From puppets to politics

pendopo blog
Dr Priyambudi Sulistiyanto and Associate Professor David Lockwood, from the School of International Studies, with gamelan instruments at Flinders University’s pendopo.

More than 1,000 Asia region experts will consider topics as diverse as the arts to politics at a major international conference in Adelaide next week.

The event, attracting delegates from more 40 nations, will showcase Flinders University’s leadership in Indonesian cultural, language and student engagement.

Indonesia features strongly on the agenda of the International Convention of Asia Scholars 9th Biennial Conference (ICAS 9) at the Adelaide Convention Centre from 5-9 July.

The special activities kick off at Flinders’ Bedford Park campus on Saturday (4 July) with a shadow puppet performance by Ki Aji Prasetya Wibawa from the State University of Malang, East Java with accompaniment by Adelaide’s gamelan orchestra, which will also perform at the convention.

Close ties between Flinders and Indonesia go back to the University’s inception in 1966, with a Javanese pendopo on its Bedford Park campus providing a pavilion for a full set of gamelan instruments used by local group Gamelan Sekar Laras – and a focus for local Indonesian cultural and community activities.

As well as teaching the Indonesian Bahasa language, Flinders has more than 220 Indonesian students, produced about 1,000 Indonesian alumni and manages formal agreements with eight Indonesian higher education institutions.

Flinders is this year sponsoring ICAS 9 and this year’s OzAsia Festival. Indonesia is the focus country of this year’s OzAsia Festival (23 September-4 October).

Gamelan Sekar Laras and Indonesian students will perform at the convention, where lectures will be given by key members of the School of International Studies and other faculties. A highlight of the week’s program is the official launch of Flinders’ Jembatan Indonesian initiative.

ICAS 9 is the largest Asia-oriented event ever held in Australia, focusing on the rich and complex connections between Australians and our neighbours in South-East Asia, India and China.

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