Early career heritage conservation professionals gather at Government House, ready to start their training on the Antigua Research Studio Commonwealth Heritage Skills Training Programme. They're joined by Professor Brent Fortenberry (far left) and Dr Reginald Murphy (top left).
The Commonwealth Heritage Skills Training Programme has awarded 11 Commonwealth Traineeships to fund the attendance of early career heritage conservation professionals from across the Caribbean to attend the Antigua Research Studio.
Training started on Monday 8 May and will continue for three weeks until Friday 26 May. Over the duration of the course, trainees will develop their heritage skills, especially in digital conservation management, and undertake practical work to develop a heritage conservation plan for St John's Historic Core. The hub for teaching is Government House and downtown St John's and will be complemented by practical work at the Historic Dockyard.
Day 1: After a morning of teaching at Government House, trainees embarked on a walking tour of St John's with Dr Reginald Murphy. This enabled trainees to familiarise themselves with some of the complexities of the urban vernacular building forms in St John's, a useful grounding for the rest of Week 1 which focusses on recording and mapping the historic built environment.
The teaching is led by Professor Brent Fortenberry, with additional support from specialists, including: Dr Reginald Murphy (Director Emeritus, Cultural Resources, National Parks of Antigua and Barbuda), Dr Christopher Waters (Archaeologist/Heritage Manager, Heritage Department, National Parks Authority, Antigua and Barbuda), and Robbie Kerr (Director, ADAM Architecture).
Alongside developing practical conservation skills trainees will benefit from the collaborative networks that they will have the opportunity to develop.
With a focus on Mapping and Documenting the Historic Built Environment in Week 1, Understanding and Managing Historic Building Materials in Week 2, and Managing Historic Buildings and Urban Spaces in Week 3, the programme objectives include:
Understand the social and cultural development of Antigua and Barbuda, and the Eastern Caribbean, during the pre-contact and early modern
Understand the complexity of urban vernacular building forms in St. John’s and the Greater British Caribbean
Master introductory approach to architectural element identification
Recording historic building information using Geographic Information Systems
Apply and translate photogrammetry workflows to recording the historic built environment
Understand the Caribbean historic building technology
Understand the elements of the historic site management and master planning
Understand the various agents of decay impacting historic fabric
Understand the elements of historic urban built environment
Professor Brent Fortenberry introduces the Antigua Research Studio, Government House, St John's.
I’m a Bimshore girl representing the Jamaica National Heritage Trust. I have a B.A in Fine arts and a M.A in Cultural Studies, a multidisciplinary degree which I utilize in my duties as the Senior Artefacts Officer in the Finds Unit of the Archeology Division at the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT).
I grew up in Barbados but have also grown fond of Jamaica where I reside. As such, my job has allowed me to explore, document and analyze the historical areas of Jamaica. This brings a new light to my experiences coming from the small island of Bimshore. I was excited to apply and further be selected to the Commonwealth Heritage Skills Training programme so as to gain insight and learn how to utilize digital technologies to generate useful and lasting digital records of Jamaica’s archaeological and historical resources.
The responsiblities of the Finds Unit include but are not limited to protecting and analyzing the country’s artefacts. I am thrilled to learn further techniques which will assist in the analysis process. I am also excited to employ the practical techniques learnt over the duration of the program in the restoration of historical architecture. I am looking forward to learning alongside these experienced practitioners.
From a young age, I was exposed to construction and design as my family was always engaged in different projects; I believe this is where my love for the field of Architecture stemmed from. For many years as a youth, I dreamed of being an Architect, and I enrolled in a college where I earned my Associate in Science – Architectural Technology.
From there, I went on to recently graduate with a BA in Art History after developing an interest in the restorative and conservation aspects of buildings. I am currently doing an internship at the National Parks Authority within the Heritage Department in my home country of Antigua & Barbuda to further delve into my curiosity of conservation and restoration/rehabilitation. This is a main reason as to why I applied for the Traineeship.
My main thought was that this programme would assist me with creating an even more solid foundation in conservation, assisting me in pursuing my interest in conservational architecture. As I will be enrolling into a Master in Architecture program in the next few months, the addition of the St John’s, Antigua Historic Core Research Studio under my belt, will not only help to progress my skills and knowledge but will subsequently help me contribute to my country’s heritage and its development in the upcoming future.
I am a Heritage Resources Officer at the National Parks Authority of Antigua and Barbuda (NPA). Within this capacity I actively participate in the preservation of the National History of Antigua and Barbuda and assisting in the management of the Outstanding Universal Value of not only a premier heritage tourism destination but the only UNESCO World Heritage Site on the island. I studied at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus Jamaica, where I obtained a Bachelor of the Arts in History and Archaeology, and I am now the only working female archaeologist on island.
