Rastafari Studies Conference, Photography, and More…

Professors Barry Chevannes & Jalani Niah


The University of the West Indies convened a Rastafari Studies Conference last week to mark the 50th Anniversary of the publication of the Report on the Rastafari Movement conducted by three scholars of the then-University College to make recommendations to Government as to what to do with the growing Rastafari movement.  Under the Chair of Professor Emeritus Barry Chevannes and co-ordinated by Professor Ras Jalani Niah, the conference presented papers from scholars and students from Jamaica, USA, Mexico, Ethiopia, Panama, the Caribbean, Italy, France and Australia on different aspects of the Rastafari faith and movement.

The 50-year-old Report was re-printed for the Conference, along with the Minority Report written by the Rastafari members of the delegation that travelled to several African countries to research the possiblity of re-settlement by African-descended Jamaicans. In an address at the Opening Ceremony, Professor Sir Roy Augier gave his personal recollections, as the only surviving author of the Report, of the history that led up to the Report, and candidly expressed his hope that in focusing on African repatriation, Jamaican Rastafari would not totally abandon the land of their birth.

Some of theworkshops and panel topics included: Rastafari Communities & Sustainable Development; Rastafari In the Global Concept; Rastafari, the State and Revolution; the Ethiopian Orthodox Cchurch as Spiritual & Cultural Liberator; and the Role of Rastafari Man & Woman. 

Over 3 days speakers explored different aspects of the Rastafari movement and stimulated conversations and discussions between participants and supporters of the faith, including UWI Professors Carolyn Cooper, Dr.Michel Barnett, Dr. Sonjah Stanley Niah and Dr. K’adaamawe K’nife — all of whom earned degrees at the UWI. The conference was telecast globally and the more than 70 papers will be published.


Jamaican art and culture encompasses all forms of expression, of which photography has been a focus from the early days of preserving local history in black&white stills.  Joanna Francis is a young photographer who has concentrated on the photographic art, with rewarding results.  In the current Jamaica Cultural Development Visual Art competition, Joanna received two Merit Awards and a Bronze medal for her entries and encouraged to continue honing her professional skills.  

Joanna was born in Kingston, Jamaica  and is a graduate of the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts where she majored in Painting, and also developed her passion for Photography. She learned the process of developing Black & White film, which she tremendously enjoyed. However, she has transitioned now from film to digital where she still enjoys the process of “developing” a photograph from its first stage of point and shoot, through editing, to the final stage of presentation.

Joanna started by taking portraiture photographs and photos of Jamaican scenery. Her present work is focused on beach scenes, natural life in Jamaica, and the people that make up the diversity of Jamaica’s culture.

Joanna has taken part in a couple of group exhibitions, as well as the Annual National Visual Arts Competition & Exhibitions. Her first entry in 2007 received merit and graced the walls of the National Gallery of Jamaica. She has been featured on COLLEGE LIFESTYLE TV proramme and Joanna currently has photographs in the 128 Gallery, located in Kingston, as well as Island Art & Framing, also located in Kingston.  She sells her prints as fine art and offers her services for promotional photo shoots, fashion features and weddings.




  ….. have a look at the photos of my Facebook Friend Elizabeth Barraclough‘s photos.  Here’s a link to some beautiful landscapes.





QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Negotiating the African Presence continues!

Dr. Jalani Niah, Co-ordinator; Rastafari Studies Conference


2 thoughts on “Rastafari Studies Conference, Photography, and More…

  1. Portrait Of The 1985 Handsworth Riots – Pogus Caesar – BBC1 TV . Inside Out.

    Broadcast 25 Oct 2010.

    Birmingham film maker and photographer Pogus Caesar knows Handsworth well. He found himself in the centre of the 1985 riots and spent two days capturing a series of startling images. Caesar kept them hidden for 20 years. Why? And how does he see Handsworth now?.

    The stark black and white photographs featured provide a rare, valuable and historical record of the raw emotion, heartbreak and violence that unfolded during those dark and fateful days in September 1985.


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