We’re here in Jogjakarta on a British Council funded exchange with our friends at Lifepatch. They’ve a ‘citizen’s initiative for art, science and technology’ based at their own space here in the city. Jogjakarta is known as an ‘arty’ kind of place with lots of art collectives and individual artists from all kinds of disciplines operating around and about.
As you might know, we’ve got a bit of a thing about markets, so we thought we’d spend our limited time here investigating local versions. Bringhargo market is quite something, numerous floors and levels selling all kinds of goods. Meat, fish, fruit and veg of course, spices, tobacco, batik in all shapes and sizes, household goods, you name it, you’ll probably find it somewhere in the maze-like edifice. We’ve been struck by the people of course, the vendors, mostly women, many having plied their trade for decades. Then there are the ‘coolies’ – forgive us, local terminology- sometimes ancient women who carry peoples stuff around on their backs, often heavy loads, for a few rupiah.
We met with Kunchi, an ‘inappropriate alternative school for adults’ the other day. It consists of artists, activists, farmers, anthropologists and others all looking at a learning through doing model, I think, like many initiatives we’ve come across here there’s a lot of rigorous theory involved that my intellectually-challenged self struggles to keep up with. There were parallels with our Walking Over Coals programme and we had an animated conversation about our approaches to helping people develop themselves. We’re running a workshop with the school on Saturday at the market, we’ll let you know how we get on.