An organization based on the Grenadine island of Bequia is working to positively influence the youth of the island and to uplift creativity and advance culture. One News St. Vincent reports:
One News SVG and Ignite! had some questions for three of the Directors of The Hub Collective for an International Women’s Day highlight. The women – Holly Bynoe, Jessica Jaja, and Danielle Collinson – addressed the challenges and successes of the organisation while mapping out the history of the organisation, its programming and current innovations being brought in by the COVID-19 pandemic.
1. Describe The Hub Collective
The Hub Collective is an inclusive arts education nonprofit organization located in Port Elizabeth, Bequia. We have a passion to build creative confidence and intergenerational exchange across Bequia’s communities. Our pillars address the need for holistic community engagement and inclusivity through: Music, Arts, Culture, Wellness and Environment.
The Hub operates out of its Creative Arts Centre, open six days per week, and includes a training space, a music studio and a shop selling locally-made products.
2. When was The Hub founded and why was it necessary to start this initiative?
The organization was founded in 2017 by a group of creatives, entrepreneurs and social activists. It arose out of the realization that while there are numerous challenges young people face on Bequia, that there is so much talent, culture and innovation that could be built upon to create sustainable and healthy communities. We wanted to get involved with the youth on the island, provide mentorship opportunities, and create safe spaces to growth and develop. We see The Hub functioning as a place akin to a home, where we can bring out latent and nascent talent by fostering dialogue and building trust on the grounds of mutual respect. It is a place for day dreaming and dreaming more widely, where youth in their free time can form new bonds – friends, mentors, elders, etc. – while also working on their artistic and personal aspirations.
The Hub Collective addresses the gaps within the education system, and our methodologies are like “unschooling” which advocates for learner-chosen activities, and here youth have the freedom to engage and express themselves in a way that is more connected to their essence and sense of selfhood. This alternative, safe learning environment lends to the development of self in a more holistic, natural manner leading to well-rounded youth, capable of embracing what life can throw to them in more nimble ways.
3. What has been the impact of The Hub Collective so far?
The impacts of the organisation can be seen in the social, educational and vocational advancement of Bequia. Even though we are small, our contributions have done a lot to lift the spirit and the will of the youth and other parts of our demographic. The Hub Collective’s core strengths include having a wide network of partners locally who view the organisation as one that they can trust. Our community engagement and strategies have been fortified over the years and we have been able to garner the trust of youth and their parents, which has led to the Creative Arts Centre being one of the only community sanctuaries on the island that is apolitical and not connected to any religious institution.
The work that we have been engaging in over the course of the last five years works to combat the losses that our communities have been undergoing as it relates to traditions, rituals and customs. It also provides nurturing support to Bequia youth giving them more focus and time to hone in and build their talents. Through the various arms of the organisation, young and emerging artists and craftspeople nationwide also have a retail outlet where their works are cared for, displayed, articulated and shared with visitors as well as the wider Vincentian and Caribbean publics in the region and diaspora. [. . .]
4. What are notable challenges and successes you’ve encountered within the organisation?
[. . .] Our successes have come in spite of the challenges faced. In 2018, we undertook the acquisition and renovation of Creative Arts Centre–with little funding and mostly volunteer efforts from core members. To date the Hub Shop currently features 30 local artists, all of them making 100% Vincy artisanal arts and crafts. We have seen the growth, development and transformation of young people through mentorship and training sessions which lead to the advent of our annual Positive Vibes Festival. The festival and our commitment to encouraging young talent has led to young people winning awards as well as writing and recording original music through The Hub Studio.
We have managed to form a deep engagement within the community–online and in person–and a deeper understanding of what we are striving for. To date we have executed four Positive Vibes Festivals and engaged over 90 performers (including singers, dancers, musicians and spoken word poets), which is no easy feat. And in late 2020, we were awarded a small cultural grant from two international organisations to study the importance of Traditional Knowledge and bush medicine across Bequia and St. Vincent. [. . .]
How can the public support the work you are doing?
To follow our journey you can visit: http://www.thehubsvg.com
Follow us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/thehubcollective and on Instagram http://www.instagram.com/thehubcollective
Donate: Monthly or one-time donations can be made securely on our website using PayPal. Donations can also be made via US, UK and Canadian charities for donors to receive charitable tax receipts.
Join our Play-It-Forward campaign: We are looking for used or new guitars, bass guitars, microphones, keyboards, drums and other percussions for our various music programs.
You can volunteer or lead a workshop by emailing email@example.com or calling 1-784-530-9185
For full article, see https://onenewsstvincent.com/2021/03/08/3-women-helping-to-change-bequia/