The Musgrave Medals, awarded each year by the Institute of Jamaica, did not happen last year, due to COVID-19. Last year was a cultural non-event in Jamaica, basically. But this year, they are on!
I am especially delighted by Steven Woodham’s Gold Medal. A gifted violinist, he has never rested on his laurels and fed his own “celebrity ego” – although I have always loved his performances. He has always “given back” to young people, infusing his love of music and imparting the knowledge and skills to young Jamaicans, uptown and downtown. He is a warm and very kind person and a beautiful musician.
I recall meeting Ishion Hutchinson – born in Port Antonio, Portland – many years ago now when he was just starting out as a poet. My former boss at the U.S. Embassy met up with him. He was going to study at the University of Utah (I don’t think he enjoyed Salt Lake City very much) and was a little nervous – and young. Now he has several poetry awards under his belt at age 37, and is an Associate Professor in Literatures in English at Cornell University. I shared one of his poems from his first collection, “A Far District,” which I do love – back in 2011, here.
Special congrats to Steven and Ishion, and to all the other awardees, of course!
The Institute of Jamaica Announces the 2021 Musgrave Awardees
(Kingston: June 4, 2021)-The Institute of Jamaica announces ten recipients of its coveted Musgrave Medal Awards. These distinguished ladies and gentlemen have demonstrated excellence in their respective fields of Literature, Art, and Science, going down in history as recipients of the oldest award in the Western Hemisphere. The medals are awarded in the categories of gold, silver, bronze, and youth advocacy and leadership.
Recipients awarded for eminence in Arts are Mr. Steven Woodham, OD, Mr James “Jimmy” Tucker, CD, and Mr. Fitzroy Russell. Mr. Woodham, awarded with the Gold Medal, is recognized for his pioneering work in music coupled with his philanthropic work with inner-city youths. Similarly, Tucker is awarded for his work in music, using it as a vehicle for advocacy- he is awarded a silver medal. Meanwhile, Fitzroy Russell is awarded Bronze for his work as a sculptor, specifically those at the Jamaica Giants Sculpture Park and Art Garden cited as a major factor in the development of sustainable tourism in the parish of Westmoreland.
Professor Mona Webber, Professor Mark Harris and Mr. Hawthorne Watson are awarded for excellence in the field of Science. Referred to as an agent of change, Webber is a renowned marine scientist who has a significant body of work that brings with it high impact earning her a Gold Medal. Professor Harris, with a career spanning 40 years as a geoscientist, is awarded the Silver Medal. His work over this time led to developments in Jamaica’s agricultural practices.
Watson’s bronze award comes owing to his extensive research on cannabidiol, advancing the understanding of the subject for the scientific community both locally and internationally.
In the field of Literature, the awardees are Dr. Ishion Hutchinson, Professor Shara McCallum, and Mrs. Veronica Blake- Carnegie. With a long list of accomplishments in what is considered to be early in his career, Hutchinson has been conferred with the Gold Musgrave Medal. His prolific work includes 6 publications (poetry collections, poetry chapbooks, and art books) and these have earned him several world-renowned awards.
Professor McCallum earns the Silver Musgrave Medal for extensive high-quality work in relation to her numerous collections and accolades, as well as being a nurturer of Jamaican talents.”
Lastly in this field is Blake-Carnegie, who is cited as an outstanding educator and publisher whose work embodies Jamaica’s cultural heritage.
Mr. Sujae Hugh Boswell is the 2021 recipient of the Youth Advocacy and Leadership award, as he has an impressive track record in community development geared towards youth in Jamaica. He is also lauded for the strides that he has made in his own professional development, which has seen him representing Jamaica on an international stage.
The Musgrave Medal Awards is an annual presentation held in the month of October, the month in which Jamaica recognizes Heroes Day. Unfortunately, owing to the Coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 ceremony was cancelled.
The 2021 recipients will be awarded in October on a date to be announced to the public. The Institute of Jamaica congratulates the recipients and commends their excellent work which have undoubtedly contributed to nation-building.