What is Caribbean Yard Campus?
Caribbean Yard Campus is an educational enterprise that is designed to network traditional knowledge systems in the Caribbean.
The great cultural diversity of the Caribbean has bequeathed to its people ways of being, seeing, knowing and doing that are informed by places of origin, historic conditions of arrival in the Caribbean and encounters with other cultures in this space. This body of experience, know-how, wisdom and values constitutes ‘traditional knowledge’ which has shaped the people and cultures of the region.
Traditional knowledge, though often unaccredited in formal education, exerts a powerful influence on modern Caribbean society including on the formal, western education system itself, with which it sometimes comes into conflict. Mass access to formal education, it should be noted, is a relatively recent experience, dating less than fifty years.
The organising agency for traditional knowledge is the communal ‘yard’.
In the movement of peoples throughout the Americas, the Yard has been at the core of a lifelong learning space – from womb to wake – and represents, therefore, a valuable repository of traditional knowledge which, if tapped, could contribute significantly to a culturally coherent path for Caribbean development .
By creating intersections between traditional knowledge systems/experts and academic workers, Caribbean Yard Campus aims to produce culturally relevant approaches to development challenges in the region. This interface involves areas of educational content, methodology, ownership, authority and ultimately, empowerment in a knowledge-based society.
This endeavour is premised on the following:
- Rich resources of traditional knowledge, creativity, diversity and intellect abound in community spaces recognised as “Yards”;
- These resources are largely absent from development plans for the region;
- Sources of traditional knowledge are threatened with extinction through neglect, migration, lack of documentation and natural demise;
- Traditional knowledge resources are critical to the development of human and technological capacities in the region;
- The release of these resources is central to promoting popular empowerment in a ‘knowledge economy’.
- The strengthening of linkages between yards across the Caribbean will serve to create a coherent Caribbean-wide system of traditional knowledge in which individual communities become stronger and more viable.
Cultural Education from Traditional Communities
At its initial level, Caribbean Yard Campus will be a network of existing programmes in cultural education based in, and run by, traditional communities and their institutions around the Caribbean region. To these existing educational programmes, Caribbean Yard Campus offers:
- Academic content and structure – Caribbean history, politics, art and culture, economics – face-to-face or online delivery
- Intellectual property guidance
- Programme management support – promotion, profitability, administration , inter-institutional linkages
- Resource building – e.g. on-line libraries, teaching material, product development
- Intra-regional networking and resource-sharing
- Extra-regional relations
- Representation and advocacy
At the innovative level, Caribbean Yard Campus will plant new programmes using relevant indigenous technologies, community structures and values to create intersections or ‘crossroads’ for development in any aspect of Caribbean life. All new programmes are approved by a regional Council of Campus Elders.
A Yard Campus Assignment/Pedagogy
- Utilizes indigenous/traditional technologies
- Intersects indigenous and contemporary technologies
- Is project-based with multi-levelled and multi-disciplinary engagements: learning by doing/making
- Is integrated with community, owned by community, responsible to community, tested by community, gives back to community: learning by being/belonging.