The Barbuda Archaeological Research Center

 

 The Barbuda Archaeological Research Center (BARC) recognizes the need for increased collaboration between research disciplines and between researchers and local communities.  Since 2005, CUNY students and researchers have been engaged in science, education, and community outreach on the island of Barbuda in the Lesser Antilles, West Indies.  NSF-funded projects led by Dr. Sophia Perdikaris (Brooklyn College and Graduate Center CUNY) with Paleoenvironmental coordination by Dr. Allison Bain (Université Laval), and hosted by Dr. Reg Murphy of the Antigua and Barbuda Parks Department, with cooperation from the Barbuda School System, and the Barbuda Council have proved exceptionally productive in archaeology, paleoecology, marine biology, ethnography, climate history, and international trans-disciplinary investigation of long-term island ecodynamics. A very successful international field school has been held during the January intersession since 2006, with research projects continuing into the summers.  NSF support to Dr. Perdikaris’ Islands of Change project has allowed direct contact between students and teachers in New York, Barbuda, Iceland, and Orkney, with innovative use of digital place based learning tools and school to school contacts that have brought Barbudans to NYC and Iceland, and Icelandic teachers to Barbuda and Orkney.

 

Statement of Need

The Barbuda Archaeological Research Center (BARC) recognizes that the study of human-ecodynamics is inherently interdisciplinary.  No one discipline can explain human-environmental interactions or offer holistic solutions to build community resilience or long-term sustainability.  At the same time, issues of environmental sustainability are not abstract academic concepts divorced from local experience.  As climate change, environmental degradation, population growth and other factors threaten the sustainability and resilience of communities world-wide, the need for accessible human-ecodynamics research has never been greater.  Yet too often scientific research is conducted in silos where each researcher sees only one piece of a larger puzzle and too often excavations are conducted, interviews recorded, specimens collected and artifacts taken to faraway laboratories without the outcomes of such research being made available and accessible to local communities. There is a clear and pressing need for greater collaboration between research disciplines and between researchers and the communities in which they work.

 

Mission Statement

Recognizing the growing international interest in interdisciplinary research on Barbuda, in January 2011 the Barbuda Council in collaboration with the City University of New York (CUNY), Brooklyn College, the Global Human Ecodynamics Alliance (GHEA), the Human Ecodynamics Research Center (HERC), and the CUNY Graduate Center founded the Barbuda Archaeological Research Center (BARC).  BARC is intended to serve the dual purpose of establishing a multidisciplinary research station on Barbuda and ensuring community relevance and ownership of all research conducted on Barbuda.

 

The Barbuda Archaeological Research Center is Committed to:

  • Collaborative partnerships with Barbudan colleagues
  • Coordinated interdisciplinary research
  • Community engagement and participation in research
  • Educational outreach
  • Local curation and display of finds from Barbuda

 

The Barbuda Archaeological Research Center Provides:

  • Multidisciplinary research facilities at the three-structure, five-acre field station
  • Opportunities for interdisciplinary research, collaboration and networking
  • Logistical support
  • Onsite climate-controlled curation facilities
  • Onsite weather station

 

Use of the BARC Field Station Requires:

  • Annual renewal of the Barbuda Research Permit administered by the Barbuda Council
  • All research is made available and accessible to the Barbudan community
    • Prior outreach initiatives have included poster presentations, museum displays, work with Barbudan schools, Archaeology Day, and involvement of community members in research
    • All coursework offered at the research station is freely available to qualified members of the Barbudan community

 

The Barbuda Archaeological Research Center welcomes additional collaborators who share our commitment to equal partnership with Barbudan colleagues, coordinated interdisciplinary research, community engagement, educational outreach, and curation of Barbudan historical, cultural and ecological finds on Barbuda.  BARC recognizes that time and funds used for logistical purposes are time and funds not used for research.  In support of research on Barbuda, use of the station is available for a nominal fee that covers maintenance, upkeep and utilities.  BARC welcomes individual researchers or research teams but is purpose-built for field schools.  As BARC develops, we hope to expand the campus of our field station to include new structures, new disciplines, and new university partners.

 

Past Work (2005-2012)

  • Partnered with International Researchers on Barbuda
    • Coordinated scientific investigation of human-landscape-seascape-climate interactions by scholars from CUNY, the Caribbean, Canada, the UK, Iceland and France
    • Community and teacher exchanges between the United States, Barbuda, Iceland and Orkney
    • Higher Education on Barbuda
      • NSF-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Januaries 2006-2012
      • Three CUNY doctoral projects centered on Barbuda
      • Partnership with K-12 Education
        • Kids Archaeology Program with Sir McChesney George Secondary School students
        • Reading Lagoon and Science Lab with Holy Trinity Primary School
        • Guest speakers at Abice Vocational School
        • Community Outreach
          • Archaeology Day
          • Advocacy
            • Partnered with the Barbuda Council to create first laws for the preservation of antiquities and cultural artifacts
            • Partnered with the Barbuda Council to develop and implement the Barbuda Research Permit (required for all researchers on Barbuda)

 

For more information on HERC, GHEA and CUNY’s work on Barbuda please visit:

http://herc.ws.gc.cuny.edu/ and http://gheahome.org/

Current Work (2012-2013)

  • Expanding Capacity for Onsite Research
    • Installation of a weather station in April 2012
    • Installation of an agroponics facility, expected completion in Summer of 2012
  • Expanding Higher Education on Barbuda
    • Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Graduate and Undergraduate Field School, for students from CUNY and Antigua and Barbuda in Summer of 2012
    • Continued January Archaeology REU
  • Expanding Partnerships with K-12 Education
    • GPS+Camera Projects in collaboration with Sir McChesney George Secondary School, Abice Vocational School and Holy Trinity Primary School
    • Sustainability Theater and Dance Workshop with Babudan schools in January 2013
  • Expanding Community Outreach
    • BARC display at Caribana in collaboration with the Barbuda Ministry of Tourism
  • Continued Partnership with the Barbuda Council

 

Future Work

  • Expanding University-Level Partnerships for Interdisciplinary Research
    • Building collaborative relationships with institutions of higher learning in the Caribbean, in the United States, in the North Atlantic, and in Europe
  • Establishing REUs and Field Schools from additional disciplines and universities
  • Expanding Research Station Facilities
    • New structures to allow multiple disciplines to conduct research simultaneously
    • Expanded Accommodation
    • Edible landscaping for the station designed by secondary school students
  • Enhanced Capacity for Curation and Display
    • Collaboration with the Barbuda Council to create a Prehistoric Museum and a Historic Museum with both permanent and rotating exhibits
  • Integration of Onsite Research into Barbudan School System
    • Use of agroponics, weather station data and GPS+Camera Projects in local schools
 

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