The Award is inspired by the ways that CAISO’s founding director Colin Robinson used creative imagination to speak out against injustice. The Award recognises and honours 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 connects political advocacy, creativity and coalition building.

The Award is named after 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 applied these attributes throughout his life to speak out insistently against injustice while demanding change and transformation.

This year’s award is open to Community Organisers living in Trinidad and Tobago, who:

❖ Are engaged in activism for social change, promoting the values of human rights and justice;
❖ Demonstrate transformative leadership and courage in their work/politics;
❖ Demonstrate artistic boldness and creativity;
❖ Are committed to organising with others on shared issues/concerns and building coalitions to effect social change;
❖ Possess any of the following attributes: focus and clarity of vision and purpose, relentlessness, and/or resilience.

We define community organising as ways to mobilise around geography, shared space, shared experience, interest, need, and/or concern.

According to last year’s winner, feminist educator, organiser and researcher, Ashlee Burnett:

I’m grateful for the pioneers who have gone before me and those who have taught me how to lead fearlessly and how to navigate fear when it surfaces. Receiving this award gives a special kinda fuel! Sometimes we exist in the world of activism and advocacy and can become tired or demotivated when change is slow or even when you’re not affirmed.

Award Details

Prospective nominators and nominees are invited to email [email protected] (Subject: 2023 Hard Head Award) if you have any questions.

Nomination Process and Submission

The nomination process is an open one: that is, anyone may nominate a candidate, and candidates may nominate themselves. All nominations must be completed with supporting documents as outlined below.
Be prepared to share and submit the following information:

● Short biography of the nominee
● Current CV or resumé of the nominee
● Justification and explanation as to why the nominee should receive this award, including clear descriptions and details of how the nominee meets the criteria and connections between creativity, advocacy, and coalition building.
● Examples of work completed and accomplishments.

Nominations Closed for 2023.

Selection process:
The Hard Head Award committee (composed of three CAISO Directors, two representatives from partner organisations) will review the nominations and select a shortlist. Then a panel of external Judges (to be announced) will select the winner.

Date of Announcement:
The recipient will be announced during the Hard Head Award Ceremony planned for 10th December 2023 – Human Rights Day.

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