A workshop on creating trans-border understanding

By Jude Toyat

KUCHING: About 30 participants attended the “Borderlands – Exploring Commonalities and Overcoming Challenges in Sarawak” workshop held at Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus on Feb 7.


Professor Holger Briel delivering his speech to participants who attended the workshop

Professor Holger Briel delivering his speech to participants who attended the workshop


The session which was organised by Swinburne Sarawak’s Faculty of Language and Communication involved those from academic and research fields as well as other members of the public including media practitioners, local historians, government officials and those interested in research on oral heritage.


The one-day workshop conducted by Professor Holger Briel from Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, China focused on issues relating to the Sarawak-Kalimantan border and studying the oral history of the people living along these national borders; those that are inherited and built with economic, political and cultural agenda in mind.


He suggested methods of conducting an oral history project at specific locations, how to best interview people, the kind of media to use and how to conceptualise these projects to create the oral history of the community and thus increase trans-border understanding.


“New media and technology is getting more dependent and all must acquire the ability to approach new media to encourage the public especially the young people to be more sensitive to own and other’s individual histories, giving them the ability to question their own socialisation, while older people to be given public voice to educate people to the histories of their own ethnicities and those of others,” he added.


As for the Sarawak-Kalimantan border, he mentioned that it is important to hear the voices of people usually not heard to raise awareness about the complexity of border issues while complementing government-supported efforts to make border relations fruitful while decreasing the difficulties for those whose lives have been annexed by the border.


He stressed that people needed to think about what was needed to run a local oral history project successfully and the specificities to be considered which may include cultural, geographical and technical aspects.


He mentioned that media training was also needed for interested parties and through the collaborative efforts by media workers, volunteers and interviewees.


A series of workshops and training sessions are also being planned as follow-ups to this introductory session which will be held some time in July this year.

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