Young Grenadian plans to revamp Grenada’s Carnival

Stephen Kelvin Jacob

by Donella Hosten

A great passion for culture, theatre arts, and carnival, merged with a sincere personality, creates an opportunity for a myriad of success in one’s chosen field.

This is the sentiment expressed by Grenada’s Stephen Kelvin Jacob, who, according to Minister for Tourism, Sen. Brenda Hood, was one of the first to pursue his Masters of Arts in Carnival Studies at the University of Trinidad & Tobago (UTT).

Mr Jacob’s educational background and cultural experience extensive, ranging from planning and participating in Grenada’s Carnival to judging of the National Queen Show Pageants.

In an interview with Mr Jacob, he revealed that his deep interest in cultural activities began more than 20 years ago, when he joined with a group of teachers who initiated the first ever Children’s Carnival Frolic at the St Joseph’s Roman Catholic School, at Pomme Rose, St David — his hometown.

As a result of having witnessed first-hand the various challenges facing Carnival in Grenada over the years, Mr Jacob saw the need to pursue his Masters of Arts in an effort to curb “the shortage of trained personnel in the area of Carnival Studies.”

Earlier this year at the 2016 Launch of SpiceMas, Sen. Brenda Hood made mention of the importance of training in the area of Carnival Studies. She said, “We have to start at the Primary level in ensuring that our children have a deep appreciation for our culture, and that they understand the importance of preserving a rich legacy.”

Mr Jacob shares similar sentiments with those of the Senator. “As an educator, I would like to see a syllabus implemented in our schools as part of the model.” He said he has already conducted research as part of his thesis, which focused on Carnival Arts Education and the perception of stakeholders towards the introduction of Carnival Arts on the Curriculum of primary and secondary schools in Grenada. The findings showed that all stakeholders would like to see Carnival Arts on the school’s curriculum.

“My plan is to present the findings to the Ministry of Culture, SpiceMas Corporation (SMC), and the Ministry of Education, along with a proposal as to how we can incorporate carnival into the schools using the Visual and Creative Arts students, Clothing and Textile students, and the Building Constructions students, to design and build costumes. Also, have our Mas’ Bands Association integrate our schools to put out bands for our National Children’s Carnival Frolic.”

Mr Jacob, who is currently a member of the Board of Directors, Head of the Business Department, and Vice Principal of the Presentation Brothers’ College (PBC), said his course of study has further enlightened him on the intricacies involved in the planning, execution, and evaluation of a carnival.

He believes that although Grenada’s Carnival has improved over the years, there are a lot of areas which need fine-tuning. “We need a plan that will involve the various stakeholders in Grenada’s Carnival that will comprise of the general vision for the carnival, key areas of further development, and a marketing outline backed by strong sponsorship through business support.”

“Carnival belongs to the people; it’s the people’s festival. We have to get our people to take ownership of their festival in order to increase participation at all levels.” Additionally, Jacob went on to say that small changes have big impacts on culture, and he thinks that all business should decorate their establishments during the Carnival season.

It is the hope of Mr Jacob that his field of study, experience, and contributions, will be a great asset to the SMC, and he is more than willing to get on board with the team. “My vision for developing Grenada’s Carnival product is to foster a model that incorporates a culture of excellence in the standard of creations for all national festivals, with proper benchmarks.”

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