A poetry of resistance: the Santiago de Cuba carnival as transformative performance art and archive.
University of Brighton
Year of enrolment: 2019
This thesis will explore the Santiago de Cuba carnival as a ‘moving poem’ (Arnedo-Gomez, 2006; Irobi, 2007) made real through the gaze of those who are positioned as spectators and also of those who are involved in and responsible for the process of constructing the carnival through their participation. I will examine the idea that by spectating and participating they are simultaneously building a space that is the carnival. This is an interdisciplinary project using oral history, original poetry and autoethnography to explore space, memory and identity through some of the participants- spectators in relation to the Santiago de Cuba carnival. I aim to explore everyday familial and intergenerational relationships of some of those involved in all aspects of the carnival before, during and immediately after; how the carnival disrupts their everyday lives and routine and conversely how their everyday lives disrupt their preparations for and participation in carnival.
I will also be arguing that the Santiago de Cuba carnival functions as a moving archive - a repository of individual and collective histories that are otherwise marginalised (De La Fuente, 2001). I will be using oral history (Dore, 2012; Thompson and Bornat, 2017) to listen to eight individual participants’ worlds of narrative (Maloof, 2015) and story-telling to themselves and each other about how they experience carnival; about the participants’ lives immediately (three to six months) before, during (the two consecutive weeks in late July) and immediately (the subsequent two weeks) after it. Using original poetic writing, I will be exploring my own positioning and experience of researching the carnival and the challenges, issues and considerations that may be raised as a consequence.