This tag is associated with 6 posts


Th common factor  is people. How we are. How we relate to each other.

Some months have gone since i have posted. Many lessons have accumulated though and when i spread them out on the table i see that the common factor is people. If the problem is economic, you will find that it is a problem about us and how we think about what we need and how we measure ourselves against others and what we hold as ambitions. If the problem is social. You will find it is how we think and how others have thought of us. Who we were as children. People, ideas,values, cultures and subcultures.

When we started the ISL i said it was an art project/experiment. It was an outgrowth of the SO((U))L HQ and designed to for us to experiment and learn about learning, leadership, justice, community and equality in african communities in Jamaica. As we learn we change and we continue.

We are entering another phase of our learning at the ISL and another phase of making art or making space.

We will be hosting conversation at the ISL and the SO((U))L HQ this month to look at some of the art we have made over the last 6 years. Look out for more updates.cropped-img_5064.jpg


What are some of the things you see emerging from the Maker labs?

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What are some of the things you see emerging from the Maker labs? We were asked this question yesterday in a meeting with our Maker labs partners Tony and Christie from the Metabolic foundation.

The Maker labs is hosted at Di ISL on Wednesday and Thursday from 3-7pm. We develop project ideas together and guided by Tony and Christie we learn how to make things, fix things or come up with cool recycling ideas. An important part of the Maker labs now is our engagement with children.  On any given day at the maker labs we have on average 15 children and young adults age 6 to 20.  Some of these children know each other from the community or from school. What we make is sometimes determined by the materials we have available, we have made things from pallet boards, cardboard and newspaper.

Earlier when we started we were asked what were some of the projects we imagined building a solar dehydrator, a window farm, a tech corner for kids, chalkboard paint and a roof top garden. We also wanted to do some projects with the Arduino board and the Rasberry pi. 

So far these are the things we have observed:

  • It is not always easy for kids to work together and to learn to share things
  • The labs offer the opportunity to learn to work together
  • The labs makes learning fun and interesting
  • Kids feel proud when they can complete a fun task or project
  • The labs allow kids and adults to be use their imagination and to be creative
  • The labs helps us to focus on problem solving in creative ways
  • Kids feel a sense of responsibility working on projects
  • Kids look forward to coming to the maker labs
  • Some kids demonstrate an increase in discipline since coming to the maker labs
  • The labs help us to see kids who have a natural interest in making and fixing things
  • The labs give adults a chance to see they could develop a livelihood around the knowledge and skills they may be developing in recycling and making things
  • The labs is a social space. Kids and adults spend constructive time together
  • The labs helps us to experiment with alternative models for learning
  • The labs help us create awareness around the environment and materials in the environment
  • The labs helps us re-imagine our world and feel capable of making the things we imagine.


Love and Superhumans at Di Institute for Social Leadership

Di Institute for Social Leadership( ISL) was started in December 2013. After one year we decided to ask Uche Onobe his thoughts on the space and to share with us what the space means to him.

Deconstructing the process and methods by which “ideas” and “narratives” are created and disseminated in “news”.

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Week 2 of Political Potpourri 2 with Motza Ramon at the ISL. Adding more images and exploring more ideas. Motza demonstrates a kind of discipline and process that is important in developing a body of work as an artist. His work with images from the Jamaica Gleaner and the Jamaica Observer is particularly useful for deconstructing the process and methods by which “ideas” and “narratives” are created and disseminated in “news”. Political Potpourri also gives us a chance to see Jamaica and the what surrounds us in the pattern of news and news making. The exhibition is also designed to be interactive and visitors come to make news as well. The exhibition continues next Sunday from 10am to 6pm.

Dem call Bellevue pon mi bredren- Mental Health among inner-city yutes


Dem call Bellevue pon mi bredren. Is a good yute, him love meditation like me, but when people nuh understand you, when dem nuh know weh u a do innah a life dem waan use yuh and treat u like how dem feel fi treat you.

My brethren always in a him house.  cause him innah him house people waan tek set pon him. more while him haffi stand up and defend himself.

