 85 schools were represented by delegations at the various events of the festival.

In addition tertiary level delegations representing approximately 1800 students together with lecturers were fielded by Northern Caribbean University, Portmore Community College, Moneague College, Exed Community College and Montego Bay Community College.

Mara Menzies and Jamaican storytellers Yaa, Amina and Ras Carver at Duppy Story Night hosted by Exed Community College. At right, Jennifer Hewitt, Culture Agent of Oracabessa Primary School enjoys the opening ceremony at Portmore Community College in the company of the delegation from St. Andrew High School.


  • Rural/urban connections

Special encounters with the international storyteller were organised for select groups in order to ensure that her interaction with rural as well as urban populations. Mara performed for the entire student population at Village All Age School in St. Ann, a delegation representing all grades at Holland High School and representatives of seventeen schools from the Kingston metropolitan area at the Junior Centre of the Institute of Jamaica.

  • Boost to performing arts societies

The festival provided a boost to the performing arts societies of the Portmore and Montego Bay Community Colleges whose students performed at those legs including material created specially for the festival.

  • Enhanced research interest in social issues

.        The Exed Community College included the festival in the course-work for the semester requiring the students to research issues of homelessness and create original performance pieces demonstrating the findings of their research.

  • Deepened community links

Montego Bay Community College used the opportunity to engage and in some cases re-engage the community or writers, public speaking organisations and performers all of whom were represented as audience and performers at the leg hosted by the college.  Similarly, Moneague College realised a vision to work with the Social Development Commission to explore the contribution of Jamaican performance culture to academic achievements.

  • Social Development

The Social Development Commission has used the experience of their involvement with the festival in the parish of St. Ann to devise a programme for the improvement of literacy and ability with the English Language using storytelling and storytelling techniques. They have compiled a directory of storytellers in the parish.


The festival concluded on the following decisions:

  • MOU on ownership, copyright issues and responsibilities of organising partners to be developed
  • Committee established to develop teaching module on storytelling for Teachers Colleges
  • Accelerate storytelling clubs in schools
  • Partner with the Office of the Children’s Advocate for event to mark Universal Children’s Day
  • Petition Governor General to declare November 20 National Storytelling Day
  • Partner with PIOJ to promote storytelling as part of the Vision 2030 mission regarding an authentic Jamaican culture
  • Dates for next festival: Nov 19-23, 2014 and festival to honour Garvey’s contribution to cultural integrity as contribution to 2014 as the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Universal Negro Improvement Association
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