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The Digitised Banyan Archive







After five years of work with the National Library Services of Trinidad & Tobago, York University in Toronto, Canada and the University of the West Indies at St. Augustine, Trinidad, the Banyan Archive has now been digitised and a comprehensive database of over 14,500 records of metadata for the over 3000 files has been compiled. The database is available free on request from Banyan.


This unique and invaluable archive, the world’s largest digitised video archive of Caribbean culture and society since the invention of the videocassette, is now being made available to Educational institutions and libraries for students and researchers.



                                                                                                                                                                                            YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THE METADATA DATABASE HERE







To get a deeper appreciation of this historic archive you can access some video presentations on the archive here: (Banyan Archives)  (6 minutes)


THE BANYAN COLLECTION 2 - The Power of Video on Vimeo  (6 minutes)




If you are interested in seeing a longer (37 minutes) presentation made to the Turning Tides conference at the University of the West Indies in 2016:

TURNING TIDES talk on Vimeo

Password: Spoiler


(Paid) Access to the Banyan Archive can be obtained through ALEXANDER STREET PRESS







Stephen Stuempfle


Since the 1970s, the Banyan team has been carrying out innovative and high-quality documentary video projects on the history and cultural traditions of Trinidad and Tobago and numerous other countries in the Caribbean. These community-oriented and collaborative projects have resulted in one of the most wide-ranging and in-depth archives of Caribbean thought and creativity.


I am very pleased to have had the opportunity to visit the climate-controlled Banyan Archive in Port of Spain. The scope of the Archive's more than 3000 video recordings is unparalleled. Among the vast holdings are documentaries of performances of Orisha rituals in Trinidad; the Phagwa festival in Trinidad and Guyana; Junkanoo in Jamaica, the Bahamas, and Belize; La Marguerite and La Rose events in St. Lucia; and various Amerindian traditions in Guyana and Dominica. The Archive also encompasses hundreds of interviews with Caribbean artists and other figures, such as writers C.L.R. James, Derek Walcott and George Lamming; calypsonians Roaring Lion, Lord Kitchener, Lord Pretender, and David Rudder; visual artists Carlisle Chang, Ken Critchlow, and Christopher Cozier; and filmmakers Euzhan Palcy, Horace Ové and Perry Henzell.


Stephen Stuempfle

Executive Director

The Society for Ethnomusicology,

Indiana University





Milla Cozart Riggio,


Dr. Christopher Laird, at the head of a very small team, has accomplished the impossible under extremely difficult circumstances. For nearly half a century he has preserved this extraordinary collection in careful climate-controlled conditions, digitised it in the most sophisticated formats available and catalogued each scene and sequence in detail. It is easy to use and in searching through the archive one constantly encounters material that in itself is rich, even astonishing, in its range and reach. Nowhere else can one find such insightful, intimate and illuminating moving picture records of seminal and iconic figures of the post-colonial Caribbean.  Especially invaluable are those of who have now passed which offers new generations unique opportunities to encounter the minds of: Lloyd Best, Beryl McBurnie, Rex Nettleford, Derek Walcott, C.L.R. James among many others. It is far and away the largest the best and the best preserved, catalogued, digitized and protected archived in the Caribbean



Milla Cozart Riggio,

PhD Harvard University,

James J. Goodwin Professor Emerita, Trinity College, Hartford CT;

Founding Board member of the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics.