On Thursday, March 10, 2022, the Montserrat Volcano Observatory and its partners unveiled the latest exhibit in the Mountain Aglow Project, at the Montserrat Cultural Centre in Little Bay.
Mountain Aglow Junior is a 10ft display about Montserrat and the Soufriere Hills volcano eruption and its impacts, designed by students from grades five and six (2020/21) of the three local primary schools.
Ably hosted by Shirlian Queeley, Information and Media Officer at the Disaster Management & Coordination Agency (DMCA), the invite-only event was attended by dignitaries and students from the Lookout Primary School, Brades Primary School, and the St. Augustine Roman Catholic School. There were performances from the St. Augustine School Glee Club and calypsonians Steve “Ice Man” Weekes and Herman “Cupid” Francis.
Dr. Graham Ryan, Director of the MVO said when eruptions began in 1995, he did not know that our Soufriere Hills contained a live volcano. He said the new exhibit is a communication tool that allows children to have a conversation about this part of history that they never experienced. He added that the exhibit is now a permanent record which will inform the future and that the children have created something to be proud of.
Volcanologist Dr. Karen Pascal explained that the challenge was deciding how to organise the content from the children. All of the students were given a tour of Plymouth which was an impactful experience, according to students Rodney Fenton, Keauna Rodney and Ajahla Jailal in the perspectives they shared at the ceremony.
Dr. Pascal said the students also engaged with chief minister at the time onset of the eruptions Reuben T. Meade. Calypsonian Cupid shared his experience of living in that time and how it was interpreted in music. Kelvin “Tabu” Duberry was also another calypsonian and artist who shared their recollections with the students.
Dr. Pascal said it was important, not only for them to understand the science of what was happening with the volcano but how it affected life on the island.
Each of the six panels (inside and outside) of the dome shaped exhibit was done by a segment of the schools. Each school had two panels with grade five students making the contributions under one theme and grade six students doing another theme. The designs were then brought together by the team at RockPrints, Ruel Duke and Joshua Golden.
MVO’s Information & Education Officer Kathleen Retourne said not all of the contributions were able to be integrated into the panels. They have added all of the students’ work to display stands, so that they can be enjoyed by others.
The exhibit will be available for viewing by the public on Friday, March 11 from 8:30AM to 5PM at the Montserrat Cultural Centre.
The project was a collaboration between MVO, DMCA, the Montserrat Primary schools and the University of East Anglia. Mountain Aglow was a three-year long project (2019-2021), led by Prof J. Barclay (University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK) and funded by a Research Grant from the UK Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF).
View the project online at mountainaglow.com.