- Dr. Katherine Smith, Director of Culture
Dr. Katherine A. Smith was born on the island of Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. She received her Ph.D. in History from Howard University in 2009. Dr. Smith began her employment at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College (HLSCC) from 2008 where she served as Lecturer and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Humanities, Social Sciences and Communication and later on as Deputy Director and Acting Director of the HLSCC Virgin Islands Studies Institute – all over a period of 11 years. During that period, Dr. Smith also served on the boards of various non-profit organisations and on national committees related to matters of culture and heritage. Between 2014 and 2018, Dr. Smith provided leadership and oversight, through a non-profit initiative entitled the Association for the Preservation of Virgin Islands Culture and Heritage (APVIH), for the implementation of all aspects and phases of the African Burial Ground Restoration Project at St. Philip’s Anglican Church, British Virgin Islands. Dr. Smith is also a longstanding member and member of the executive board of the Territory’s African Studies Klub (ASK). She was also a member of the Association for the Promotion of Arts and Culture (APAC). Dr. Smith is a member of Territory’s UNESCO Memory of the World Committee and the Virgin Islands Festivals and Fairs Committee. She was also a member of the Virgin Islands Climate Change Trust Fund Board. While she was completing research for her dissertation for the Ph.D. in the United Kingdom, Dr. Smith also worked at two museums in the UK: the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London as the Understanding Slavery Project Officer in the Learning and Interpretation Department and the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum in Bristol as a senior researcher – on its “Breaking the Chains: An Exhibition to Commemorate the 1807 British Parliamentary Abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade” commemoration. Although she minored in public history during her Ph.D., she is currently completing a Graduate Certificate in Museum Studies through the Harvard University Extension School. Dr. Smith has been very active in the fields of culture, heritage, and public history in the British Virgin Islands over the years. She has been actively involved in historical restoration, the development of historical sites and museums, the delivery of historical/heritage tours as well as training of stakeholders in the delivery of heritage tours (educators, taxi drivers), the development and coordination of certified training programmes, and the production of publications, in the areas of heritage and public history as well as teaching at the community college level. In fact, she continues to teach the Virgin Islands History course at the HLSCC. Dr. Smith has also made numerous presentations throughout the territory as well as overseas on matters of culture, identity, and heritage. In 2019 Dr. Smith returned, as Director of Culture, to the Government of the Virgin Islands – where she had been first employed after completing the Bachelor of Arts. As Director of Culture, she serves as the chief advisor to government on matters relating to culture, the arts and heritage. Along with management and supervisory responsibilities, she is tasked with presenting a reform strategy for the modernisation of the Department as well as managing the development of cultural policy, strategy, legislation, and projects. She is also tasked with working with relevant departments and outside agencies. Currently, Dr. Smith is interested in three broad areas: cultural heritage which includes the intangible and tangible heritage, the creative industries, and cultural and heritage education.