The medium is nothing without the message and the message last Friday, at our first public appearance in Melbourne for some years, was that public engagement is everything when it comes to mobilising communities to change the behaviour of elites.
EngageMedia celebrated a week of “project and strategic planning” with a launch of its first screening and video for change discussion tour (2011) taking in Victoria, Canberra and NSW.
Gertrude’s Brown Couch was host to about 50 of Melbourne’s social change media makers, from radio to video producers, activists and representatives from various Southeast Asian communities that have sought refuge here.
I’d opened the evening with a short history of activism and computer communications, from modems in 1990 to mobile devices and video over 20 years later. The needs are the same, the injustices greater, the technology more accessible and yet remote communities remain hard to reach and in many parts of the region, more at threat now than ever.
Andrew Lowenthal introduced our full team and an overview of our work from 2005 to the present. Enrico talked about our work from an editorial and Indonesian perspective paving way for the films we screened.
- The Unreliable World / Producer and Director Ellen Roberts
- Adidas: Stop Wearing Us Out / Produced by Oxfam Australia
- A Short Portrait Of Mamdouh Habib / Produced by Serge Stanley, Directed by Sara Kid
- A Step Back in Time / Produced by Indrani Kopal
As we closed the evening I was approached by some one who had heard me give a very similar introduction in 1993 at an event I’d co-produced, FIERCE-InterRave. We were raising funds for modems to be sent to Sarawak. In 2011 we’re still finding ways to improve communications for remote communities there, particularly those defending their forest homes and their native customary rights.
Another visitor to our event, a stalwart of Australia’s progressive movements for decades remarked that having come to our event had given him some heart that the good work continues, that it does so in-spite of diminishing funds and a culture of denial in Australia for Indonesian cultural studies in particular, that produced a generation of bi-lingual Australians adept at Bahasa Indonesian