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  • Violence Prevention Alliance

Community Groundswell for Creatives for Peace

Calvin Palmer in performance

Calvin Palmer has always wanted to show-case his lyrical talent and developed into a well-known artiste. The 35 year-old is getting an opportunity to hone his skills through Creatives for Peace, an initiative of the Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA) and Island Coffees Cafe Ltd.

“It is a dream of mine to be [associated] with an organisation like this that can

transform me not only into an artiste, but as also as a humanitarian,” he said, noting that he heard about the initiative through a friend.

The father of two who is from Jones Town is convinced he will emerge as one of the top talents from the initiative. “Me win already!” he said with conviction.

Palmer however described the experience as “mind blowing” as he has got the opportunity to develop positive songs that can uplift others “I come from Kingston 12 but I don’t think that is the address that makes you the person. I feel that it is your heart and the destination that God has for you. The experience is mind blowing. When I’m on stage I feel free and happy. The topics that I choose to sing about makes me feel like I can save a life,” he said.

Palmer is among 80 participants in the Creatives for Peace Competition who are being developed, personally and professionally, as they learn about the creative industry through training in performance, stage presentation and the protection of their work through copyright workshops. The initiative, which commenced in February enables young people to become positive community influencers and role models for their peers and the young generation through the creative arts.

Paula Surtees (fifth right), Managing Director of Island Coffees Café Ltd take a group photo with some of the participants in the Creatives for Peace Competition.

Paula Surtees, Managing Director of Island Coffees Café Ltd, and one of the conceptualizers of the initiative said that the programme has attracted participants from the communities of Parade Gardens, Craig Town, Tower Hill, Jones Town, Trench Town, Tivoli Gardens in Kingston and Spanish Town in St. Catherine.

She said that the participants have been engaged in workshops at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, with Grammy nominated, Ibo Cooper of the world-famous Third World Band and musical educator, where they have been taught how to perform, project their voices and how to deliver their songs. The workshops, she said, are on-going and will

conclude in February of 2023.

“At the end of the workshops the participants will receive a certificate of participation from Edna Manley College. We have also done a workshop with the Jamaica Association of Composers, Authors and Publishers (JACAP). That training covered copyright and how to protect and register their works,” she informed.

Mrs Surtees disclosed that the participants are being taught how to create their biographies as part of building out their portfolio. She said the year-long initiative will culminate next year in February during Reggae Month where the top three participants will be selected. She said the intention is to put together an album, which will be a compilation of songs from the participants.

Jonelle Llewellyn, Research Associate at the VPA, shared “As work is being done to build on the talents of the individuals, the project seeks to create further impact through the intervention. Needs assessments are underway with providing the necessary support and referrals to individuals from the at-risk communities and thus strengthening the protective factors.”

The initiative is being funded through the American Friends of Jamaica, and sponsored through Island Coffees Cafe Ltd, JACAP, Andrew Azar, Juice TV, Parents in Action and Smartkid Records.


Violence Prevention Alliance | Institute for Sustainable Development|3 Gibraltar Camp Way | UWI, Mona | Kingston 7 | Tele/fax: 702-2079 | | Cell: 363-1726, October 21, 2022

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