Media and innovation labs supporting digital creativity in Barbados
Find out more about this innovative practice
The Mirror Image Media and Innovation Labs (MMIL) is one of the programmes implemented under the Social Identity Renewal and Integrated Upliftment Strategy (SIRIUS) of Barbados, aimed at improving young people’s innovation, creative and entrepreneurial skills to help them start up their own business.
Designed to explore the concept of “mirror image”, the MMIL programme provides training in animation, film-making, app design, coding, robotics, artificial Intelligence and computer aided design (CAD). Young artists are encouraged and supported to produce innovative and indigenous content rooted in Barbadian history and culture. For instance, a web-based TV channel has been created, which broadcasts visually engaging entertainment, educative and thought-provoking videos for the Barbadian youth.
Other complementary components of SIRIUS include grant-writing trainings to enhance access to funding or awareness-raising trainings on intellectual property rights and issues related to copyright, patents and trademarks.
This initiative illustrates the commitment of Barbados to implement Goal 1 of the Convention and SDG 4. By actively encouraging young people to develop their digital creativity, media and innovation skills, the MMIL labs contributes to empower youth with relevant digital skills for employment and entrepreneurship (SDG Target 4.4).
The Mirror Image Media and Innovation Labs (MMIL) is a broad programme in media, images, innovation and identity designed to explore the Rt. Excellent Errol Walton Barrow’s notion of mirror image to build identity and national confidence. It challenges young artists to use this concept to produce innovative but indigenous music and accompanying videos firmly rooted in Barbadian history, culture, aesthetics, geography and tangible and intangible cultural heritage.
From these labs Identity TV was developed as an entirely web-based TV channel which delivers visually engaging video programming that entertains, educates and provokes meaningful discussion amongst Barbadian youth. The channel consists of a combination of breaking news with live video coverage, entertainment- drama, comedy, reality shows, lifestyle features, profiles, mini-documentaries, festivals, events and educational content.
The Social Identity-Renewal and Integrated Upliftment Strategy (SIRIUS) is a leadership and innovation crucible. It is the first of three planned innovation centres. The SIRIUS promotes and develops several “centres of innovation” by encouraging existing entities to refocus themselves into creative spaces of originality.
One of the components of the SIRIUS programme is the Mirror Image Media Lab (MIML) which provides training in animation, film-making, app design, coding, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence and Computer Aided Design (CAD). The Mirror Image Media Lab is aimed at empowering young participants to develop critical life skills and to start up their own businesses.
Other components of the SIRUS programme include:
- writing project proposals to access grant funding;
- sensitization to the importance of Intellectual Property Rights - this will be managed by a volunteer who is an Attorney and who will guide participants in issues related to copyright, patents, trademarks and negotiating strategies.
- Africa Trade Centre - to explore opportunities for the development of trade with Africa;
- Projects in specific areas such as Cell phone manufacture, Computer Programming, Drum Manufacture, Alternative Energy, Health and Wellness, Agriculture, Fashion/Design, etc.
The expected outcomes from the implementation of the SIRUS programme are:
- The development of key leadership skills, innovative approaches to problems, self-confidence and a strong sense of identity among youth partners and clients.
- The creation of an inter-agency approach to the building of stronger communities.
- The beneficiaries would be using their skills and innovation to build successful businesses in high quality products and services which are export ready.
- The beneficiaries routinely trade with the African Continent and Diaspora and generate foreign exchange.
- More specifically, the SIRIUS is working to achieve the following strategies/ objectives stated in the National Youth Policy
Strategy 1: Employment
Encourage and support young people to become more entrepreneurial in their approach to employment. The talents and energy of young people will be channelled towards the potential growth areas of ICT’s, Sports, the Cultural Industries and Agriculture.
Strategy 2: Education
Explore and develop other learning methodologies, such as “experiential learning”.
US$ 40, 000