Virtual Language Festival 2020

Participant Bios


Peter A Roberts is Professor Emeritus of The University of the West Indies. He has been continuously attached to his alma mater for over fifty years. He is author of West Indians and their language, From Oral to literate culture, CXC English, Roots of Caribbean identity and A response to enslavement. He is also co-author of Writing in English: A Course Book for Caribbean Students. Roots of Caribbean identity was the co-winner of the Caribbean Studies Association Book prize for 2008 and A response to enslavement was the Independent Publishers 2020 bronze medal winner for World History. Peter Roberts was Visiting Professor in Afro-American Studies, University of Tennessee at Knoxville (1984-5); Senior Fulbright Fellow, John Carter Brown Library, Brown University (1994-5); Senior Fellow, Rockefeller Caribbean 2000 Project, University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras (1995-6); Visiting Professor, University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras (2001-2); and President of the Society for Caribbean Linguistics (1990-2). He is also co-founder of the annual Islands in between conference. Peter Roberts was Dean of the Faculty of Arts and General Studies 1987-89 and 1991-93.

Lise Winer is Emerita Professor, at McGill University, Canada. She is the author and compiler of several books on Trinidad & Tobago language: Varieties of English around the World: Trinidad & Tobago (1993); Badjohns, Bhaaji & Banknote Blue: Essays on the Social History of Language in Trinidad and Tobago (2007); and the Dictionary of the English/Creole of Trinidad & Tobago (2009). She is the (co-)author of numerous journal articles and book chapters, addressing topics including: multilingual code-switching and use of Caribbean Creoles in Hip-Hop lyrics; botanical and fauna lexicography; language of cuisine; historical sociolinguistic development of T&T language; ethnic lexis; health and medical terminology; standardization of orthography; folk etymology; intelligibility of reggae lyrics in North America; language of calypso; language in literature; and teaching English to Caribbean-background students. She is also editor of several historical novels and recordings from T&T.  A past president of the Society for Caribbean linguistics (2002-2004), she received a Distinguished Alumni Award from The University of the West Indies (2011), and the Frederic G. Cassidy Award for Distinguished Achievement in Lexicography or Lexicology from the Dictionary Society of North America (2017).

Dr. Diadrah Smith-Telfer is Lecturer at the University of Technology, Jamaica. Her research interests include syntax, Lokono Language, language documentation, language endangerment and revitialization, child language development, English Language at the tertiary level

Dr. Joseph Farquharson is a tenured Senior Lecturer in the Department of Language, Linguistics and Philosophy, and Deputy Dean for Graduate Studies and Research for the Faculty of Humanities and Education at The University of the West Indies, Mona. He is formerly a Visiting Researcher and Adjunct Lecturer in the English Department of the Albert Ludwigs Universität Freiburg. My research interests are Creoles, Lexicography, Dancehall, Morphology, Syntax.


Mr. Aubrey McWatt was born in Georgetown, British Guiana. He is of European, Native American, African and Lebanese descent, is multilingual and has lived and worked in seven countries on three continents. He is a Canadian citizen and a permanent resident of the United States. McWatt graduated from Queen’s College in then British Guiana, has a BA equivalency from Columbia University in New York and studied at the Wharton School of Business in Philadelphia, PA. Post retirement from a 30-year business career in pharmaceutical marketing at Merck & Co. Inc., he studied visual arts at the Seattle Academy of Fine Art. The art he creates is influenced by the belief that all elements in existence are interconnected. This influence manifests itself as a desire to capture the spirit within every object, animate or inanimate. His poems seek to capture the imagination and touch a deeper level of consciousness in the reader. McWatt has published books on his visual artwork work and his poetry. He recently released Red Man, a novel of historical fiction in Guyana. More of his art and writings can be found at

Dr. Travis Weekes is an award winning Saint Lucian actor, poet, playwright, director and cultural critic. He studied Literature at the University of the West Indies, Mona; Theatre at the Jamaica School of Drama and Cultural Studies at the Cave Campus of UWI.  As a critic, and dramatist, Dr. Weekes focuses on the Creole traditions and discourse in the theatre of Nobel Prize winning playwright Derek Walcott. He also uses this research to develop innovative dramaturgical approaches to his own theatre practice both as a playwright and director.  Indeed, he has written several plays and scripted the production “Jazz Country” which was staged as part of Saint Lucia’s presentation to Carifesta 2013 in Suriname. His play “The Field of Power” was staged to mark the celebrations of Nobel Laureate Week in Saint Lucia in 2015. His play, “The Fight for Belle Vue” has been translated into French Creole which he directed last year for a staged reading in Martinique. Dr. Weekes has worked as the Cultural Education Officer of the Folk Research Centre (FRC) in Saint Lucia, Lecturer in French-Lexicon Kwéyòl at Cave Hill, UWI and Lecturer in Caribbean Studies and Theatre Arts at the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College in Saint Lucia. He has also lectured extensively on Saint Lucian and Caribbean culture both in and out of the region.  He is currently employed as a Lecturer in Theatre at the Department of Creative and Festival Arts of the University of the West Indies, St Augustine.



Professor Hubert Devonish is retired Professor of Linguistics at The University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, Jamaica, and former President of the SCL (1994-96 and 2010-12).  Professor Devonish has researched and published in the areas of Caribbean Language Policy, Caribbean Sociolinguistics, Creole tonology and language education. Professor Devonish's publications include Language and Liberation: Creole Language Politics in the Caribbean; Talking Rhythm, Stressing Tone: Prominence in Anglo-West African Creole Languages; and Talking in Tones: A Study of Tone in Afro-European Creole Languages.

Ms. Charlene Wilkinson currently teaches in Academic Literacies and coordinates the Guyanese Languages Unit at the University of Guyana. She holds a B.A. and an M. A. in English from John Carroll University, Ohio, USA and Windsor University, Ontario, Canada, respectively. She has also pursued post graduate studies in Educational Theatre at New York University, NY, USA.

Dr. Tamirand Nnena De Lisser facilitates learning in Linguistics at the University of Guyana. She holds a PhD in General Linguistics from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. Her main research area is L1 acquisition of Syntactic Systems of Creole Languages. She has multidisciplinary research interests straddling linguistics and education.

Mr. Ovid Williams

Mr. René Zúñiga Argüello is a researcher and professor of English and Linguistics at Universidad Nacional in Costa Rica. Having studied at Universidad Nacional, and Universidad de Costa Rica, he has lectured and published articles on structure, phonology, and other aspects of the creole language from Lim?n, Costa Rica. He is now in charge of the research project: Limón Creole Grammar at Universidad Nacional.
Ronald Francis, PhD candidate and Teaching Assistant, The University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago - Kwéyòl/St. Lucian French Creole
Gloria Thompson Davis, Teacher and Author, Limón, Costa Rica - Limón Kryol/Limonese Creole
Josephine deWindt, Bachelor's student, University of Curaçao, Aruba - Papiamento/u
Silvano Hodgson, PhD candidate, Universidad Internacionale Iberoamericana; Director, IPILC, Nicaragua - Rami Ki Kreole/Rama Cay Creole



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