Learning about Antigua and Barbuda over Lunch

By Greg Stewart

On Thursday March 15, the Tishman Center hosted a Lunch and Learn with Visiting Scholar Barbara Paca. Dr. Paca has a PhD in Art and Archaeology from the Princeton along with many other academic credentials. She has worked in a variety of capacities as an art historian, landscape architect, designer, and archaeologist. Currently, she is working on a project as the Cultural Envoy with the Ministry of Culture in Antigua and Barbuda. As a Visiting Scholar here at The New School, Dr. Paca’s research is focused on the theme of Environmental Justice as a Civil Right in the context of Antigua and Barbuda. Antigua and Barbuda are beautiful Caribbean islands full of natural wonders and archaeological interests. The islands themselves are fairly different, with Antigua being much more modern and containing a fair amount of development. Barbuda, on the other hand, is much smaller and rooted in historic cultural traditions: the island community maintains a shared economy without land ownership. Hurricane Irma destroyed about 95% of the buildings on Barbuda, and all of the residents were evacuated to Antigua. Now there exists a political struggle between the leaders of the country, seated in Antigua, and the communal lifestyle of the Barbudans. This Lunch and Learn session, in particular, was about the Venice Biennale, an international exhibition for the arts. Dr. Paca will be curating the national Pavilion of Antigua and Barbuda with a theme of Environmental Justice as a Civil Right at the Biennale. Specifically, the rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Irma, the role of tourism on Barbuda, and the anthropological value of the preservation of the environmental and societal features will be presented and explored in the Pavilion. A good number of activists, academics, and students arrived from all across The New School and other institutions. There were also two New York Times journalists present; they had gone to Antigua after the hurricane and learned about the issues that are now forefront in that part of the world. They created a documentary which can be seen here. As we all enjoyed pizza, we discussed the plans of individuals like Robert DeNiro and Prince Harry for Antigua and Barbuda. The famed actor hopes to build a private resort amidst the natural splendor of the island, while the prince is in charge of a plan put forth by the British government to work with locals on the preservation of natural sites on the islands known as The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy. Students at The New School can get involved with the National Pavilon project for the Bienalle. We are currently seeking assistance from interested students in art, design, architecture, landscape, and environmental design to help our team prepare and build three models and digital drawings for the Venice Biennale. Skills in drawing, computer drafting, 3-d modeling and digital rendering would be much appreciated.

To get involved as a volunteer, email Assistant Director for Sustainable Initiatives, Molly Craft Johnson at molly@newschool.edu. 

Greg Stewart is a Master’s student in the Creative Publishing and Critical Journalism program. He writes for Ragazine.cc, archives for The Believer Magazine, and does interviews for Slice Literary Magazine blog. He expects to graduate in December of 2018.