Discussion of Ethnographic Book Design: Looking at the Portrait of Environmental Communication between Lake Singkarak Fishermen and Ikan Bilih
By: PDMA (Pusat Dokumentasi Media Alternatif) Nadim UII
On Friday, September 29th, 2023, Nadim’s PDMA (Alternative Media Documentation Center) collaborated with the DISPENSI (Communication Discussion and Research) community to host an “Ethnographic Book Design Discussion: Looking at Portraits of Environmental Communication between Lake Singkarak Fishermen and Ikan Bilih” in a hybrid format. The event featured Mr. Risky Wahyudi, S.I.Kom, a lecturer at the UII Communication Science Study Program, as a speaker, and Mr. Muzayin Nazaruddin, a lecturer and researcher on environmental issues at the same program, as a discussant. The discussion was held in the Retno Winahyu Room at Café Sirkel de Koffie from 3:30 PM to 6:00 PM and was attended by academics.
The discussion titled “Looking at the Portrait of Environmental Communication between Lake Singkarak Fishermen and Bilih Fish” is a design for Risky Wahyudi’s book. It is an ethnographic study that explores the relationship between Lake Singkarak fishermen and Bilih Fish. The lake is one of the 15 National Priority Lakes, as stated in Presidential Decree No. 60 of 2021, Article 3, Paragraph 1 which emphasizes the importance of conserving National Priority Lakes. From the observations made in the field, it was found that several criteria determine a lake as a national priority. Lake Singkarak, for instance, exhibits increased sedimentation, decreased water quality, and a decrease in biodiversity, which leads to ecological, economic, and socio-cultural problems for the community.
The main purpose of this book is to provide a platform for fishermen to share their knowledge and experiences related to Bilih Fish. The book includes several interesting discussions such as human interactions with the environment, fishermen’s perspectives on Bilih Fish, memories of Lake Singkarak, how Bilih Fish has become a local identity, and who Lake Singkarak fishermen are. Mr. Muzayin stated that books like this are rare, as communication studies in Indonesia generally limit discussions to environmental communication, such as how humans communicate about the environment, how mass media discusses environmental issues, how political actors use rhetoric to talk about environmental issues, and how policymakers discuss the environment.
It is often considered that an environment is a silent object, but what makes this book fascinating is that it places the environment as a subject. During the discussion, Mr. Muzayin provided some insightful ideas, including exploring cultural narratives such as myths that contain the origins of Lake Singkarak and humans in Lake Singkarak, examining the dynamic relationship between nature and culture, and exploring the daily interaction practices that exist between humans and Lake Singkarak. The discussion went smoothly and was interesting, with many members of the audience providing valuable feedback.