Grange Commits to Using Audio-Visual Technology to Preserve Jamaica’s Heritage and Cultural Memory

Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Hon. Olivia Grange has given the commitment of her ministry and the Government of Jamaica to working with a wide swathe of stakeholders and collaborators to expand and enhance the creation, use and preservation of audio-visual content in Jamaica.

“We also commit to ensuring that those professionals and institutions whose remit is the preservation of our audio-visual heritage, receive the resources and recognition due to them to ensure that our audio-visual heritage is protected, preserved and promoted for the benefit of our people, including generations yet unborn,” said Minister Grange. 

Grange Commits to Using Audio-visual Technology to Preserve Jamaica's Heritage and Cultural Memory
The Minister of Culture, Gender Entertainment and Sport, Honourable Olivia Grange (centre) and Chairman of the Jamaica Festival Song Committee, Orville Hill (far right) stand proudly with the top three winners of the 2020 Jamaica Festival Song Competition at the Competition’s Grand Final in July. The winners are Jamaican Reggae icon Buju Banton (left) who won the competition with his entry I am a Jamaican, Dancehall and Reggae veteran Papa Michigan (right) who placed second with Jamaica Dance and actress and musical newcomer and one of the competition’s only two female finalists Sakina Deer, who placed third with We are Jamaica. The competition took on a virtual edge this year due to challenges raised by the Covid-19 Pandemic.

She was addressing the World Day for Audio-visual Heritage 2020 International Conference held virtually, yesterday, October 27, 2020.

The conference was facilitated by the Jamaica National Commission for UNESCO and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information.

She pointed to the role that audio-visual content has played in culture and heritage information sharing experience during the current Covid-19 Pandemic.

“As we confront the COVID-19 global pandemic, with all its restrictions on social and in-person gathering and interaction, we are even more reminded of the power of audio-visual content creation, preservation and promotion.  Indeed, as more of our people are forced to shelter at home over long periods, the challenge to provide recreational and socially uplifting content as a conduit to improving social and mental health has caused us to take on more and more Audio-visual creation. For example, in many instances, individuals, companies and institutions have been able to promote re-runs of earlier audio-visual content by way of television and other platforms for entertainment and education of our people.  These include documentaries related to proper hygiene practices, encouragement of new forms of engagement in education and learning, and others that served as teachable opportunities in various areas of our social and cultural lives.

“Additionally, we here in Jamaica have had to resort to audio-visual formats in re-creating and re-inventing activities, which have in some instances actually resulted in furthering and

enhancing the various products.  For example, through audio-visual formats we were able to promote our National Festival Song Competition by engaging a wider global audience and having persons from all parts of the world participate in voting for the winning song.  This speaks to creative and innovative ways in which we have used Audio-visual knowledge to respond to the ravages of the pandemic,” she said.

Minister Grange said the lessons learnt will inform future responses to similar crises.

She also hailed the National Library of Jamaica for seeing to the preservation of Jamaica’s audio-visual heritage. “We salute the National Library of Jamaica, through its Legal Deposits, for ensuring that much of our audio-visual heritage has been preserved for posterity within its halls and which through their outreach, continues to be accessible to the wider Jamaican population.  We also want to recognize our creatives for their talent and industry in creating new ways of doing and being and for their willingness to donate samples of their audio-visual works to the NLJ.  Through these actions in preserving our Audio-visual heritage for posterity we continue to open up the windows of our creative imagination to the world, thereby enhancing Brand Jamaica, generating incomes for the creators, producers and promoters, and contributing to the national coffers.”

The World Day for Audio-visual Heritage takes place every 27 October. This commemorative day was chosen by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in 2005 to raise awareness of the significance and preservation risks of recorded sound and Audio-visual documents (films, sound and video recordings, radio and television programmes.