Edna Manley College Aims for University Status

EMCVPA rises and responds to the needs of the creative and cultural industries with plans for change of name from College to University

March 8, 2022 – Kingston, Jamaica – The Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts continues to celebrate forty-five years of being under one umbrella at 1 Arthur Wint Drive with its Founders Week – March 6-11. The Week opened with an Interfaith Thanksgiving Service at the Vera Moody Concert with an inspirational message from the Interim Principal, Ms. Dorrett Campbell who charged the community of artist to “rise and respond to the kind of society we envision, the kind of institutions which make that possible and the kind of individual who are its bedrock. Rising and responding to the chaos around us using our art and hearts to conquer the obfuscation and distortions of our realities so that we can evolve our dignity and our identity.” Rising and responding to the challenges of forging intra and inter organizational relationship and partnerships that can help us to realise our mandate of taking Edna Manley to the world and taking the Edna Manley to the world not as a college but as a full-fledged Edna Manley University of the Performing Arts,” she continued.

Lead Pastor of the Sligoville Circuit of Baptist Churches, Reverend Marvia Lawes in her address endorsed this type of collaboration, urged the College community to choose effective collaboration for constructive partnerships.

“We hear about unity in diversity and diversity in unity where we understand that it goes a little bit further because it’s not easy, but it’s not easy to put in practice. We then go beyond tolerance to a place where we understand unity without uniformity and diversity without confrontation. We must understand that there is a place where we all contribute to make this world what it is, for good or for bad.” She encouraged the staff to use their Art – “to tell the story of those who are voiceless, marginalized, oppressed and left behind, but we will use our art to uplift the spirits of our people, give them something to aspire toward, something we have imagined that can lift us up from the depths of our despair.”

She charged that the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts “rise and respond and challenge the disrespect in divisiveness and the derogatory attitudes that denigrate the cultural and creative arts- including the notion of scholarship and art versus serious academia and art; Art is good for entertainment and tourism but not good enough to be elevated as having serious impact on the life and spirits of our people.”

Founders’ Week activities continue today – March 8 with “Electric Boogie” hosted by College Orator – Dr. Amina Blackwood Meeks with some of the women behind Carifesta 1976 – Mrs. Jean Lowrie Chin, Dr. Lorna Goodison and Mrs. Vilma McDonald at12:00 noon on campus in the CAG[e] Gallery.

Faculty and students will share their research on Wednesday March 9 at “Celebrating Research in the Arts Day” on the College’s Youtube Channel – EDNA TV followed by a lecture on Thursday with Professor Rosalea Hamilton, CEO, Lasco Chin Foundation under the theme – “A Gendered Perspective of the impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable SMEs in Jamaica”. The week closes with a Coffee Morning with a conversation dubbed – Coffee, Tea, and De/feminisation of Poverty.

The Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts remains the only tertiary institution of its kind in the English-speaking Caribbean after being brought together in 1976 under the aegis of the Cultural Training Centre, an arm of the Institute of Jamaica. In 1979, the schools were identified by UNESCO as pivotal institutions in the Caribbean and have since developed as a prime agency for cultural development positioning it for the 1983 designation as the Inter-American Centre for Caribbean Cultural Development by the Organization of American State (OAS).

In 1995, all four schools were consolidated, and the institution renamed to Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in honour of Jamaica’s seminal artist, Edna Manley, OM.
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The Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts has been through several stages in its evolution. The four Schools—Drama, Music, Dance, and Visual Arts—started out at different locations in Kingston. Two of the Schools, namely the School of Art and the School of Music, are historic because of their establishment in 1951 and 1961 respectively, before the island gained its independence from Britain in 1962.

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