Fresh Milk Mural Project at St. George Primary School by Evan Avery

Fresh Milk was very excited to have the opportunity to carry out this community mural project on the water tower at St. George Primary School in Barbados! Barbadian artist Evan Avery has beautified the school with his original characters, which were co-designed with input from some of the Class 4 students.

Thanks so much to Shell Western Supply & Trading Ltd. for their sponsorship, and to Infra Equipment Rentals Ltd. for generously donating the scaffolding for the project!

Kraig Yearwood’s Residency – Final Blog Post

Barbadian artist Kraig Yearwood shares his final blog post about his Fresh Milk ‘My Time’ Local Residency 2017, which took place during March this year. Kraig gives an overview of the residency and final thoughts on the experience, including the workshop he held with Class 3 students at Workmans Primary School, and his participation in our public event FRESH MILK XX, which took place on May 9, 2017. Read more below:

A view of the Colleen Lewis Reading Room as well as a few of my reading materials

The Lost Blog

Okay, the title is a bit of a misnomer – I guess it’d be more accurate to say that life got in the way of writing this final blog post.

Once again, I can’t believe how time flies. As I cast my mind back to when I started the My Time Residency, it’s strange to imagine that my 1st week at Fresh Milk seemed to drag on endlessly and I was in a constant battle with myself about not doing enough. This was despite my using this week to work on possible directions as well as researching some of the materials I was hoping to work with.

A few of the experimental pieces which were made during the 2nd week of my residency

I’ve stated previously, on commencement of my residency, that I had no solid ideas other than I’d known I’d wished to play with materials I’d never used before and also wanted to explore the use of collected trash items. As I got deeper into my stay, I started to focus on exploring themes of materialism, mass production, excess and what we leave behind.

Knowing that I still had to develop ideas for the social outreach component of the residency, I decided to create an environmental awareness programme which would be geared towards primary school students. The aim of this workshop was to educate the children on the importance of proper waste disposal, drawing attention to local and global environmental issues, community activism and the importance of teamwork in tackling such issues. Workmans Primary was selected mainly due to having a very limited arts programme as well as the existing relationship between the school and the residency platform. The workshop began with a with video presentation focusing on environmental awareness and recycling tips, and was followed by a question and answer segment. The children were then split into groups where they were invited to colour and collage bits of trash items on to a poster which was illustrated by myself, depicting an appropriate method of waste disposal as well as the consequences of litter. To conclude, the class was given a smaller version of the poster to take home, as well as a handout which included interesting facts on the environment and a small activities section.

The poster for the “This! Not This” campaign

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FRESH MILK XX Event

On Tuesday May 9th I wrapped up my time at Fresh Milk with a showing of the work made or conceptualised during this stint, as well as participating in a Q & A with international curator Pamela Lee. Pamela also delivered an eye opening presentation on the connections between the areas of Art and Science. This well attended event was brilliantly capped off by the then current resident, US-based poet drea brown, who spoke on her residency experiences which was followed by an engaging poetry reading.

Although this might be the 1st time that I’ve perhaps failed to complete a body of work, I do believe that the Fresh Milk platform has provided me with an invaluable experience. It has allowed me some much needed time to focus on making artwork, experiment and introduce new materials into my practice in a new and supportive environment.

Much thanks to Annalee Davis and Katherine Kennedy.

Dorothea Smartt’s Residency – Final Blog Post

British-Barbadian poet and live artist Dorothea Smartt, who was in residence with Fresh Milk in November-December 2016, led a workshop on poetry and free writing with Class 4 students at St. George Primary School on January 16, 2017. Read more from Dorothea about this experience below. Thanks so much to the staff at St. George Primary for allowing us to host the session, and to the bright and enthusiastic children for embracing it!

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After a return to London to take care of pressing domestics, I reconnected with Fresh Milk in January. We had a good meeting with local St George Primary School in December. Katherine at Fresh Milk followed through, and we were given a date, Monday January 16, to hold an 80 minute session with some of the students.

We met the head teacher before going to the class. A junior class of curious boys and girls greeted us formally, after a brief introduction from their welcoming class teacher. Katherine introduced me as a Fresh Milk International Artist in Residence. I talked a little with the pupils about myself and being a poet.