My work at the National Parks encouraged me in 2018, to further my studies at the University of Birmingham, pursuing a Masters of the Arts in World Heritage Studies which equipped me with tools regarding UNESCO’s Cultural Heritage mandate, Caribbean heritage management, interpretation, and policy. My merited dissertation spoke to the Shifting perspectives in Caribbean World Heritage applications with regards to the process, policies and politics faced by these small developing states.
During my almost 6 years at the NPA, I have contributed to the development of the ‘8th of March Project,’ a genealogical research project that celebrates the African men and women who lived and worked in the Antigua Naval Dockyard during the 18th century. I currently serve as a board member of the Historical and Archaeological Society that manages the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda and a committee member of the St John’s Cathedral World Heritage Committee that is aiming to tentatively list the St John’s Anglican Church on the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
I am an architectural technologist from Barbados with over 15 years of experience in the field. I graduated with a degree in Architecture from the University of Technology, Jamaica. Recently, I have diversified my exposure into construction design management and facility management.
My passion for architecture is deeply rooted in the rich heritage of Barbados and the Caribbean. The architectural structures in the region are symbols of resilience, creativity, and craftsmanship, and I find them to be examples of innovative use of form and space that still hold relevance today. When designing, I always try to incorporate Caribbean historic vernacular to pay homage to our heritage.
Unfortunately, historic structures often do not receive the respect and care they deserve, which is why I applied to the Commonwealth Heritage Forum Training Programme. This unique opportunity will allow me to develop skills in digital technologies, architectural conservation, and heritage management.
I’m super excited to expand my knowledge of heritage management and conservation and applying what I will learn.
I attended high school at St. Augustine’s College where I completed my studies in 2001. I continued my education after that, earning an Associates of Science in Architecture in 2004 from The College of The Bahamas and a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture & Urban Design in 2014 from South China University of Technology. Although fluent in English, I was able to learn Chinese (Mandarin) during my studies in Guangzhou, China.
I am currently employed at BRON Ltd. as the Associate Principal for Architecture, and I am the founding member of the Architecture Team.
With over 20 years of experience in the Architecture and Built Environment industry I am registered and listed as #139 in the Bahamas, as a Professional Licensed Architect.
I am extremely excited for the opportunity to participate in the Architectural Conservation Training Programme in Antigua. I chose this programme because it would give me the opportunity to learn new processes and procedures from an architectural historic preservation standpoint with the use of technology for mapping, analyzing and managing data.
I also hope that this knowledge could at some point in the future help with our local resourcing and planning programs back home in The Bahamas. I am most interested in how technology and how master planning intertwine to help with management of data.
I like to think of myself as a cosmopolitan girl, having spent my formative years in Trinidad and Barbados; and then in Cuba for 6 years, while undertaking my Bachelor of Architecture. The unique vernacular architecture of all these places, especially in Cuba, influenced my passion for architectural heritage.
As an Architect at the Ministry of Works & Transport (MOWT) in my home country of Trinidad & Tobago, my main responsibilities involve design for a wide range of public buildings and spaces, but I have had the honour to get involved with a few notable architectural conservation projects, like Queen’s Royal College and President’s House. Wanting to delve into the policy side of the built environment, led me to subsequently pursue the M.A in International Planning and Sustainable Development at the University of Westminster in London.
Back home, we have a very limited pool of professionals with specialized training in architectural conservation, so this opportunity to participate in the Antigua Research Studio is golden for me. The similarities in Antigua’s cultural and architectural heritage to that of Trinidad, means I will be able to easily apply, and transfer knowledge gained here about digital research tools used in architectural conservation, within MOWT’s Historical Restoration Unit upon my return home.
I am most excited about networking with my fellow Caribbean counterparts here. I envision the future formation of alliances amongst us, to strengthen support for heritage conservation efforts throughout our region.
I am a Heritage Clerk at the National Parks Authority attached to the Heritage Department. My passion for history sparked my interest in heritage preservation.
My deep interest in history, art and architecture, my desire to make a positive impact on society by preserving and promoting cultural heritage preservation and my interest in pursuing a career in heritage preservation, architecture and planning motivated me to apply to the Commonwealth Heritage Forum CHS Training Programme.
I am hoping to learn some new historical research methods (other primary sources to understand the history of a particular site or building). I also want to learn about policies, laws and regulations related to cultural heritage management, scientific methods and technologies used to conserve and restore cultural heritage, such as materials analysis, environmental monitoring and imaging techniques, architectural styles, building materials, construction techniques and conservation practices to understand how to preserve historic buildings and structures.
