The Machel Montano digital newspaper archive 1983-2018
Kwynn Johnson (The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine)

When we look at a newspaper archive, we see clearly both the person holding the mirror and the reflection in the mirror. Elizabeth and Winston Montano have collected every newspaper clipping which has featured the life and work of the calypso and soca artist, Machel Montano. This archive began in 1983 and continues to the present. There are articles, front-page features, and letters to the Editor etc. from many of Trinidad and Tobago’s newspapers, such as The T&T Express, The T&T Guardian, The Sun, The Evening News, The Sunday Punch, and The T&T Mirror. This collection also includes clippings from regional newspapers such as The Jamaica Gleaner, The Barbados Nation, and extracts from St. Maarten, Guyana and Dominica. Columns from newspapers in London, Germany, Montreal, and New York are also part of this digital archive, as well as magazine features from Billboard, BWIA Beat and Soca News.

Countering Plantation Memories: A Digital Edition of James Grainger’s The Sugar-Cane
Julie Chun Kim (Fordham University), Kimberly Takahata (Columbia University)

An approximately 2500-line poem, James Grainger’s The Sugar-Cane (1764) details the process of sugar production on eighteenth-century Caribbean plantations. Yet it also describes the uses of plants other than sugar, and recent scholarship has identified the possibility of reading the poem for evidence of Afro-Caribbean ecological knowledge, survival, and resistance. This paper will discuss the ongoing project Digital Grainger: An Online Edition of the Sugar-Cane (1764) and its aims of 1) building an accessible, digital edition of Grainger’s poem, 2) highlighting the poem’s references to provision grounds, obeah, and other non-dominant forms of life, and 3) challenging Grainger’s poetic imperialism, which appropriates Afro-Caribbean knowledge as planter knowledge. Particularly, the paper’s authors, both of whom are helping to build Digital Grainger, will examine the possibilities available to a digital, versus print, edition of the poem. Importantly, a digital edition affords the space for the extensive editorial footnotes that are needed to contextualize Grainger’s insufficient acknowledgments of Afro-Caribbean agricultural and botanical expertise. The paper also will discuss the project’s experimentation with different versions of the poem. While Digital Grainger will provide readers with one version of the poem that reproduces it in full, it will surround it with other, excerpted versions that de-center Grainger as the singular authority and focus on themes like Afro-Caribbean medicine, cuisine, and marronage. Short essays will accompany these versions in order to help researchers, teachers, students, and other readers imagine the poem as a site of counter-plantation, versus plantation, memory.

Caribbean Literary Magazines: From Print to Digital Forms
Lizabel Mónica (Princeton University), Katerina Gonzalez Seligmann (Emerson College)

We propose to trace the unfolding of literary magazines in the Caribbean from print to digital forms through the 20th and 21st centuries. Drawing on highly influential magazines from the twentieth century (such as Revista Orígenes, Poesía Sorprendida, Tropiques, Revue Indigène, BIM, Focus) Katerina Gonzalez Seligmann will examine the print literary magazine as a medium that played a foundational role in the establishment, development, and circulation of Caribbean literatures. Lizabel Mónica will examine the arrival of digital literary magazines like La Habana Elegante, Hermano Cerdo, 80 grados,, Hypermedia and SX Salon as new channels that altered the dynamics of Caribbean literary production to the point of redefining its literary audience and the literary product itself. We will build our presentation as a dialogue that aims to decipher to what extent there is a continuity between the print and the digital magazine in the shaping of literary fields. In this dialogue, we will address the following questions: How does the literary magazine, as a medium, shape a literary audience? How are print and digital literary magazines networked to other mediums in the service of the literary fields’ development? Is the digital turn transforming literary publishing? Our conversation aims to establish how the media changes remodeled the role of the Caribbean literary magazine.

Archiving the Ephemeral
Agyei Archer (Independent Designer)

Even in their most experimental forms, many typeface designs rely heavily on historical or existing references.

In the Caribbean, we have a long history of sign painting, mostly for public notices of things like events or sales. Because most of the work done is by hand, there is variation in letter proportions (relative to conventional typographic proportions) and elements that work together to make these signs highly effective modes of communication.

Despite the relative uniqueness of the letterforms, simple replicas of Caribbean sign painting would make for very boring typography. I would like to show type design work in progress, that will highlight some of the possibilities of using variable font technology to attempt to go beyond a simple typographic replica, but type that builds on current styles, exploring possibilities for both digital and print, using a combination including of Python, CSS animation and conventional digital type design.

The final objective of the project is to develop a suite of typefaces (or, indeed, a single typeface) that can be used for display use in digital formats. Works in progress will be shown with live examples of implementations for animations and the web.