January 13, 2011

Scriptoria Blog

Human Planet is here!

Tonight, at 8pm on BBC One, it’s the first episode of the much-heralded Human Planet series. Everyone at Scriptoria is buzzing with excitement about this new series which documents how people have adapted to every habitat on the planet. But there’s one person in the office who is taking an especially keen interest…

…and that’s our co-founder Sandy Williams, who once travelled to a remote corner of the globe with Timothy Allen, the award-winning Human Planet photographer. Twenty years ago (she confesses) an expedition of six students from Leeds University travelled to an isolated part of Sulawesi, Indonesia. Here, they lived with the Wana people while carrying out research on two types of rainforest in the Morowali Nature Reserve.

The Wana people were, Sandy says, “utterly welcoming to their Western visitors”. They looked after them in their homes (wooden huts on stilts), guided them in the rainforest and showed them hunter-gatherer techniques like how to use a blowpipe to spear a monkey.

Today, the Morowali Nature Reserve has been opened up for tourism. So, the Wana people are not as isolated as they once were. Remembering the happy warmth of the Wana culture, Sandy isn’t sure how she feels about this. Tourism may bring financial gain to the area, but Sandy worries that something might be lost at the same time…

The experience in Sulawesi was a formative one for all six students, not least Sandy and Tim. While Sandy was inspired to do a PhD and work in forest-related research before setting up Scriptoria Sustainable Development Communications, Tim has gone on to photograph indigenous people all over the world.

Back in 1991, Tim was captivated when photographing the Wana people. Twenty years on, he has spent an intensive year and a half travelling the world taking pictures of a huge diversity of other indigenous people. The results are likely to be spellbinding.

So don’t miss Human Planet’s first episode: Oceans: Into the Blue, 8pm tonight. We’ll be watching for sure.

To find out more about Timothy Allen’s travels and see some stunning photos, check out his two blogs:

http://humanplanet.com/timothyallen/

http://timothyallen.blogs.bbcearth.com/

 Other Human Planet posts are on the series’ main blog site:

http://humanplanet.blogs.bbcearth.com/

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