Las Sesiones Isleñas
(the Island Sessions)
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Relations between the world’s islands are often ripe with contradiction. On the one hand, the islands of the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, and Arctic Oceans—not to mention the Mediterranean and Caribbean Seas—share important ecological and historical commonalities. Their geographies have brought about social and biological diversities upon which the survival of the planet now depends.
On the other hand, these islands have, at many junctures, found themselves on opposite sides of a variety of divides. They have occupied different geopolitical positions, brought about distinct cultural systems, and often do not find themselves in contact with each other in the so-called “public sphere.” Yet clear resonances exist between the issues that islands tend to be confronted with; and the importance of solidarity in the face of these challenges is now more crucial than ever.
The Island Sessions is a community forum in San Juan, Puerto Rico which utilizes music from the world’s islands (i.e. Pacific, Indian, Arctic Oceans; Mediterranean and Caribbean Seas) to foster rigorous, practical and vibrant engagement with issues pertaining to climate change.
The forum consists of two elements:
1. Weekly discussions about the diverse forces which shape environmental politics in the Caribbean and other islands around the world (such as policy, geopolitical iniquities, citizen engagement (or lack thereof), cultural choices)
2. Educational programs (designed by the Islands Sessions participants) for children; the programs integrate elements of mindfulness, cultural history, marine biology, “island music” and environmental stewardship to convey the importance of caring for the world’s coastal ecosystems
The Island Sessions (or as it is more commonly known, Las Sesiones Isleñas) consists primarily of graduate students from the University of Puerto Rico, but all members of the public are welcome. The educational activities to date have taken place in an elementary school near campus. We have plans to broaden our geographic scope in the near future, bringing our activities to locations such as dance studios, community art spaces, and, of course, other schools.
The members of las Sesiones Isleñas are: Alexandra Mihailovic Court, Gabriel Suárez, John Soto, Ana Romañach, Sofía Lebrón, Alissa Torres, Sharif El-Gammal Ortíz, Ana Portnoy Brimmer, Cesar Arroyo, Julio Gratacós, José Rivera Belaval, Jaydy Mir, Jacqueline Jiang, Richa Bhalla, Alejandro González, Pier Angeli LeCompte, Essah Cole, and Antonio Suljic, with the support of Nick Faraclas.