I’m from the beautiful island of Jamaica. I have a B.A in History & Archaeology and a M.A in Heritage Studies which I exercise daily as the Assistant Archaeologist in the Field Unit of the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT). I’m also a freelance archival research assistant and the founder of Archaeology ThinkTank Jamaica, a heritage consultancy that provides archival data collection services in Jamaica for overseas researchers in the higher education industry.
I applied to the Commonwealth Heritage Skills Training Programme to learn how to utilize digital technologies to generate useful and lasting digital records of Jamaica’s archaeological and heritage resources insitu. Archaeological appraisals, evaluations, impact assessments and heritage and systematic surveys are common activities of the Field Unit which can be enhanced by or made more efficient through the incorporation of digital technologies being taught here in the training programme.
I am also excited to learn practical techniques in the restoration of historical architecture. Historical architecture is a heritage resource that we interface with often during both urban and rural surveys so learning how to map, manage and restore these assets is imperative. These skillsets will go a long way in assisting the JNHT in its mandate to protect and preserve the island’s material cultural heritage.
I’m a Land Use Planner with the Ministry of Planning and Development, Government of Trinidad and Tobago. I have served also on the board of the National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago where I am also a life member. My professional qualifications are Dip. Design, B.Sc. (Hon) Environmental and Natural Resources Management, International Relations and M.Sc. Urban and Regional Planning. My passion, activism and career has been in natural and cultural heritage conservation management.
The Antigua Research Studio is an exciting opportunity to learn and share new practical and interdisciplinary leaning skills of the documentation of the historic and contemporary architectural forms and design of St John’s city and the process to develop a conservation management plan.
Also to be part of a creative team of fellow Caribbean and international participants who are building our Caribbean heritage conservation technical and management capacity, that will form part of our future heritage conservation leaders.
Many thanks to the course agency, coordinators, trainers, funders and beautiful people of Antigua and Barbuda to be part of this training experience.
As the Senior Heritage Preservation and Research Officer at the National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago (NTTT) I lead the Heritage Preservation and Research Department in site monitoring, documentation and research, legally listing heritage sites, stakeholder engagement, and working closely with local communities, local government officials and international organisations. I strongly believe in the work that we do at NTTT, and the best part of my day is hearing people thank you for introducing them to a side of the country’s history, architecture and heritage, that they have never seen or read about.
I hold a BSc in Geography and History, and a Master of Philosophy (MPhil) in Geography from the University of the West Indies – my MPhil thesis focused on the role of cultural heritage in shaping a community’s sense of place, belonging, and identity. I am currently the Project Lead for the US Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation funded Resilient Heritage Trinidad and Tobago Project, which looks at proactively assessing and planning for resilience and adaptation of heritage sites in the wake of Climate Change in T&T.
I am particularly excited to dive into the training at this Research Studio which is relevant to my daily responsibilities at the Trust as well as learn about the history and best practices of Antigua. Learning about using technology in this training will give us a huge advantage to work more efficiently in the field with limited staff. The Caribbean is such a unique place, and a training like this located within the region, is extremely valuable to preservationists like me and I can’t wait to learn all I can from another island and share what I have learned with my colleagues back home in Trinidad!
I was born and raised in Dominica (not the Dominican Republic!). I’m very optimistic about the future of architecture and the development of innovative tools that create new frontiers for design. However, my passion lies in understanding historic architecture.
I’m a 5th year Architecture student in Havana, Cuba at the Technological University José Antonio Echeverría. Havana is a city that has withstood the test of time and now exists as a testament to the ingenuity and skill of its built heritage. During the pandemic I escaped to Dominica. I started taking and posting photos of the traditional architecture of its historic houses, because when Hurricane Maria in 2017 decimated the island, I was afraid these houses would not be around for long. I became a part of the Surviving Storms team to create ‘ Still Standing’, a book on traditional vernacular architecture where we analyzed why the ‘ti kai’ houses of Dominica withstood multiple hurricanes with little or no damage. Through interviews and analysis, I began to see that our answers to building a resilient nation has been with us all along.
I’m very fortunate to be part of this internship because this program will give us the foundation for the much needed awareness and preservation of our Architectural Preservation and Heritage in the Caribbean.
Day 1: (left) Trainees explore the Catholic Church at St John's – currently unused and in a bad state. (right) Trainees spend the morning at Government House, grounding their skills and expertise within the wider context of the social and cultural development of Antigua and Barbuda, and the Eastern Caribbean, with an overview of architectural form in St John's. Teaching was delivered by Brent Fortenberry and Dr Reginald Murphy.
Congratulations to Sarah Neville (Consultant Project Coordinator at the Commonwealth Heritage Forum) and trainees, Desley Gardner and Kara Roopsingh, for their fantastic interview on ABS TV. Click here to watch online, approx. 1.46.