CREATIVE SPACE #17 OF 2022 (Uploaded August 24th 2022)

CREATIVE SPACE is an award-winning series spotlighting local (Antiguan and Barbudan/Caribbean) art and culture. As a brand, it dates back to 2009, published exclusively in LIAT’s inflight magazine. It was revamped in 2018 as a blog series and syndicated as of 2019 on Its publishing partner, as of 2020, is the Daily Observer newspaper. It has its first print run in the paper every other Wednesday, with the online extended edition with EXTRAS running here on the blog and full interviews and extras on AntiguanWriter on YouTube. In 2021, the twopart CREATIVE SPACE mini-series on marine culture placed third in the OECS clean oceans journalists challenge. 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 in the Daily Observer newspaper on August 24th 2022:

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


Writers from right to left pictured at an event: Kimolisa Mings who has published independently and run workshops on self-publishing; Brenda Lee Browne who has run writing workshops and the Just Write writers retreat; and Joanne C. Hillhouse who coaches individuals and runs writing workshops independently (Jhohadli Writing Project) and on commission, who edits, and who co-founded the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize to nuture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda.

What artists want is not handouts but opportunity. And, no, arts philanthropy, grants, fellowships, residencies, and endowments are not handouts; I’ve never applied for one that wasn’t about the work, support for the work, and the potential to create more work. If we understood the value art (literary, visual, performing, research) brings to a community, we’d understand that it’s like sowing seeds in fertile ground, those seeds in time growing in to fruit and ornamental trees, nourishing the body, the mind, the very soul of the community.

I first felt a nudge toward this week’s CREATIVE SPACE focus while talking with an older artist who maybe will get a handout but would rather opportunity – commissioned master classes or salons, programmes that allow older artists to mentor, while, of course, still eating. Another nudge came later, as I filled out my profile on the Caribbean Creatives database which I had been invited to be a part of as a CATAPULT grantee. CATAPULT is the only grants programme of its type and scope I am aware of in the region, or period since I am hard-pressed to think of national or even sub-regional equivalents. The programme is run by Kingston Creative out of Jamaica. I remember when I was at the virtual networking meet-up for CATAPULT grant recipients from all over the Caribbean and its diaspora (more than 300 of us, all of whom will now be a part of the aforementioned database) in April 2022, I got a true appreciation of the value of these kinds of disbursements to artists at all stages of their evolution. As Kingston Creative co-founder Andrea Dempster Chung put it (in a later tweet), “from producing art, to paying bills to helping other artists in their network to just the validation, being seen and respected.” I liked that the organizers, in discussing the selection process, saw it in terms of supporting the value that artists bring to society. And in taking their support for artists further, invested in the just-launched database. There was one frustrating bump as I registered from my small place, which should not be, but was quickly resolved, and so overall, clicking through the database, that nudge became a shove, because this, too, is something artists want and need – a central place to showcase our work and portfolios, collaborate, connect, and, yes, get paid. There are 384 artist by my count, across 34 countries in this database; I’m not yet sure what will grow but the soil has been sown and we are the seeds.

Victor ‘Babu’ Samuel (RIP) with the National Youth Pan Orchestra.

Something else nudging me, one of the last Victor ‘Babu’ Samuel interviews I saw before his death (The Spectator, May 2021). The late pan great bemoaned the loss of Halcyon, his multi-award winning  orchestra’s home (“we were promised that a new pan yard would be built for us”) and the demise of the youth pan programme (“I was the arranger and the trainer of the National Youth Pan Orchestra and all of a sudden, that is gone”). Months before I saw this video, I interviewed Barbara Mason the now-retired head of that Culture department youth pan programme and she too was mystified. “I didn’t even know it was losing momentum…I asked if we could have a pan house built (and got) no response,” she told me. What do creatives want, continuity; we’ve seen so many often artist-led arts initiatives come and go, and go.

When I started Wadadli Pen in 2004, it was to pour something in to the void as far as literary arts development is concerned. We became a registered non-profit in 2021 – the reason, I feel committed to not have it be another thing that was here just for a time because arts development for art to develop has to be consistent.

Potter Hyacinth Hillhouse as pictured in her workshop in the book Creole Clay. She has, sometimes when asked, contributed time to passing on the skill of pottery making in her community school and other spaces.

Room and space to create, resources and spaces to showcase, opportunities to learn and to share, developmental funding and technical assistance (meeting artists where they are) are perhaps the broad umbrella of things under which can be found specific things like a national gallery, arts and artists in schools programmes, or simply honouring scholarship obligation to a budding fashion designer. There’s more. I do stay beating that horse whether in this series or in other postings I’ve done over time because if I accept that the horse is dead then the arts is too.



link to the post I did on this site after the Catapult mixer.


Random CREATIVE SPACE picture to remind you that the column is dedicated to covering culture and arts (see page links at the bottom of this page) and has over time covered everything from cooking to fashion – this image is from a food tour and explores food as a form of culture. I am wearing a mask purchased from local artist Edison Liburd at a music and art studio (pictured below) that has since been closed (not the only art/artisan space that has either) though the artist continues/artists and artisans continue to create.


If you would like to be featured in a future CREATIVE SPACE or to pay for a (web only) advertisement or sponsored post  (on exclusively), BOOSTing your BRAND while boosting Antigua-Barbuda Art and Culture, contact Joanne. Contact me also to explore advertising options. All Rights Reserved. Sharing or excerpting with link and credit is okay. But for re-publication of CREATIVE SPACE or any other content on this site contact Joanne – also use this link to contact Joanne for appearances (reading, speaking, discussions), workshops/courseswriting, editing, or other offered service.