Inspired by the fearless ways in which Colin Robinson uses creative imagination to speak out against injustice, CAISO: Sex and Gender Justice is pleased to announce the inaugural Colin Robinson Hard Head Award. This award seeks to recognize and honour exceptional leadership in transforming how others see and imagine the world, particularly in the spheres of Transformational Activism, Artistic Boldness and Meaningful Solidarity. The purpose of the Award is to support individuals working towards equity and justice for all, whose work – like Colin’s – connects political advocacy, creativity and coalition building.

The Award is named for Colin Robinson’s 2016 book of poems, You Have You Father Hard Head, to celebrate Caribbean understandings of the phrase, “Hard Head”, which signifies persistence, stubbornness, relentlessness and focus. These attributes, along with radicalism and resilience, are necessary for speaking out against power and how it is exercised, in the home, community, or by economic and political elites. For the purposes of this award, “Hard Head” reflects the ways Colin has applied these attributes throughout his life to speak out insistently against injustice while in demanding change and transformation.

Award Criteria:

The award is open to persons living in Trinidad and Tobago, who are engaged in activism for social change, promoting the values of equity, human rights and justice for all; and whose current or past work demonstrates:

  • Commitment to organising with others on shared issues/concerns and building coalitions to effect social change;
  • Impact above and beyond their stated job expectations, if activist work is for remuneration;
  • Success in bringing attention to and mobilising action towards social justice; 
  • Commitment to continuous improvement and/or the potential for future development, which would be enhanced by the Award.

Award Details:

Preference will be given to candidates who have not been widely recognized or have a strong institutional base of support.

The Award shall be presented annually and consist of a grant in the amount TTD$15,000 and a citation.

The frequency of the Award, eligibility criteria and the monetary value may be modified by CAISO: Sex and Gender Justice in future years.

Nomination process

The nomination process is an open one: that is, anyone may nominate a candidate, and candidates may nominate themselves, Submit the following information to the email address below:

  • Short Biography of candidate (200 words)
  • Current CV or Resume of the candidate
  • Brief justification and explanation as to why this person should receive this award (500 words)
  • Identify who is submitting the nomination (organization and/or person) with contact info – name, phone number, and email address.

The closing date for nominations is 30 September 2020

Where should it be sent? Nominations must be sent via email with above info to hardheadaward@gmail.com.

Selection process: The Hard Head Award committee (composed of three CAISO Directors and at least two representatives from partner organisations) will review the nominations and make the selection. 

Date of Announcement: The recipient of the first Colin Robinson Award will be announced on 31st October, 2020.

About CAISO & Colin Robinson

CAISO aims to foster a forward-thinking, visionary and human rights approach to sexual orientation and gender identity; secure full inclusion in all aspects of national life, social policy and citizenship for LGBTI+ persons; develop capacity, leadership and self-pride in communities; and mobilize an advocacy movement for social justice.

Colin Robinson is Director of Imagination for CAISO: Sex & Gender Justice. His thought-leadership on sexuality, gender, power and justice in the Caribbean is globally recognized. Robinson’s contributions to analysis, culture, advocacy and organizations span four decades. He is one of Trinidad & Tobago’s leading national LGBTI advocacy voices; and has also led pioneering organising work in LGBTI communities of colour in the United States while an undocumented immigrant for over a decade. Robinson co-founded the Audre Lorde Project, an organizing centre; and co-chaired the board of directors of the international human rights advocacy group Out|Right International.  Colin is also an author, a newspaper columnist, a mas player, and an all-round creative, using his words and activism insistently — calling for us all to imagine creatively and be transformative.