Principal of the St Augustine Campus of the University of the West Indies Prof Clement Sankat says the steelpan, as the biggest manifestation of T&T's creativity, needs a fund to support its growth and ingenuity.
Speaking at Tuesday's opening ceremony for the International Conference on Pan and Panorama (ICP) at Queen's Hall, St Ann's, Sankat said: "Some of our creative minds continue to conduct cutting-edge research and innovation and use their creativity for product development and manufacturing of the steelpan. Professor Brian Copeland and Professor Clement Imbert, both from the Faculty of Engineering, have worked together to create the Steelpan Development Centre right here in our university and in our country."
He said the conference theme, Towards the Globalisation and Development of the Steelpan, had special significance for the university because its faculty and students continue to do considerable work to advance the musical instrument. Sankat praised Pan Trinbago president Keith Diaz and said UWI looked forward to working with the steelband body on a manufacturing facility for which a memorandum of understanding has already been signed.
He said the UWI's attention to the steelpan went even further as it provides education in steelpan playing, arranging and conducting through its Department of Creative and Festival Arts under the leadership of Jessel Murray.
"In addition, the UWI has also contributed towards the establishment of the National Occupational Standards in Pan Construction, the standardisation of the steelpan terminology, as well as the promotion of the steelpan around the world through the establishment of intellectual property rights, which must underpin the commercial success of any innovation," Sankat said.
"We have been doing very important work in this area and we have had great experiences in the last several years. I wish to note that it is a priority for UWI to continuously raise the knowledge, awareness and possibilities including creativity and innovation of this outstanding instrument.
"And, it is within this context that we are truly pleased to be associated with this conference which encapsulates all that is necessary to make the steelpan a world-class instrument recognised internationally. Without your participation, this conference will not be a success, as your participation will ensure the future success of the pan through more creativity, through knowledge transfer and hopefully a new entrepreneurial spirit will take hold in terms of how the pan would go forward."