Living Histories of Sugar

Marisa Wilson (Curator), Nathalie Bertaud, Marva Newton (Artist), Black Sage (Phillip Murray) (Artist), Jodie Lyn-Kee Chow (Artist), Michael Nicholson (Artist), Yvonne Lyon (Artist)

Research output: Non-textual formPerformance

Abstract / Description of output

Living Histories of Sugar in the West Indies and Scotland: Transnationalisms, Performance and Co-creation is an Arts & Humanities Research Council-funded project which aims to recast the way we think about, understand and live with the transnational and unfinished nature of the sugar industry in the West Indies and Scotland.

The primary aim of the project is to decentre established historical narratives about sugar, enslavement and sugar work by encouraging performance artists and audiences from the West Indies and Scotland to contest, resignify or otherwise rework the historical record. We seek to develop resources and creative environments that give agency, voice and space to those who remember sugar differently than existing historical narratives.

Most of the six performance artists on the project (Marva Newton, Black Sage, Alec Galloway, Louise Wylie, Jodie Lyn-Kee-Chow and Michael Nicholson) have generational links to the sugar industry, either through histories of enslavement in Trinidad and Tobago or Jamaica, or through family connections to sugar refinery work in Greenock, Scotland.

Our key focus is on the performance artists and their stories, but we will also encourage oral participation from audiences who will view the final performance, currently scheduled to run in Kingston, Greenock and Edinburgh during Black History and Calypso History Month, October 2022.

Creative outputs will exist beyond the life of the project through a podcast and this website, and will reveal how archival materials have been repurposed into new or re-mixed songs and historical reenactments, with links to the digital archival collections. We will also compile two audio CDs of the songs and historical reinactments, professionally recorded at Sound Sound Studios, Edinburgh (
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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