One morning him just get up and seh him a sweep up out a road. while doing that him see police come fi him and seh dem hear seh him a gwaan wid a bag a tings. Him nuh really know a wah still but him seh come een we a guh check yuh out so when dem a talk to him dem see seh a one well educated yute, him reasoning ability different…

…..di people dem weh we deh roun if yuh nah do weh dem a do people look pon u different. dem feel like seh dem fi a live your life.  A nuff time dem tell me a go mad, dem a guh call Bellevue. Tru mi change mi usually bleach out, have nuff girls, mi different mi a tink bout how mi a go deal wid tings when mi yute dem come so dem nah guh haffi suffer like me.

mi know myself and mi know who me be. mi just waan see someting come a mi life. A nuff doctor me guh..

My dream enuh ….a just Marcus a lone can tell you bout it… him seh mek god and the star be the limit.

Dem all have anada bredren weh dem call  pon. it mash him up. a young yute dat. mi a tell u di truth mi nah call police pon nuh man or Bellevue and mek dem get injection, one a dem injection deh….

why somebody woulda waan mash up anada yute life?

Spiritual meditation, art and craft help me, mi exercise sometimes. mi deh roun yah from mi a 10 month old. roun yah a good place enuh but the people dem. a di people dem weh deh roun yuh.mi have some real brethren enuh but mi can count dem pon mi hand yah now.

ghetto yute have fi face lie hard. a week a go mi a work. mi a one yute weh do mi art and craft and ting and when nuh money nuh deh mi haffi go look some scrap iron. deh pon the road working mi have a knife weh mi use cleaning up di food weh mi a eat and ting. 2 police come hol mi wid a knife and seh yow yuh know seh dis can kill a man. mi tell him seh yow a work mi a work. dem carry mi guh a station and lock mi up……..

There is a bredren who comes to the ISL regularly. I think he likes the place. One day we were talking and he mentioned that it was quite common for community members to “call Bellvue pon yutes”.

Bellevue Hospital is Jamaica’s only mental health hospital.

“The evolution of mental health services in Jamaica started in 1840’s. The first designated area for the treatment of mental illness was constructed adjoining the present Kingston Public Hospital. The Jamaica Lunatic Asylum came into existence in 1861 at its present location at 16 ½ Windward Road Kingston. The hospital has had many name change and its name was changed from the Jamaica Lunatic Asylum to the Jamaica Mental Hospital in 1938. The name was again changed to the Bellevue Hospital in 1946.”

The Bellevue Hospital was established to provide care for mentally ill clients. The establishment of the hospital came out of a petition which was led by a private medical practitioner named Dr. Louis Bowerbank. This led to an enquiry the result of which was the establishment of a mental hospital for the custody and care of the mentally ill. The hospital has had a very rich and colourful history. The hospital has just over seven hundred patients. There are presently twenty three wards; the hospital is divided in acute, sub-acute, psycho-medical, mental subnormal, long stay, psycho geriatric and rehabilitative wardshttp://www.bellevuehospital.org.jm/about-us/brief-history

What alternatives do we offer youths from inner-city communities who are at risk of experiencing mental health problems?

One possibility could be establishing walk-in “art spaces or creative spaces”.

The ISL which is located near to the community of Allman Town for example could be open  during the days to give young men who are interested in art, a space to express and find community with other individuals with similar ideas, views, concerns.

Based on my conversation with this brethren, it is obvious that mental health is a problem in our communities and there is a need for more solutions to this problem. Sometimes yutes just want space.


The importance of dance and movement in youth learning activities



Our facilitator Umoja comes to the ISL on Wednesdays. He uses drama to work with the youth.

Today I observed a Dance/movement routine he ask the youth to do at the beginning of the class.

I was playing Need by Brookly Funk Essentials before he started. He asked me to continue because he liked the rhythm of the song.

When he finished the routine i asked him to explain why he had chosen dance/movement.

He told me he was trying to achieve the following;

  • Unifying the group. because they are coming from different locations different homes. helping them to move together- synchronizing
  • Fostering peer learning. Learning from each other. If someone is shy they can she themselves through another persons movement
  • The repetition of the steps gave them the idea that you can keep trying until you succeed.  Even if you don’t get it perfect the more you try it becomes perfect.
  • The rhythm of the  music gave a mood of exploring what was given . The sound might not have been familiar and so it encouraged them to feel more and experiment with the movement.

One person said” mi like the movement because it give me a energy, mi just feel something from mi foot come straight up di whole a mi body”


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