CAISO Hard Head Award for activists

Colin Robinson
Colin Robinson

DO you know someone who has transformed the world through transformational activism, artistic boldness and meaningful solidarity but has not been recognised? Nominate them for the inaugural Colin Robinson Hard Head Award being offered by the NGO CAISO: Sex and Gender Justice. The closing date for nominations is September 30.

The NGO said the award seeks to recognise and honour exceptional leadership in transforming how others see and imagine the world.

“We are inspired by the fearless ways in which Colin uses creative imagination to speak out against injustice. 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 Colin’s own praxis in speaking out insistently against injustice while demanding change and transformation,” the NGO said.

Coalition against Domestic Violence president and member of the Hard Head Award committee Roberta Clarke said, “This award, building on the work of Colin Robinson draws attention to social injustice and to those who are working without fanfare and with much sacrifice to hold the state accountable, deliver support to those most marginalised by discrimination and stand in solidarity with others for social change.”

CAISO director and member of the Hard Head Award Committee
Cathy Shepard said, “We hope that it will illuminate the work of individuals who are advocating on social justice issues in a creative, cross-collaborative way, that is, people who may not normally recognised in their lifetime.”

Roberta Clarke Coalition against Domestic Violence president and member of the Hard Head Award committee. -

Clarke said while people in TT do recognise the work of others around them, often those who work for social justice do so outside the public’s awareness.

“This award shines the light on this work and on the leadership of individuals and is informed by the sentiment of Margaret Mead 'never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world.' Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”

CAISO director and member of the Hard Head Award committee Angelique V Nixon said, “We think that this award will draw needed attention and offer support to the tireless and often invisible work that activists and community workers do locally everyday – particularly at the intersections of justice, creativity, and defiance. This award offers us a way to challenge the status quo and boundaries of what we consider activism and advocacy.”

CAISO director Angelique Nixon -

The award is open to people living in TT 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; and,

* commitment to continuous improvement and/or the potential for future development, which would be enhanced by the award.

CAISO said preference will be given to candidates who have not been widely recognised or have a strong institutional base of support. The award, to be presented annually, consists of a grant of $15,000 and a citation. The frequency of the award, eligibility criteria and the monetary value may be modified by CAISO in future years.

The nomination process is an open one, as anyone may nominate a candidate, and candidates may nominate themselves. The following information should be submitted:

a short (200 words or less) biography of the candidate, a current CV or resume of the candidate; and, a brief (500 words or less) justification and explanation as to why this person should receive this award.

The organisation and/or person submitting the nomination should send contact information, including name, phone number and e-mail address. Nominations must be sent via e-mail to

The award committee, which is composed of three CAISO directors and at least two representatives from partner organisations will review the nominations and make the selection. The recipient of the first Colin Robinson Hard Head Award will be announced on October 31.


"CAISO Hard Head Award for activists"

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