Writing workshops in Indonesia

Developing picture books with local content, 2015

In October 2015, Mary-Jane Duffy, my colleague on the Whitireia Writing Programme, and I spent two weeks in Java,Indonesia. This was part of a literary project aimed at producing more picture books for Indonesian children based on stories and situations and things which were familiar to them. The project was sponsored by Whitireia, which collaborated with a partner organization, Himpaudi, an early childhood teachers’ organisation. It was supported by the Indonesian Ministry of Education.

We ran a six-day writing workshop in Semarang, in Central Java, for about 30, mostly early childhood teachers. They were a wonderful workshop group – enthusiastic, funny, great story-tellers, and very hard workers. We developed a model for encouraging children to come up with ideas (partly to present an alternative to the strong local belief that a story has to have a moral teaching in it), and the workshop participants trialled the model in several early childhood centres. These ranged from a mosque-based centre to an international centre.

Hopefully the project will be ongoing.