Archiving Santiago de Cuba Carnival experiences: poetry and storytelling as ways preserving of cultural memory.

Activity: External talk or presentationOral presentation


Salsa, carnival and the religion of Santeria are rooted in West African cultural traditions and have become significant markers of contemporary Cuban identity, social and cultural life (Irobi, 2007; Sarduy and Stubbs, 1997). Despite this, communities of Afro Cubans, from which much of this cultural expression originates and is maintained, are marginalised and unheard, subject to an (in)visibility in Cuban national identity discourse. (Zurbano, 2012). The Santiago de Cuba Carnival (SdCC) is one such cultural marker. This paper reports on my PhD research that explores how Santiagueros tell stories of their everyday lives in relation to the Santiago de Cuba Carnival and how those stories can be amplified and archived. I will also briefly reflect on how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted my research methods and what that means in terms of how the research participants are able/supported to tell their stories.

By inviting the participants to also write poems about their stories in relation to the SdCC, they can reflect creatively on their contributions to cultural memory and new knowledge in relation to the SdCC, speaking directly to the reader instead of being spoken for. Using research generated poetry including spoken word, I explore encounters in/of the SdCC. By publishing their poems and stories online, the intention is to create an archive of their storied memories of the SdCC directly from their experiences.
Period18 Jun 2021
Event titleOral History Network Ireland 2021 Online Conference: Storytelling and Oral History
Event typeConference