Starting May 29th, six US students will participate with the Indonesian NGO Kampung Halaman to produce multimedia stories in Yogyakarta, an academic and cultural hub of Indonesia. We are excited to be working directly with Indonesian students on stories in three different communities that will examine culture, identity, and daily life through their perspectives.
The title of this blog in Bahasa Indonesia—literally: “the language of Indonesia”—means “We Learn” or “We Study”. Kita is the inclusive form of we, referring not only to the speaker but to the audience as well. So in this upcoming adventure, who are the “We”?
Daniel Turner: A project co-leader and recent Environmental Studies graduate from UNC, Daniel traces his passion for documentary photography to the National Geographic magazines he has read faithfully since childhood. By combining his Environmental Studies degree with extensive courses in Film Studies and Photojournalism, Daniel is interested in documentary storytelling that explores human relationships with their land and the natural world. Certified as a PADI Divemaster, Daniel has studied, scuba dived and traveled throughout Central America and the Caribbean Sea. Though he will not be going underwater for this project, Daniel can’t wait to explore life and culture in Indonesia.
Nicole Welsh: A Project co-leader and Anthropology major and Social and Economic Justice minor at UNC, Nicole is a rising Junior whose passion lies in exploring, eating, building relationships, reflecting, and trying everything. Nicole, who spent her past summer studying in Singapore and India, is excited to have the opportunity to return to Asia, and work with local communities in Yogyakarta to help them share their experiences and ensure that their voices are heard. What Nicole is most excited for how ever is the prospect of not only creating a great cultural exchange and learning about the extensive Javanese culture, but the friendships which will be built and strengthened.
Amirah Jiwa: An ice cream connoisseur and third culture kid, Amirah is majoring in Economics and Peace, War, and Defense at UNC. As an aspiring lawyer, she is looking forward to ‘doing justice’ to the stories she discovers in Indonesia by working with Kampung Halaman to document them, which will, with any hope, bring to light issues important to the Javanese people today. She is equally excited by the prospects of delicious street food, white-sand beaches, and the learning that will inevitably come from interacting with the diverse and unique Indonesian culture.
Grace Farson: Grace just finished her first year at UNC, where she plans to major in Photojournalism and Food Studies. Before starting her college education Grace spent a gap year in India and Nepal, where she helped work on a documentary video exploring rural birth control practices in the Katmandu Valley. As a video producer for the Reese Felts Digital Newsroom at UNC, Grace has worked on multiple video and photo documentary projects focusing on the Chapel Hill community. She loves teaching yoga and art, and climbing tall buildings. Grace is excited to have this opportunity to return to Asia, explore a new culture, and continue to tell stories from the region.
Kevin Briggs: A photographer from Ohio, spending the rest of 2012 completing degrees in Anthropology and Photojournalism at Ohio University’s School of Visual Communication. Driven by a desire to document the social and visual environments he finds himself in, Kevin looks for the common threads of humanity tying together our unpredictable world. He believes that the story is best told by those experiencing it, and is as excited about others telling their stories as he is about telling his own. In his free time, Kevin can be found tending his new addiction to the experimental world of stir-fry, awestruck and pouring through photo-books, or adding to the diversity of his ever-expanding music collection.
Jen Serdetchnaia: Jen graduated from the most amazing four years at UNC in May 2012, where she studied health policy and management, Chinese Mandarin and social entrepreneurship. Passionate about learning of the world around her, Jen wants to believe that the little changes do matter and to throw herself into development work, most notably through Empower U, the Uganda-based non-profit she founded in 2009. Some of Jen’s favorite memories include raging into the wee hours at house concerts in Amsterdam, staring agape at the Taj Mahal, and burning off her first two layers of skin on the beaches of Ecuador. In July, Jen is hanging up her non-profit cap for a bit when she starts work for IBM Consulting in Toronto, Canada.
And you, dear reader! We hope you will join us over the next seven weeks as we explore, travel, document, learn and share in the culture of Indonesia.