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Trading Dolls with Cameras – Video Workshop with Circa

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On June 15-16, EngageMedia teamed up with a group of educators from the Jakarta State University to have a working holiday in Bandung. The cool and fresh air was the holiday, while the working part was doing video training with a group called Circa HandMade in the village of Cihanjuang, Bandung (West Java).

Circa was founded by a long time creative campaigner named Ukke Kosasih. Several years ago, Ukke, a former staff at The Body Shop, came up with an idea to empower marginalised women by offering them sewing machines.

So, after crossing the Jakarta traffic and into the Bandung traffic, the team of trainers arrived in Cihanjuang on Friday, June 14 evening. A nice cool sleep before the two full training days.

The next morning, we were awoken by a loud blast of dangdut music from a nearby mosque. They were having an event. The first challenge of the day – how to record scenes without too much of those dancing noises!

The workshop students arrived around 8 am. There were 10 of them. All women but one guy (well, two guys including myself). The students were all doll makers. The oldest student was Teh Ita, the older sister of Mbak Ukke, and also the co-founder of Circa. The youngest was Iim, 15 years old. The only guy in the team, Aep, was Circa’s doll clothes designer.

For the next two days, the workshop went on to share stories, practice operating cameras, write scripts, and eat a lot of Sundanese food. In the end, the workshop finished with six videos with stories around the students’ work in Circa. I offered to call the video series ‘If the Dolls Could Talk’, but they thought it was too scary (read: Chucky in Child’s Play) and came out with ‘Cerita Di Balik Boneka Circa’ (Stories Behind the Circa Dolls).

Before we went home, each trainer was given a doll. I was also given a boy doll. I forgot its name but I called him ‘Poa’ now. Poa now guards my books.

A day after we left Bandung, all the workshop students shared their experience with other workers who were not able to participate since they had to take care of their children (and husbands, apparently) over the weekend. They said they want to make more and better videos.

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