Fresh Milk is a place for visual artists, writers,
thinkers & makers
What is FRESH MILK?
Fresh Milk supports excellence in the visual arts through residencies and programmes that provide Caribbean artists with opportunities for development and foster a thriving art community
To nurture, empower and connect Caribbean artists, raise regional awareness about contemporary arts and provide global opportunities for growth, excellence and success
Tag-line: Critical. Creative. Fresh.
The idea for Fresh Milk developed over years of conversations around the need for artistic engagement among artists in Barbados, to strengthen regional and diasporic links and shape new relationships globally. The platform was established in 2011 as a social practice experiment to counter the nearly 100% attrition rate of BFA students at Barbados Community College, the only institution on the island offering a BFA programme.
The Fresh Milk studio is located on a working dairy farm; the name ‘Fresh Milk’ also references the idea of nurturing, as the platform is committed to the healthy growth of contemporary arts & culture in the region. By offering a safe space for people to innovate, gather, and create, Fresh Milk moves against the Caribbean’s traumatic history as a platform of excellence and diversity.
Fresh Milk spans creative disciplines, generations, and linguistic territories in the Caribbean by functioning as a “cultural lab,” a dynamic space for artists through local, regional, and international programming including: residencies, lectures, screenings, workshops, conferences, exhibitions projects, etc. We aspire to be a sustainable organization contributing to a healthy cultural ecosystem.
What We Offer:
One of Fresh Milk’s main offerings between 2013 and 2019 has been an internationally approved micro-residency programme, in which artists are invited to apply for studio space in an idyllic, rural location. They are given the opportunity to focus solely on their creative practice, usually for one month. While some artist-in-residence programmes accommodate large numbers of artists at any given time, part of the value of the Fresh Milk programme is the intimacy of its smaller scale, allowing each experience to be tailored to the specific needs of the artists and for a lasting, genuine connection to be created between the members of the organization and those who participate – forming a community of artists working within the Caribbean and across the world.
From 2020, Fresh Milk aims to transition its onsite residency programme to a collaboration with local off-site partners, maintaining its self directed model. This will give Barbadian artists a quality, uninterrupted chance to research and work in a specially designated location for at least one month, increasing their chances of onward creative and professional development.
Caribbean Linked is a three-week long regional residency and exhibition organised by Ateliers ’89 Foundation, Aruba in collaboration with Fresh Milk, Barbados and ARC Magazine, St. Vincent & The Grenadines. This biennial programme connects artists and disparate creative communities across the English, Spanish, French and Dutch speaking Caribbean islands. The programme has been key for fostering cross-cultural collaboration and building intraregional solidarity.
Tilting Axis is an annual 3-day conference founded by Fresh Milk and ARC Magazine and led by an international core team of cultural practitioners. Since 2015, its purpose is to explore the current state of art in the Caribbean, fortify networks, increase administrative and programming capacity, and transfer knowledge and funding opportunities to those working in the region. It has been hosted in Barbados (2015), Miami (2016), the Cayman Islands (2017), the Dominican Republic (2018) and Guadeloupe (2019). The 2020 iteration was to be hosted in The Bahamas but was canceled due to the devastating impact of Hurricane Dorian. Tilting Axis also supports a fellowship programme which offers opportunities to emerging curators based in the Caribbean in partnership to date with institutional partners across the Caribbean, the UK, The Netherlands and the USA.
TVE is a biennial film and video art exhibition project launched in 2015 which aims to connect cultures through video and new media work. It is a biannual international film screening and digital exhibition that fosters new cross-cultural connections, aiming to negotiate the in-between space of cultural communities. The focus is outside of traditional geo-political zones of encounter and trade, contributing to social cohesion and enhanced cultural understanding, which become ever more necessary in an increasingly globalised world, and in the face of xenophobia and threats to close our borders.
Ongoing Special Projects that aim to increase the visibility of Caribbean artists and arts practitioners in local publics and international arts communities, including:
- Caribbean Art Map
- The Colleen Lewis Reading Room
- Public Art Installations
- Public Awareness Building
History of the Site:
The island of Barbados and the wider Caribbean share a loaded, complex history, which can be traced from its original Amerindian inhabitants, through colonial times to its present day reality. Fresh Milk recognizes and respects Indigenous peoples as the traditional stewards of this land. Prior to the arrival of the colonial settlers, the island was named Ichirouganaim by the indigenous people of the Eastern Caribbean, the Kalinago.
Fresh Milk is situated in the parish of St. George and on the eastern end of its boundary sits a gully where sherds were found by a visiting archaeologist, Dr. Matthew Reilly in 2019. These sherds are part of what archaeologists have called the Suazoid tradition a period which dates roughly from 1000 to 1450 according to ceramic typologies taking the story of this site back to an earlier time.
Though descendants of the original inhabitants are no longer in Barbados, there are recognized indigenous communities that have been here for over 100 years who identify as both Barbadian and Amerindian.
Fresh Milk also operates out of a former seventeenth-century sugar plantation, a relic of the transatlantic slave trade during which the island was colonised by British settlers. From the 16th-19th centuries, European slave traders bought and enslaved peoples mainly from Central and West Africa, transporting them to the Americas via the triangular trade route and its Middle Passage. Fresh Milk acknowledges the inhumane atrocities that occurred throughout the 400 years of slavery, as well as the lasting impacts of colonisation that Barbados and the Caribbean continue to reckon with in present day.
The work we do as a site of nurturing and creativity aims to shift the kind of activity that happens in this historically loaded location by fostering an open, critical environment that encourages self-reflection, deeper understanding and transformative action in the arts and beyond.
firstname.lastname@example.org / +1-246-230-8897
Visiting: By appointment, please email email@example.com to schedule time at the studio or in the Colleen Lewis Reading Room
Directions to FRESH MILK:
FRESH MILK is located on a wooden deck at the Milking Parlour Studio in St. George, Barbados.
Directions to Fresh Milk from St. George Parish Church:
– After the church, make the right turn around the large pasture and follow the road, continuing past St. George Primary School which will be on your right
If traveling by public transportation, take a Greens, Ellerton or Drax Hall bus, which will take you to the nearest bus stop by St. George’s Primary School. When you get off, walk up the road until you see our FRESH MILK ARTBOARD and take the left turn there. Follow this road until you see the ‘Walkers Dairy’ sign, then follow the directions listed above.