A new academic journal has been published with an exclusive focus on Cayman culture.
The Journal of the University College of the Cayman Islands recently published an issue called “The Caymanian Landscape,” which aims to provide local scholarship on a variety of topics.
Livingston Smith, chairman of UCCI’s department of social sciences and director of research and publications, said this edition was special because of its exclusive focus on all things Cayman.
“The thing about the journal is it goes in[to] detail,” said Mr. Smith. “The papers have to meet acceptable standards of scholarship … and breadth and depth of research. We believe that the university has a responsibility to deepen the intellectual exercise and to expose the students to scholarship, but also to bring the public along with us when we explain how we’ve actually arrived at our conclusions.”
The journal, which costs $25 and is available in the UCCI bookstore, was published on April 6 and contains articles written by local professors and other scholars with a Cayman knowledge base.
There are sections on Cayman art and Cayman literature, and Chief Justice of the Cayman Islands Anthony Smellie penned an article on the meaning and importance of judicial independence. The Batabano culture is explored in detail in two articles featured in the early pages of the journal.
“It’s marketed to the interested reader, the lay reader,” said Mr. Smith. “We’re going to give copies to all the members of the [Legislative Assembly]. The library’s going to have copies of it because it’s not just a money-making event. It’s meant to deepen thinking and to show what we can do and are doing here. I’d say it’s for the interested lay person and for the people who want more depth on Cayman.”
Another aspect of local importance, the financial sector in the Cayman Islands, is explored in five separate papers in the journal. One article is about sustainable economic growth, and there’s another on Sports Business and one that explores the economic value of local coral reefs.
Several of the authors addressed a crowd on April 6 at Sir Vassel Johnson Hall about the project. Special guest Dan Scott, regional managing partner of Ernst & Young, spoke about the importance of supporting and digesting Caymanian scholarship.
“As you review the essays featured in the Journal, I encourage you to think about what you want the future landscape of Cayman to look like – how do you fit into this picture,” said Mr. Scott. “I believe great ideas often come from academic circles, in particular, the social sciences. The concept of purpose is one of those ideas.”
J.D. Mosley-Matchett, UCCI’s dean of graduate studies and professional development, was one of three authors of an article dedicated to rebranding the external reputation of the Cayman Islands.
“We already know that outside the country, when you say the Cayman Islands, the first thing that comes to mind is money laundering and we’re going to open up an account to do this, that and the other with our ill-gotten gains. And that’s ridiculous,” Ms. Mosley-Matchett said. “Anyone who lives in this country knows how hard it is to open an account. You’re not just going to get on the phone and make it happen …. Finance is our strongest leg. We are trying to get more legs, but right now, finance is the strongest leg. So how do we go about helping the financial industry to get people outside the country to understand that Cayman is not what it was depicted as in ‘The Firm’?”
Ms. Mosley-Matchett’s paper found that one problem of fixing the country’s reputation is that there is no readily available information for scholars to dissect and analyze. The authors of the paper found themselves converting data from the United Kingdom as a proxy for information on the Cayman financial sector, and they concluded that there can be no rebranding until there is better data available.
And that’s exactly what “The Caymanian Landscape” hopes to accomplish. Ms. Mosley-Matchett wants the outside world to understand Cayman the way she has come to know it, and she said the best way to make that happen is to get all of the island’s leading scholars on the same page and in the same book.
“The Cayman Islands is a marvelous place. That’s why I live here,” said Ms. Mosley-Matchett, who previously taught at the University of Texas at Arlington.
“It’s important to have serious work brought forward from Cayman. We’re a tiny country and most cities in the U.S. are bigger than we are, but we have a lot of wonderful people who have thoughts that need to be shown the light of day. The only way we can do that is by supporting each other through our literary talents.”