The Sixth Lecture

in the

Memorial Lecture Series for Alphonsus “Arrow” Cassell

Thursday November 14

The Chance Pond Mermaid and Diamond Snake Meme: Contending Issues in Gathering Our Volcano Stories

The Chance’s Pond Mermaid and Diamond Snake folk tales are used as the starting point in exploring lived experiences of the Soufriere Hills Volcano from a decolonizing research perspective. It is argued that in utilising this perspective the voices of the people on Montserrat and their knowledge of the volcano are acknowledged as of critical importance in determining how their stories are collected, interpreted, and utilised. Methods of story gathering that objectify insider knowledge are criticised. Finally, it is argued that the decolonising research approach is transformative of both participant and researcher. 

Vernie Clarice Chambers Barnes is an independent scholar specialising in the Psychosocial Effects of the Montserrat Volcanic Disaster, Coping and Intervention.

Formerly Professor of Education and Psychology at the William VS Tubman University Liberia; Visiting lecturer in Public Health in Developing Countries at the University of Birmingham;   Programme Officer of the Women and Development Unit (WAND) University of West Indies, Barbados.

Developer and Host for nearly 15 years of “Under the Tamarind Tree” through which participants from Montserrat, the Caribbean and elsewhere share oral histories on ZJB Radio Montserrat. 

Publications and Talks to include:

  • Barnes VC. (2019). Wretched of the Earth” Vulnerabilities/Capacities of Women In Disaster: Some Intersectional Issues (Work in Progress)
  • Barnes VC. (2018). “Mother’s Day Musings From Under the Tamarind Tree”-An Interview with Peggy Antrobus. Interviewing the Caribbean, Volume 2.
  • Barnes VC. (2017). Inclusive Education: Perspectives on Pedagogy, Policy and Practice-Two chapters on Post-Conflict and Disaster Perspectives from Liberia and Montserrat. Edited by Zeta Brown, Routledge Education Series
  • Barnes VC. (2017). “A Yuh Look Pan Hell Wuk Yah”-Identity Conflicts in a British Overseas Territory. Paper presented at the Anguilla Open Campus Country Conference, April
  • Barnes VC. (2015) Volcano@20 Discerning Shifting Rhythms and Beat. Annual Saint Patricks Day Lecture, Open Conference, Montserrat
  • Barnes VC. (2014).The Mandela Legacy: Feminist Perspectives-Panel Presentation at WVS Tubman University Harper Maryland Republic of Liberia, March.
  • Barnes VC. (2012) Masquerading in Montserrat: Significance, Motifs and Implications for Children/Youth Development-Paper presented at a Symposium entitled The Masquerade Lives, Guyana , Ministry of Education December 13-14
  • Barnes VC. (2011) The Montserrat Volcanic Eruption Fifteen Years On: Adolescent Self-Perceptions and Identity, Paper presented at the Montserrat Volcano Conference, MVO, Cultural Centre Montserrat
  • Barnes VC. (2010) Post-Colonial Hybridity as Represented In Arrow’s “Proud to be Montserratian-Paper presented at the Annual Arrow Symposium, Cultural Centre Montserrat
  • Barnes VC. (2009) The Psychosocial Effects of the Montserrat Volcanic Disaster: Some Reflections Fourteen Years On, La Semaine De La Caribe CORECA Guadeloupe
  • Barnes VC. (2007) “Holding On Or Letting Go”: Experiences from the Montserrat Volcanic Eruption, Methodist Magnet, UK
  • Barnes VC. (2006). Psychosocial Effects of the Montserrat Volcanic Eruption and Coping: Some Reflections Ten Years On, Fourth Conference Cities on Volcanoes (IAVCEI) Quito-Ecuador
  • Barnes VC. (2002) Shepherding in Ashy Times: Pastoral Care with Volcano Displaced Montserratians in the UK. Paper presented at Montserrat Conference, University of West Indies School of Continuing Studies
  • Barnes VC. (2001) “Stress “Bussin” or Counselling in the Montserrat Volcanic Disaster. Journal of Eastern Caribbean Studies, Vol. 26 No.3 September
  • Barnes VC. (2001) A Gender Analysis of the Psychosocial Effects and Coping in the Montserrat Disaster. Journal of Eastern Caribbean Studies, Vol. 26 No.2 June
  • Barnes VC. (2000) God Talk in Disaster: Some Gendered Experiences from Montserrat. Journal of Black Theology in Britain, Issue 5,
  • Barnes VC. and Bradshaw R. (2000) Affirming God’s Presence in Natural Disaster. In Joe Aldridge (2000) Praying with Power, New York Cassell
  • Barnes VC. (2000) The Montserrat Volcanic Disaster: A study of Meaning, Psycho-social Effects, Coping and Intervention. PhD thesis, University of Birmingham UK