Representing gender-based violence: literature, performance and activism in the Anglophone Caribbean

This is an international, collaborative research project funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council and running from September 2021 to May 2023. The Principal Investigator is Dr Lucy Evans and the Co-Investigators are Dr Gabrielle Hosein and Dr Sonjah Stanley Niaah. The Research Associates are Dr Kelsi Delaney and Mr Amílcar Sanatan. The partner organisations are Tribe Sankofa, the ROOTS Foundation, and Bocas Lit Fest

Presented by the WHO and the UN as a global public health crisis, gender-based violence (GBV) is particularly pervasive in Anglophone Caribbean countries, which have some of the highest rates of reported rape and femicide in the world. Homophobic and transphobic violence is also an urgent human rights issue in the region. GBV can be understood as any form of violence and abuse – physical, psychological or emotional – which is rooted in gender norms and power dynamics. It can be inflicted on women, girls, boys and men in a variety of contexts. This project has two overarching aims: to study how various forms of GBV are portrayed in contemporary fiction, poetry, drama, spoken word, and popular music, and to mobilise the use of these aesthetic forms as modes of activism against GBV.

Working with writers, spoken word poets, dancehall artists and performing arts collectives, the project team will engage young people in anti-GBV activism through the following initiatives: 

  • The publication of a fiction and poetry anthology containing commissioned work by writers from across the region
  • A workshop series in secondary schools in Jamaica where students will produce and record reggae and dancehall songs
  • A workshop series with youth groups in Trinidad where participants will produce and perform a spoken word play

Outputs will include a fiction and poetry anthology published by Peekash Press, a spoken word play with an integrated facilitation guide, a toolkit on performing arts approaches to GBV education, a journal special issue, and journal articles.

To find out more about this project, contact Lucy Evans.

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