Commodity Frontiers and Environmental Change in a Challenged Coastal Region of Cuba

Having been awarded an AHRC Research Networking grant towards the project ‘Commodity Frontiers and Environmental Change in a Challenged Coastal Region of Cuba’, Commodities of Empire, at the University of London’s School of Advanced Study, has established a collaboration with the Fundación Núñez Jiménez de la Naturaleza y el Hombre in Cuba. This resulted in the setting up of a global network of scholars working on the historical impact of commodity frontiers and extreme weather events on vulnerable communities.

The project involved the production of a pilot documentary, Cuba: Living Between Hurricanes, in English and Spanish, exploring how a history of hurricanes and global commodity frontiers has impacted on the natural environment, and coastal and rural communities made vulnerable by excessive exploitation of natural resources and the inequalities of the global market. It  focuses on the local community of Caibarién, which was in the eye of Hurricane Irma in September 2017, and the surrounding region of Remedios, in north-central Cuba.

As well as bringing together relevant experts, a group of local people was established in Caibarién, with direct experience and knowledge of the historical changes in the area, as they relate to local commodity frontiers and the impact of hurricanes. Their input was particularly important for the production of the documentaries. A series of workshops were also held in Cuba, exploring the wider themes and showing the results of the filming.

The film was written and produced by Prof. Jean Stubbs and Dr. Jonathan Curry-Machado, and directed by Prof. Michael Chanan.

The film, Cuba: Living Between Hurricanes, is now available on-line, at

For further information about this project, please contact Jonathan Curry-Machado.