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EngageMedia Staffer Awarded Dunlop Asia Fellowship

Anna Helme of EngageMedia has been awarded a Dunlop Asia Fellowship by Asialink
Anna Helme of EngageMedia has been awarded a Dunlop Asia Fellowship by Asialink
Anna Helme of EngageMedia has been awarded a Dunlop Asia Fellowship by Asialink, a non-academic centre of The University of Melbourne and an initiative of the Myer Foundation, who promote public understanding of the countries of Asia and creates links with Asian counterparts. The fellowship will involve travelling to Indonesia to partner with the artist collective Ruangrupa to train video makers in the use of video-sharing technologies on the web, assess the community media infrastructure needs of video groups in order to increase their capacity for worldwide distribution using the Internet, and gather content for the website.

The Dunlop Asia Fellowship for 2007 was awarded jointly to Lucinda Hartley who will undertake an internship in sustainable community housing in Vietnam and Thailand, and to Anna Helme from EngageMedia who will travel to Indonesia to meet and train video makers in the use of video-sharing technologies on the web.  The fellowships were awarded at the annual Dunlop Asia Awards hosted by Asialink in Melbourne on Thursday 6th of December 2007. The awards were presented by Sidney Myer, Chairman of Asialink and Director of The Myer Foundation, and Sir Ninian Stephen, former Governor-General of Australia.

This will be an opportunity to train video makers in Indonesian communities, who will then be able to pass on these skills to others and help initiate ongoing projects. For EngageMedia this will be an opportunity to have a deeper experience of the community media networks of Indonesia, learn first-hand about their particular needs for community media infrastructure and explore how the Internet can best be used as a tool for social change in this cultural and political context. It is a chance to learn from Indonesian video groups about how to best use the Internet as a distribution tool when access to the web is generally poor, and to explore with them the creation of sustainable and effective distribution models in this situation.

The Dunlop Asia Fellowship is an initiative designed to assist young Australians in their efforts to make lasting contributions to Australia-Asia relations through people-to-people exchange and interaction. The value of such face-to-face meetings is very high when it comes to forming real collaborative relationships and routes for cultural exchange. EngageMedia hope to extend this ability to further these conversations about the issues of our times through social-networking and the sharing of the independently produced video about social and environmental concerns.

EngageMedia would like to acknowledge our partners Ruangrupa who will be our hosts in Indonesia for the fellowship. Ruangrupa are an artists collective based in Jakarta, who conduct video-training workshops all over Indonesia in addition to producing the art criticism journal Karbon and running the biennial OK.VIDEO festival. EngageMedia and Ruangrupa have partnered in 2007 to distribute works from OK.VIDEO on the website, present works contributed by members of within the festival and train video makers in Jakarta in online skills. This is a great opportunity to strengthen this partnership and work together to share new media skills with many video makers around Indonesia whose exposure to online technologies has been very limited so far.

We hope to enable the sharing of stories from independent video makers, citizen journalists, artists and their communities across our borders. With this fellowship, we hope to form collaborative partnerships with artists and community media practitioners here in Asia in order to form cross-border relationships that can introduce Australian audiences to regional ideas and experiences and in turn help bring Australian concerns to our neighbours.

One of the most fundamental ways to encourage both peace and social justice in our region is to begin conversations with our neighbours – to share our stories and deepen understanding between us. This can now begin to be achieved in a grassroots way using online communications technologies and through the power of the moving image.