CREATIVE SPACE #1 of 2021 – Arts Support: Walking That Talk

CREATIVE SPACE #1  of 2021 (uploaded January 7th 2021)

CREATIVE SPACE is a series spotlighting local (Antiguan and Barbudan/Caribbean) art and culture. As a brand, it dates back to 2009, published in LIAT’s inflight magazine. It was revamped in 2018 and ran to 2019 on Its publishing partner, as of 2020, is the Daily Observer newspaper. It continues to expand across other media platforms (which can be viewed on AntiguanWriter on YouTube). CREATIVE SPACE is created, owned, and written by Joanne C. Hillhouse – Antiguan-Barbudan/Caribbean authorjournalist, producer, and freelance writer, editor, and trainer.

Here’s a link to the issue as it appeared on January 6th 2021  in the Daily Observer:  CS DO 060121

Below is the extended online edition (not a duplicate of the edition with publishing partner Observer Media) with extras.

If you would like to be featured or to sponsor (i.e. advertise with) a future installment of the online edition of CREATIVE SPACE and/or CREATIVE SPACE on YouTube, BOOSTing your BRAND while boosting Antigua-Barbuda Art and Culture, contact Joanne.

CREATIVE SPACE:  Arts Support: Walking That Talk

JCH cover

Who’s walking that talk?


Hundreds of artists from 26 countries across the English, Dutch, Spanish, and French speaking Caribbean – Anguilla to US Virgin Islands – benefited from the Catapult Arts Grant initiative in the last quarter of 2020. Three of the recipients were from Antigua and Barbuda. All three received the Caribbean Creative Online grant, valued at US$500. Aisha JosephAisha Joseph, a protégé of Hell’s Gates’ Mannings, talked via facebook live about pan tuning while Raena Bird raena-birddid one of her painting socials (Jink, Paint & Nyam). I did an #AskMeAnything video (linked above) about my books and publishing, #TheWritingLife, on my YouTube channel, AntiguanWriter. Antigua-Barbuda is just one percent of total applicants and recipients. Imagine if more of Antiguans and Barbudans had applied. I know I wish I had applied for the (US$3,000 two-month) stay-at-home residency grant (of which there were 24 recipients) to get some time to work on my book. I am thankful though for the opportunity to share my work. The grant initiative, funded by the Open Society Foundations to the tune of US$320,000, culminated in #CATAPULTDay, December 14th 2020, which the organizers – American Friends of Jamaica, Kingston Creative, and Fresh Milk Barbados, all non-profit programmes which create opportunities for artists – used to amplify the voices of grant recipients and create a virtual meet-up. The Catapult initiative, which included, in addition to training and funding opportunities, virtual salons allowing us to view artists in St. Lucia and Jamaica, Trinidad and Puerto Rico etc. in conversation with each other about their work, was particularly valuable in 2020, BUT and it’s a big but, there needs to be arts patronage in non-COVID years. Arts funding generally is rare across our region. So, the value of what this programme did, across various artistic disciplines, cannot be overstated; the value of injecting money in to the arts cannot be overstated. Its value is in giving the artist space to create, and the arts room to blossom to the benefit of the society as a whole; more of this.

The initiatives sponsored through the Catapult Arts Grant followed one of these streams.


And more of Rebel Women Lit, another community driven project, a three-year-old Jamaica-based book club which has been featured in international publications like Cosmopolitan. Its initiatives include several book club chapters, a bookstore, a library, a podcast and other events, and most recently the Caribbean Readers’ Awards inviting readers across the Caribbean diaspora to nominate and vote for their favourite books, stories, and creators. “We want the Readers’ Awards to focus on what readers are genuinely excited about, partly because a lot of international literary spaces haven’t been accessible to us, but also because we’re our own authority on the books we like,” RWL founder Jherane Patmore told “The results were announced on January 3rd and included best story winner Andre J P Warner for the same story that won him the Wadadli Pen Challenge in 2020 while I was named honoree in the critics category; another Wadadli Pen alum, Rilys Adams was shortlisted for the best novel award that ultimately went to Donna Hemans of Jamaica for Tea by the Sea. It’s noteworthy that the best poetry collection prize was won by New Voices: Selected by Lorna Goodison, Poet Laureate of Jamaica, 2017-2020, because that’s what happens when you have someone charged with literary arts development at a national level – of late, we see several Caribbean countries, most recently BVI, appointing writers in residence and/or laureates for just this purpose. There were 50 nominators for the CRA and 1800 people voted; and the winners came from all across the Caribbean and the diaspora. A great and democratic initiative that created excitement among readers and writers alike; and illustrated the popularity of the literary arts if given half a chance; RBL themselves are illustrative of the fact that so much of what happens in our community around the arts is not driven by the establishment but by the novel nominees

RBL CRA 2020 Best Novel nominees included Antigua and Barbuda’s (and Wadadli Pen’s) Rilys Adams writing as Rilzy Adams.


Very early in the lockdown the official social media account of the St. Lucia Tourism Authority (CaribCation) reached out to invite me to record a reading for their online Caribbean Author Series. I had no organic connection to St. Lucia, apart from being Caribbean so I was surprised and flattered. They were the first – and to date – only tourism authority in the region I’m aware of proactively showcasing the literary arts, and not just in their own backyard, in this way. They were also invested in the quality of the presentation and sent very detailed recording guidelines making the whole experience more of a challenge than anticipated but a welcome one in the end. A government agency using its platform in this way to boost the arts, and the literary arts in particular, about 9 episodes featuring writers from St. Lucia and the wider Caribbean, is applaudable and rare. Locally, what comes to mind is the National Public Library Author of the Month series which it has been running for awhile, and has continued virtually since the latter half of 2020. I’ll be their guest on January 20th 2021.





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