FRESH MILK Prepares to Launch the Colleen Lewis Reading Room Outreach Programme & Virtual Mapping Project

FRESH MILK is delighted to announce that, through support received from The Maria Holder Memorial Trust here in Barbados, we will soon be launching two major projects extremely dear to our hearts – the Colleen Lewis Reading Room Outreach Programme, and our Virtual Mapping Project.

CLRR poster revised

In an effort to cultivate discussions about the arts starting at a young age while engaging with the community, Fresh Milk will implement an outreach programme using the resources available in The Colleen Lewis Reading Room (CLRR). One of the many challenges faced by young creatives is, despite their artistic gifts, they often struggle when it comes to speaking and writing comprehensively about their work. This is a skill that would benefit immensely from reading, whether specifically arts oriented texts or even well written fiction; gaining an appreciation for articulate material is imperative to mastering one’s own practice.

Fresh Milk proposes to be the go-to point for refining these skills, beginning at CSEC level when children are expected to take their research and written abilities to a higher standard, all the way up to providing MA or PhD candidates with a deep pool of knowledge and unique material which they can draw upon. The Fresh Milk team will work with secondary school teachers in this area to construct a programme which will bring the students to Fresh Milk to show them the studio and reading room, letting them know that there is an environment available which can cater to their academic and creative needs.


Our second initiative, the Virtual Mapping Project, addresses the lack of available information about Caribbean arts at the formal, informal and educational levels. Fresh Milk sees value in developing a freely accessible, interactive online map of the Caribbean, which will clearly delineate the existing spaces for the arts in the region, from the nineteenth century up to the present time.

The region will be mapped to show all arts entities, listed with links to the websites of all the spaces, and maintained to keep all information current. This map will not only be a pivotal information hub and educational tool, but a place to form new bonds and to make connections among practitioners, not only in the Caribbean but worldwide.

The Fresh Milk mapping project will be an invaluable resource for students at secondary and tertiary institutions in Barbados, including those studying art at CXC CSEC and CAPE level, BCC Art Associate Degree and BFA programmes, and participants in the BA and MA Cultural Studies and Creative Arts degrees at the EBCCI, UWI Cave Hill Campus. This wealth of knowledge compiled into one easily accessible website means that students can have both historical and current data about Caribbean art at their fingertips, broadening their understanding and keeping up to date with the new, cutting edge work coming out of the region.

Virtual Map Flyer

Additionally, the Virtual Map will create opportunities for artists working in the region today and circulate their works and ideas to a global audience eager to know more about the region’s creative arena. Artists will have the chance to form an expansive network, informing them of what spaces – both formal and informal networks – exist in the region and which spaces they can potentially engage with. It opens up endless possibilities for artists, curators, collectors etc. in the Caribbean by giving them much needed exposure, as well as for those internationally, who will gain insight into a whole new market of quality work.

Fresh Milk seeks to create a more integrated and connected region by using the arts as a vehicle to create partnerships and build community. Many Caribbean islands have no idea what is happening with their neighbours in the creative arts, which hinders our overall growth in the region. The Virtual Map will promote unity and aid in the building of support systems – whether it be the English, Spanish, French or Dutch speaking Caribbean, we would like to make sure all information is communicated as efficiently as possible, and invite the world to see what is being made and to see the region as a critical space.

Fresh Milk is pleased to be the conduit between The Maria Holder Memorial Trust and the artistic community in Barbados and would like to thank them for their support, which allows Fresh Milk to continue supporting our nation’s youth and building capacity for artists in both the short and long term. This is why forming relationships with organizations with vested interest in expanding arts and culture becomes pivotal.

About The Maria Holder Memorial Trust:

The Maria Holder Memorial Trust was created in the memory of the late Maria Holder, a long-time resident of Barbados until her untimely passing in 2004.  The Trust, founded in 2007 by Christopher Holder and Chester Brewster, is dedicated to improving the lives of those in greatest need in Barbados and throughout the Caribbean.  The Trust’s mission is to contribute to the alleviation of poverty and to improve the quality of life of vulnerable people particularly in Barbados.  It seeks to enhance education, learning and training and advance the cultural and artistic expression of young people, and to alleviate the suffering of the sick, elderly, disabled or abused.  The trust principally works with programmes operated by government and registered NGOs or charities.

Versia Harris’ Residency – Week 3 Report

A visit to Workman’s Primary School as a part of my Community Outreach, kick started week three of my residency. I formulated a few questions and went with the intention of having a conversation with the students of class 4 about their thoughts and feelings on Disney films and characters, and also about the prominence of television in their daily lives. It was a first for me, interacting with that number of kids in that setting; I’m not very up to date on what the kids of today are like. However, they were surprisingly pleasant and very cooperative. In between the humor and fun that I had talking to these children, the answers to my questions were a mixture of the expected and unexpected. They gave me some insight into how they saw these films and how much they actually watched TV. Granted, this was only a class of about fifteen students, a number too small to be projected across the generation but they do watch a lot more TV than I did at that age. To them, watching TV was on par, if not more desired, with going outside to play. This relates to the concept of my animation about the push and pull between the physical world and the virtual one.

Later in the week Alicia Alleyne and Shanika Grimes came to the studio, along with my usual company of Katherine Kennedy. Even though each of us was set to our individual tasks and projects, I was glad for the company and the conversations. Sheena Rose and Mark King also came out to see my progress and to give feedback.

Through the laughter, the heated discussions and the dismantling of Annalee Davis’ work – which by the way took four people, two days and a lot of effort – this week also brought me some challenges with my work. Technological malfunctions are inevitable. But the despair of a program breakdown is magnified when it is your primary source of work. Obviously, working with technology for at least a year and half now, I expect it to malfunction or an important program to suddenly stop working, and yet after all this time it doesn’t get any less frustrating, especially when it hinders progress within the short period of time that I have. In any case all is restored and the animation continues.

Still from one of Versia's new animations