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28 Apr 2023

Caribbean Connections events

Written by Paul Williams
Two women sit on a stage. One plays the drums with her hands and the other plays a trombone.
Yilis del Carmen Suriel and Hannabiell Sanders from Ladies of Midnight Blue, an Afro-Latin percussion & brass duet
We are hosting a series of events celebrating contemporary Caribbean culture in the Southside of Glasgow this spring.

Update | March 2024: Pollok House is now closed for approximately two years to facilitate the second phase of a £4 million programme of investment led by Glasgow City Council. The works will comprise roof and general building fabric repairs.

A series of events throughout April and May 2023 will focus on the dynamism of Caribbean arts and culture while exploring historical connections and the complex relationship between Pollok House and the Caribbean islands. We hope to increase awareness and appreciation of Caribbean culture and heritage by highlighting its richness and diversity with the local community in Glasgow.

Stuart MacKinnon, National Trust for Scotland Operations Manager at Pollok House, said: ‘This is a unique opportunity to engage with Caribbean culture and enjoy its cuisine, music, history and traditions in an accessible way. The Caribbean Connections events, such as the Disrupting the Archives conversations at the Mitchell Library, offer a relaxed setting to explore the historic relationship between Pollok House and the Caribbean.’

Inspiration for the Caribbean Connections events came from the Trust’s Facing Our Past project, which investigates the wider international connections of the places in our care. As with many Trust properties, the heritage of Pollok House and its family history have multi-generational links to the Caribbean, including Jamaican plantations, and provides an opportunity to explore and commemorate this in an appropriate way.

British-Grenadian academic Lisa Williams, founder of the Edinburgh Caribbean Association, has worked with the Trust’s Facing our Past project team to design the events to celebrate contemporary Caribbean culture while acknowledging and exploring the complicated history between the Caribbean and Scotland. Lisa said: ‘Caribbean Connections aims to honour a unique regional culture born of resistance, resilience and blending of cultures from around the world. Our centuries of intellectual and cultural creations continue to leave their mark across the world.’

“I invite everyone to come together in community for an empathetic and positive recognition of our shared past, present and future.”
Lisa Williams
Founder of the Edinburgh Caribbean Association

Caribbean Connections events taking place across Glasgow include:

Island Slice: History of Rum

Pollok House
Friday 5 May 2023, 6.30–8pm

Join a unique rum tasting experience that explores the history of rum, Pollok House and its historical connection to Jamaica. Rum has been produced on the Hampden Estate since 1753, when it was a plantation under the ownership of the Stirling family. This iconic Caribbean drink was a driver of the early global economy and became integral to both Caribbean social culture and spiritual ritual.

During the tasting, visitors will have the opportunity to sample a range of premium rums carefully selected to showcase a variety of rich and diverse flavours. Led by master distiller Sylvester Herman from the Caribbean island of St Lucia, visitors can experience different types of rum, from light and fruity to bold and robust. Sip, savour and socialise with other rum connoisseurs for an evening in the elegant surroundings of Pollok House with stunning views of the surrounding country park.

Disrupting the Archives

Mitchell Library, North Street, Glasgow G3 7DN
Saturday 13 May 2023, 2–4.30pm

Join Lisa Williams and the National Trust for Scotland for an afternoon of conversation and exploration to ‘disrupt the archives’ and delve into the complex history of Jamaican Scottish heritage, with a special focus on Pollok House. Hosted at the iconic Mitchell Library, this informal conversation will provide a unique opportunity to come together as historians, researchers and community members to exchange a variety of perspectives on our shared history.

Disrupting the Archives will discuss the connections between Scotland and Jamaica, the ways in which the historical legacies continue to impact our lives today and how to move forward with hope and unity. Don’t miss this opportunity to engage with Jamaican Scottish history in a new and innovative way, and be part of a conversation of the past, present and future. Tea, coffee, Caribbean herbal teas and snacks will be provided. Tickets are free but please register in advance.

Rum and the Drum

Pollok House
Sunday 21 May 2023, 710pm

Get ready to dance to the rhythm of the Caribbean, indulge in delicious food, and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere at a night of celebration of Caribbean culture at Pollok House. The celebration will take visitors on a journey to the islands, with music and performances from Ladies of Midnight Blue and DJ Melvina Moves, as well as mouth-watering Caribbean cuisine for guests to experience the energy, dynamism and flavour of the Caribbean.

Three metal stills, with various tubes and pipes coming out of them, stand in a row in a distillery. The wall behind them has a bright mural depicting the sun setting over the sea. A parrot is on the right.
The Island Slice rum distillery

The Caribbean Connections events are part of the National Trust for Scotland’s vision to deliver nature, beauty and heritage for everyone. The project is one of many contributing to our objective to be a leading provider of inspiring heritage visitor experiences.

Find out more about our Nature, Beauty & Heritage for Everyone strategy