Kim Johnson

Kim Johnson is currently the Director of the Carnival Institute of Trinidad and Tobago, and is considered by some to be the foremost historian of pan. He studied law at UWI, Cave Hill, but dropped out of Law School. He then worked with illegal migrants in Guadeloupe and Suriname, and with a charitable foundation in the Dominican Republic and Uruguay. In the 1990s he worked as a journalist. In 2001 he was awarded a PhD in sociology from UWI, Mona and thereafter worked as a regional manager for Fujitsu Caribbean, and then as a Senior Research Fellow at The Academy for Arts, Letters, Culture and Public Affairs at The University of Trinidad and Tobago. In 2011 he was awarded the Anthony Sabga prize for excellence in Arts & letters.

Johnson’s books include The Fragrance of Gold: Trinidad in the Age of DiscoveryRenegades about the steelband of the same name; Descendants of the Dragon about the Chinese presence in T&T; Tin Pan to TASPO: Origins of the Steelband Movement 1939-1951, If Yuh Iron Good You Is King and The Illustrated Story of Pan about the steelband movement.

His 2010 multi-media exhibition “The Audacity of the Creole Imagination”, commissioned by the National Museum and Art Gallery included a 13-minute film of the same name. Since then he has produced and directed Learning To Look about the experience of deafness and The Radical Innocence of Jackie Hinkson, about the artist, which were screened at the T&T Film Festival.

His docu-fiction PAN! Our Music Odyssey, premiered at the Sunny Side of the Doc film festival in France in July and will be aired on television in several countries next year. He is currently directing a documentary on pan in Nigeria: Our African Odyssey and one on young men in the Youth Training Centre, Wishing For Wings, based on Debbie Jacob’s book of the same name.

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