Culture Ministry launches Oral History Project

May 21, 2024
Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia Grange, converses with Minister of Labour and Social Security, Pearnel Charles Jr., during the Oral History Project launch on May 15. - Contributed photo.

The Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport has launched an Oral History Project to document Jamaica’s heritage by recording the memories of senior citizens for future generations.

The project is an initiative of the Ministry through its African Caribbean Institute of Jamaica/Jamaica Memory Bank (ACIJ/JMB) and the Ministry of Labour and Social Security’s National Council for Senior Citizens.

They will record and archive the lived realities of centenarians and seniors, whose stories are critical in the retelling and reconstructing of Jamaica’s social and cultural history.

Speaking at the launch, held recently at the Roof Terrace, Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, in Kingston, Portfolio Minister, Olivia Grange, said that the project is not only about archiving the memories and experiences of older Jamaicans, but also about “using these recollections to influence the values, perspectives and actions of younger citizens”.

She noted that one of the remarkable findings in reviewing the memories of older citizens as the consistency with which they emphasised community, personal responsibility, family discipline and care as fundamental to their long lives and accomplishments.

“These are also critical to the achievements of individuals and national objectives in today’s Jamaica and to the Jamaica that many of us say we want to see,” she said.

In his remarks, Minister of Labour and Social Security, Pearnel Charles Jr., said there is much to be learnt by engaging senior citizens who are Jamaica’s “wisdom keepers”.

“It has been bestowed upon you all who have been blessed with the years of just being here… the responsibility to pass on that knowledge, and we have the chance to create that opportunity,” he said.

He argued that the project is not just an initiative but “a testament to our respect for the wisdom and the experiences of our older generations”.

“It’s a call to action for those who have lived through several periods in our history, those who have witnessed things that we can sometimes find unimaginable and contributed to where we are now as a country, and whose stories remain untold,” the Minister said.

He emphasised the importance of the project in establishing Jamaica’s cultural heritage and internal narratives.

“The Oral History Project, I think, is more than just a gift to Jamaica. This is a gift to the world because so many people want to know where we came from and what is the genesis of our evolution as a people and whose stories remain untold,” he added.

- JIS News

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