Haiti: Beyond the Earthquake 

A series of FREE cultural events

The Birmingham Action for Haiti campaign was launched on 16 January and is a student-driven initiative which will culminate in a series of fundraising activities (Mon 25 Jan – Sat 30 Jan) across the Edgbaston Campus. 

Haiti: Beyond the Earthquake is a cultural strand of the campaign. Three events ran over the duration of Semester 2, organised by Dr Louise Hardwick (Department of French). These sessions aimed to raise awareness of the rich diversity of Haitian culture (including works from the Haitian diaspora).  Admission to all three events was free.

1. Thursday 28 January, 5-6.30pm Muirhead Tower G15 Main Lecture Theatre

Free film screening of Ghosts of Cité  Soleil dir Asger Leth (2004) This film, in English and Haitian Creole (subtitled), tells the story of two brothers, 2Pac and BIly, Haitian gang leaders living in the infamous Cité Soleil slum which borders Port-au-Prince. Featuring Wyclef Jean.

2. Thursday 4 Feb, 5-6.30pm location TBC

Film screening of Vers le Sud dir. Laurent Cantet. This bilingual film (French/English) is set in 1970s Haiti and explores sex tourism in the last days of Duvalier. It follows three women of a certain age from North America who embark upon relationships with young Haitian men, and is adapted from three short stories by Dany Laferrière, a Haitian writer living in Canada. An English summary will be provided for non-French Speakers.

3. Wednesday 10 March Reading Group chaired by graduate student Rosalie Marshall (Department of French).

Dr Louise Hardwick will lead the discussion of the short story written by Dany Laferrière, ‘La Maîtresse du colonel’, a chapter taken from La Chair du maître. The text is in French, but an English summary will be available. This is one of the short stories which inspired the film Vers le Sud. Louise will also discuss Laferrière’s reaction to the Haiti earthquake after meeting him at the end of February 2010.

At all events it will be possible to make a voluntary donation to the Bham Action for Haiti campaign should you wish to do so. No contribution is required to attend any events. It will also be possible to purchase a copy of a Creative Writing Anthology featuring poems/art/short stories by Birmingham University students and international writers in response to the events in Haiti, edited by students Nina Paul and Helen Shepherd.

Events were open to all staff, students and public.