Folklife and Research

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Bermuda Connections "Cultural Resource Guide"

Students in Bermuda inherit a beautiful island, to be treasured and cared for, and passed on to the next generation. These students also inherit a rich history and cultural heritage, born of discovery and settlement, invention and daring, pain and accomplishment. This series of educational materials offers teachers the opportunity to impart rich insights into Bermuda’s fascinating history to students of many ages.

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Chapter1

A Cultural Resource Guide for Teachers

Bermuda Connections Cultural Resource Guide for Classrooms contains a set of essays on the community culture and history of Bermuda and its relationship to the global context of culture, a classroom handbook, the video documentary Exploring Bermuda Connections, the CD Bermudian Musical Connections, and posters, all of which introduce students to traditional arts in Bermuda and to concepts and methods for understanding more about these expressions of local culture.

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Chapter2

Arts of Celebration

In this chapter, students will explore the traditions and rituals used to mark transitions in one’s life and to celebrate religious, national, and historic holidays and other occasions.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this chapter, students should be able to:

  • identify rituals and related traditions people use to mark transitions in their life...
  • understand how traditions are taught and passed on;
  • understand how holidays can help express ideas about family, community, & a national identity;
  • understand how traditions change;
  • understand how traditions are maintained;
  • list the characteristics of and make a traditional Bermudian kites

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Chapter3

Arts of Hospitality

In this chapter, students will learn what knowledge, artistry, and skills are valued as hospitality arts, and how masters of the arts have learned their skills.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this chapter, students should be able to:

  • analyse the concept of “being nice” as part of Bermudian culture;
  • describe the role good storytelling and conversational skills play in the hospitality trade;
  • enumerate the skills needed to be successful in the hospitality trade;
  • plan a hospitality business, including creating a marketing plan; and
  • understand the relationship between laws, social attitudes, and the economy.

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Chapter4

Arts of Kitchen

In this chapter, students will learn about the role food plays in defining and reflecting culture, community, and family. They will look at the roots of Bermuda’s traditional dishes and at ways that these dishes are being creatively adapted today.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this chapter, students should be able to:

  • identify traditional Bermudian foods;
  • trace where Bermudian food traditions originally came from;
  • understand how meals and foods reflect family history and traditions; and
  • recognise the role of food and shared meals in creating and maintaining family traditions.

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Chapter5

Arts of the Land

In this chapter, students are introduced to Bermudians who have applied ingenuity and creativity using the island’s natural resources to meet our needs and beautify our lives.  It teaches them to examine how knowledge, values, and skills related to the environment are learned and passed on.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this chapter, students should be able to:

  • describe the process of learning a trade or craft;
  • identify ways Bermudians have creatively used the natural resources for building, farming, crafts;
  • describe the process for quarrying limestone and its use in Bermuda’s vernacular architecture;
  • evaluate the use of pesticides and fungicides and natural alternatives for protecting crops;
  • evaluate the economic impact of cedar wood’s scarcity on craftsmen, businesses, and tourism; and
  • understand the characteristics of cedar wood and the steps necessary for creating a quality object

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Chapter6

Arts of Play

In this chapter, students will examine how sport and play often capture the spirit of family and community in Bermuda. Students will describe Bermudian games and toys and become aware of the different styles of play in their parents’ and grandparents’ time and today.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this chapter, students should be able to:

  • describe games played and toys made and used out of natural objects, recycled materials, and the imagination;
  • describe how to make a go-cart, explain ways to make it go faster, and understand the hazards associated with go-cart racing;
  • describe meanings associated with cricket by Bermudians; and
  • describe a cricket match.

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Chapter7

Arts of Performance

In this chapter, students will delight in discovering the cleverness and roots of Bermuda’s vernacular language. They will unmask the gombeys and discover where this rich dance and musical tradition comes from, what the dances mean, and how the costumes are created, as well begin to understand the symbolism that permeates the whole tradition. They will also examine where musicians get their inspiration for writing songs.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this chapter, students should be able to:

  • identify words and expressions that are distinctively Bermudian;
  • define gombey and describe the tradition’s roots;
  • understand gombey dancing as a narrative form of storytelling;
  • describe a gombey costume and the materials used to make one;
  • reflect on what it means to be a gombey crowd member;
  • define a calypsonian member; and
  • describe how songs are created.

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Chapter8

Arts of the Sea

In this chapter, students will gain an understanding of and appreciation for the history and traditions of boat building, racing, and fishing in Bermuda. They will consider the skills of children and adults in building boats and how people have learned their skills.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this chapter, students should be able to:

  • explain the history of boat building and boat racing in Bermuda;
  • compare and contrast oak and cedar as shipbuilding materials;
  • describe the reasons for the decline of wooden boat building and its replacement by fibreglass boat building in Bermuda;
  • analyse why boat building is a dwindling art in Bermuda;
  • understand the skill and teamwork involved in racing a fitted dinghy;
  • compare and contrast boat racing stories;
  • describe different methods of fishing and selling fish; and
  • learn how to make and read a shark-oil barometer.

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Chapter9

Being Bermudian

In this chapter, students will consider their multiple identities and how the latter are composed. They will analyse the complex mixture of public and private identities which people use to navigate within their community.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this chapter, students should be able to:

  • analyse their identity and its importance in relationships with others;
  • analyse objects for stories about Bermuda’s folklife;
  • identify international influences on Bermuda’s local culture and describe how they have affected the local culture; and
  • define characteristics of Bermudian culture.

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Chapter10

Family and Community Connections

In this chapter, students will learn what family folklore is and how it is expressed in family sayings, stories, objects, documents, and photographs. They will examine the connections each of us has with our families and with communities within Bermuda and throughout the world.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this section, students should be able to:

  • identify what is family folklore;
  • understand the roots of lodges and the role they have played in black Bermudian life; and
  • collect family stories, photographs, documents, and objects and create a composite picture of their family.

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Chapter11

The Globalisation and Localisation of Culture

Globalisation is not new to Bermuda, itself discovered during an age of global exploration. From the beginning, settlers had to adapt to local conditions to survive. They honed seafaring and trading skills. They carved furniture out of local cedar and ingeniously quarried limestone, cut it into slabs, and made roofs for their homes with conduits to catch, funnel, and store precious rain – their only source of fresh water.

Despite its small size and lonely mid-Atlantic location, the world came to Bermuda, with its settlers originating in England, and subsequent population coming from the Caribbean, the United States, the Azores, and increasingly now from around the world. - By Richard Kurin

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Chapter12

Gombeys, Bands and Troubadours

THREE TRIBUTARIES FLOW into Bermuda’s musical mainstream, giving it a rich and distinct identity: the music and dance drama of the Gombeys, a prolific tradition of marching bands, and a heritage of singer-songwriter troubadours. Over time these tributaries have deposited a fertile soil in which Bernudians have nurtured their musical expression and the continuance of their creative traditions. - by Ronald Lightbourne

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Chapter13

Resources

This chapter contains reference materials to aid in doing the activities suggested throughout Bermuda Connections chapters.

  • tips for conducting interviews;
  • forms and diagrams referred to in other areas of the book;
  • a defined vocabulary list of specialised terms that are in boldface in the rest of the book;
  • sample lesson plans about the gombey tradition, one for each grade level (these will give you an idea of how the same tradition may be presented and examined at different grade levels); and
  • further resources: books, web sites, and organisations that are good sources for information about undertaking community documentation work. Be sure to look on the Bermuda Connections website for more resource materials and lesson plans.

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