Wednesday, 4 March 2015

CARRYING ON THE LEGACY: The Rhodes-Trust Rex Nettleford Cultural Studies Fellowship turns 10

MAN OF DISTINCTION: The late scholar (right), receiving an award from Sir George Alleyne, epitomized excellence in the fields of arts and academia.

During his time with us, Prof. Rex Nettleford wore many hats and was known for many different things. Perhaps chief among them  the rise of the NDTC aside  is the intellectual rigour he brought to the world of academia, which spawned numerous books and journal articles, countless awards for eminent contribution to letters and the arts, the establishment of the Rex Nettleford Arts Conference (hosted by the Edna Manley College) and the genesis of the Rex Nettleford Fellowship in Cultural Studies.

Ten years later, the fellowship ranks among the most prestigious of its kind in the region and continues to unearth world-class scholars who have much to offer. Started in 2004, the fellowship was established by the Rhodes Trust to mark the centenary of the Rhodes Scholarships in the Caribbean and to honour the distinguished contributions Nettleford has made to higher education and to the cultural life of the Caribbean. The prize is awarded annually.

If you fit the profile of a budding Cultural Studies scholar and Caribbean native under the age of 35, then you could qualify for the 2015 instalment of the Rex Nettleford Fellowship. The application process is now open for suitably qualified candidates. Valued at £10,000, the award comes with an associated travel grant of £2,000. The awardee will be expected to use the tenure to either complete an existing piece of work or develop a new project and give a seminar, workshop or public lecture on his/her project.

The selection panel comprises representatives of the Rhodes Trust, as well as other distinguished persons in the intellectual and cultural life of the region. Closing date for applications is April 3rd. Log on to to learn more.

"Ten years is a lot to celebrate, and we are happy that [the fellowship] was established and that the funding is there to carry on the work," shares dancer-choreographer Marlon Simms, who worked closely with Prof. Nettleford and currently serves as the NDTC's Associate Director. "In a way, it feels like an extension of Prof."

Meanwhile, the Kingston-based Rex Nettleford Foundation has been busy staging regular projects all over town aimed at keeping alive the memory of a man who can never truly be replaced. Last Tuesday many of those who flocked to the Carib Cinema a year ago to witness Lennie Little-White's Long Live The King (the final chapter in a film trilogy), turned up to show their support for the local premiere of Selma, the Oscar-winning Black History feature that chronicles Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's heroic leadership at the height of the civil rights movement in 1960's America.

We think Prof. Rex would have applauded the film's authentic and respectful depiction of Dr. King's selfless efforts in sparking a social awakening that is still felt around the world today.

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