The class took part in a discussion on people leaving Barbados to go to work building the Panama Canal. I drew a rough map of the Caribbean, and they joined in identifying where Panama was. Some pupils, one boy in particular shared about great grandparents who’d gone to Panama. Some pupils were hearing about it for the first time.

I read them one of the poems about Panama that spoke of some of the men who died. And we spoke about the dangerous working conditions people endured. I guided the pupils in a free-writing exercise with a prompt: ‘In those days…” and they wrote for 3mins. They responded with enthusiasm.

To follow I shared five old black and white photos of the Caribbean. These were from a learning resource pack produced by the (British) National Archive. The pupils worked in five groups with a photo each. First they discussed the image and were asked to imagine how they might relate to Panama workers. For example, they imagined a banana worker was harvesting food for the workers; a large drawing room, a place where bosses would have gathered to relax; and an image of a hut with a canoe outside a place where a worker may have lived and fished for food.

Then each pupil wrote a short poem drawing on our discussion, their free-writes and the photos. We had time to hear some of the pieces produced, which were full of imagination and insight.

I really enjoyed meeting these pupils, they were keen and interested. Their input, questions, and writing added to my own imagination, especially when it came to what the workers would have eaten! Hopefully my workshop is the start of an on-going relationship with Fresh Milk – as they have plans to work with this class on a future project!

I had hoped to connect with the group in Panama again, and present something of my work and process. Time, internet and availability of space weren’t able to come together and after a discussion with Katherine/Fresh Milk, I let this go.

On this residency, the space, time to focus and reflect, discussions with Bajans and others, and the events I attended have enhanced me. I feel encouraged and affirmed on my journey with this research and the poems I written. There’s more to unfold and write, and this residency has definitely resourced me to carry on.

Maferefun Egun. Maferefun Orisha.

Brass Tacks: A Workshop on the Nuts & Bolts of Building a Writing Life by Naomi Jackson

Brass Tacks: A Workshop on the Nuts & Bolts of Building a Writing Life is an afternoon session which will be hosted by writer Naomi Jackson at Fresh Milk on Saturday, July 16, 2016 from 2-5 pm. Naomi will lead participants in conversations and activities designed to help refine their writing goals, support the creation of productive and satisfying writing lives and address the commercial aspects of breaking into the business.

Brass Tacks_Naomi Jackson Flyer

Some topics to be addressed include:

✔ Setting and achieving goals for your writing
✔ Developing writing routines
✔ Preparing writing submissions (i.e., drafting query letters)
✔ Approaching potential editors, agents, and/or publishers
✔ Building a community of support and trusted readers to advance your work

To register, please send a letter of interest to freshmilkbarbados@gmail.com. This one-page statement must outline your current writing projects, your short and long term writing goals, and why you wish to participate in this programme.

There will be an attendance fee of $15.00 BBD, and spaces will be limited to 12 participants.

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About Naomi:

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Photo credit: Lola Flash

Naomi Jackson is author of The Star Side of Bird Hill, published by Penguin Press in June 2015. The Star Side of Bird Hill was nominated for an NAACP Image Award and longlisted for the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Prize as well as the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize. It was also selected for the American Booksellers Association’s Indies Introduce and Indies Next List programs. The book has been reviewed in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Kirkus Reviews, NPR.org and Entertainment Weekly, which called Star Side “a gem of a book.” Publishers Weekly named Jackson a Fall 2015 Writer to Watch.

Jackson studied fiction at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She traveled to South Africa on a Fulbright scholarship, where she received an M.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Cape Town. A graduate of Williams College, her work has appeared in literary journals and magazines in the United States and abroad. She is the recipient of residencies and fellowships from the Kelly Writers House, Hedgebrook, Vermont Studio Center, and the Camargo Foundation.

Jackson has taught at the University of Iowa, University of Pennsylvania, and The City College of New York. She is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Oberlin College for spring 2016 and will be Visiting Writer at Amherst College beginning in fall 2016. Jackson was born and raised in Brooklyn by West Indian parents.