Field Work Term, Student News

Field Work Term Spotlight: Roberta Martey

Image of group gathered in living room

Roberta Martey ’25 studies Politics and Psychology at Bennington. She has a particular interest in Black Diasporic Studies and Environmental Advocacy and integrated her academic knowledge into a practical setting during her FWT at The Alliance of Rural Communities in Trinidad.

How did your FWT relate to (or diverge from!) your studies at Bennington?

At ARC, helping to establish a clothing library was an effective method for addressing the textile waste while fostering community development within the local community I served in Trinidad.

What did a typical day at your FWT site look like? 

During my FWT, a typical day involved café hunting with both my supervisor and friend, followed by a drive from my residence in Port of Spain to Tunapuna, where the ARC CoCreate Hub is located—the primary site for my work. 

Our routine at the hub commenced with a brief, informal meeting to review the progress of ongoing projects and offer assistance where needed. This session served as a platform to exchange ideas and provide feedback on each other's endeavors. Subsequently, I would spend most of my day in ARC's coworking space, engaging with fellow creatives and activists and gaining insight into their projects. If there happened to be an event scheduled for the day, I had the opportunity to immerse myself in the dynamics of Trinidad's activist circles and share insights from my own work with this vibrant community. 

The day typically concluded with a meal shared with my supervisor, indulging in Trinidad's diverse and delectable cuisine.

What surprised or challenged you the most about your position?

What surprised and challenged me most was the realization that despite my background in Black diasporic studies, environmental advocacy, and my previous involvement with Clean Ocean Action, assimilating into my new role wasn't as straightforward as I had anticipated. 

While there were some cultural similarities between Ghanaian and Trinidadian contexts, I encountered significant socio-cultural differences between the two regions. Adapting to these variations and customizing environmental preservation efforts to suit the unique characteristics of each society was a rewarding, yet demanding, aspect of my experience.

What do you hope to do for your next FWT?

For my next FWT, I hope to work with a social-environmental group or organization in West or Southern Africa.