Networked world of ‘isolated’ Borneo community revealed in new multimedia exhibition

Posted by er134 at Nov 21, 2014 11:35 AM |
University of Leicester archaeologist shares insights into Penan culture for International Community Media Day

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 21 November 2014

PHOTO OPP: Event on Tuesday 25 November between 6-8pm at the Documentary Media Centre, 3 Shires Lane, Highcross, Leicester

Contact to request images, a video from the research trip to Borneo is available to download and embed here:

An archaeologist at the University of Leicester has shed light on the connected nature of remote communities, including groups of hunter-gatherers in a new multimedia exhibition.

In the installation, specially created for Documentary Media Month, Dr Huw Barton from the University’s School of Archaeology and Ancient History shares original images and footage that reveal the reach of the Internet and satellite television, even in the remotest parts of Asia.

In a reception event on Tuesday 25 November at the Documentary Media Centre, run by Leicester-based citizen journalist, John Coster, Dr Barton will be sharing his findings which focus on the connected nature of a Penan community in north Borneo.

Dr Barton explained: “I was quite impressed to see such widespread access to technology such as the Internet and satellite television in the village of Long Beruang, Borneo. There were rooms full of computers with kids on Facebook linking up to people all over the world.

“It’s amazing to witness the impact technology is making to their lives. Using locally made satellite dishes, they are able to pick up satellite channels and even watch British football. Remote communities like these are often stereotyped as being isolated and disconnected, however the power of technology is providing them with links across the globe.

“I’m really excited to be able to tell everyone what we learnt about the Penan community with this exhibition which will hopefully paint a much more balanced and informed picture of hunter-gatherers today. They are often stereotyped as having lifestyles that are simple and far removed from our experiences, but this exhibition shows that this just isn’t the case.”

The stills on show in the exhibition were captured by Dr Barton and photographer Rory Carnegie during a 2012 British Academy funded trip to the remote community in an attempt to understand how the Penan create their world view.

Exhibition organiser, John Coster added: “I am really excited to be able to showcase Huw and Rory’s images and video footage of the Penan community as they capture a unique insight into a special community which has never been seen publicly before.

“This is exactly what we at Citizens’ Eye are seeking to do as part of Documentary Media Month – showcase people, places and events in new and original ways.”

The reception event for Dr Barton’s exhibition is taking place on Tuesday 25 November between 6-8pm at the Documentary Media Centre, 3 Shires Lane, Highcross. The event is free and open to the public.


Notes to Newsdesk

For more information please contact Dr Huw Barton via or John Coster via


The British Academy for the humanities and social sciences.

Established by Royal Charter in 1902. Its purpose is to inspire, recognise and support excellence and high achievement in the humanities and social sciences, throughout the UK and internationally, and to champion their role and value. For more information, please visit

Follow the British Academy on Twitter @britac_news

Documentary Media Month (1- 30 November) presents events, activities and workshops covering four areas:

  • film
  • photography
  • audio
  • new media

For more information visit:

Share this page: