A new grant scheme called the Cipta Media Ekspresi, rolled out by Wikimedia Indonesia, launched last week to empower more women in arts and culture fields. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

New Grant Scheme Geared to Support Women’s Voices in Art and Culture


JANUARY 19, 2018

Jakarta. A new grant scheme called the Cipta Media Ekspresi, rolled out by Wikimedia Indonesia, launched last week to empower more women in arts and culture fields.

A total of Rp 3.5 billion ($262,500) will be distributed to fund projects ranging from collaborative production, research, travel for research or performance purposes and adding facilities for female art communities. Any funded projects will need to be completed by Feb. 28, 2019.

The committee will accept submissions from Jan. 8 to March 25. Those who are eligible for the grant include artists, writers, actresses, comedians, craftswomen, scholars, researchers, dancers, musicians and production managers.

The grant is primarily geared to Indonesian women aged 18 and above, but foreigners can also apply as long as they have proven to have worked in any Indonesian cultural community for at least 5 years.

Jury head Lisabona Rahman, a local film critic, said in a statement that very few women throughout history have been recognized as cultural thinkers. Texts used as artistic and cultural references by far are largely produced by men.

Lisabona said that there needs to be an infrastructure that accommodates women’s thoughts and expressions to be recognized and recorded.

"Part of the infrastructure is the availability of funds," she said.

Author and academic Intan Paramaditha, who also serves as a jury member, told the Jakarta Globe recently that the grant is a way to support women creators to be productive because access to funds is typically hard to come by.

"Actually, there are quite a lot of women creators, but often they do not work consistently because of many factors. For example, after they get married, it turns out that they don’t have the support from their family or surroundings, or their society is dominated by patriarchal values, so they have no place in it," Intan said.

She added that gender bias and unequal power relations in society have brought about work that, although inclusive of women, do not actually voice women’s real experiences.

Theater director and actress Naomi Srikandi also expects more women to talk about pressing issues in society, especially cases in which people are defeated by greater powers, such as eviction, torture, domestic violence and humiliation.

Meanwhile, ethnomusicologist Nyak "Ubiet" Ina Raseuki hopes to see projects about traditional art, especially by women in eastern Indonesia.

Other jury members include graphic designer Cecil Mariani, activist Andy Yentriyani and art history researcher and grant initiator Heidi Arbuckle.

Those interested to apply for the grant can access the organization's official website and fill out the online form. Otherwise, if an applicant is located in an area with weak internet reception, she can contact the grant committee and request to have a print-out form sent to them.

Intan said there is no quota for the number of applicants or awardees. She noted that the proposals must be made as convincing as possible and clearly explain the need for additional funding.

"We have no quota for particular areas but we do prioritize women who have never had an opportunity like this due to any factor, including access and location," she added.

The list of grant awardees will be announced on April 21, Kartini Day.