Welcome to the Indonesia Forum

The University of Melbourne pioneered Indonesian studies in the mid-1950s. Since the early 1990s, Indonesian studies has undergone an impressive growth in both student numbers and staffing and Indonesian studies are now available across a wide range of Departments, Faculties and Centres, including Architecture, Building and Planning, Commerce, Engineering, Law and Medicine, as well as more traditional locations such as Language, Anthropology, Politics and History.

Formed in 1991, the Indonesia Forum (IF), previously known as the Indonesia Interest Group, is an informal and open network of academics and administrative staff of the University who share a common interest and professional involvement in Indonesia. Members keep in touch by e-mail and hold meetings, seminars and discussions. For the past ten years the IF has hosted major functions which have brought together the wider Melbourne Indonesian and campus-based Indonesia-interested communities.

The Forum also plays a policy advisory role on Indonesia-related issues within the University and works closely with the Asia Institute and with Indonesian students and students studying in Indonesia-related areas. In 1999 the Forum arranged its first postgraduate roundtable for students studying in Indonesia-related fields.

The current Indonesia Forum Convenor is Dr Monika Winarnita, and the co-Convenor is Dr Wulan Dirgantoro.



Visiting Scholar Presentation: Reforming Food Program in Indonesia: Obstacles, Success Story and Challenges to Sustain It

Event Details
Tuesday, 4 June, 2024 (11:30–12:30)
Yasuko Hiraoka Room (Room 106), Sidney Myer Asia Centre (Building 158)


Speaker: A.Prof Elan Satriawan, Associate Professor at Universitas Gadjah Mada, Chief of Policy Team at government policy think tank under National Team for the Acceleration of Poverty Reduction (TNP2K) and a member of expert advisory team to Indonesia Minister of Finance.

Food, particularly rice, constitutes a significant portion of poor households’ budgets, which led to the launch of the RASKIN food program by the Indonesian government in the early 2000s. This presentation will discuss how Indonesia reformed the Food Assistance Program, the outcomes of these reforms, and the challenges encountered during and after the transition.


Visiting Scholar Presentation: Islamic and Communist Protest Movements: Revolution and the End of Resistance in Colonial West Sumatra

Event Details
Tuesday, 28 May, 2024 (11:30–12:30)
Room 321, Level 3, Sidney Myer Asia Centre (Building 158)

Speaker: Fikrul Hanif Sufyan, a historian and lecturer at Sekolah Tinggi Keguruan dan Ilmu Pendidikan (STKIP) Yayasan Abdi Pendidikan in Payakumbuh and holds an adjunct lecturing position at Universitas Islam Negeri Imam Bonjol, Padang, West Sumatra.

This presentation examines communist critiques of colonial West Sumatran society launched by Sarekat Rakyat members from October 1923 and their use of the press, recitations, and clubs to grow anti-colonial and anti-capitalist sentiment. It will also trace connections between these networks and critiques and later uprisings in late 1926 and early 1927, as well as the exiling of leaders by the colonial government.

Bilingual presentation, delivered in English and Bahasa Indonesia.

The Sights & Sounds of Maluku Eastern Indonesia’s Spice Island

A collaborative event with the Australia Indonesia Youth Association of Victoria


Event Details
Friday, 24 May, 2024 (15:00–17:00)
Room G01, Building 189, Parkville campus


Speaker: Presiden Tidore a.k.a Bams Conoras, a hip-hop artist from Tidore Island in North Maluku, Indonesia. He will describe his cultural practice, music, cloth weaving and engage in intercultural and interfaith dialogue. A musical performance supported by Yarra Irama will follow as part of the Indonesia Forum Halal Bihalal Eid-Al-Fitr social gathering.


Postgraduate Lunchtime Seminar: Historical Memory of Aceh Chinese and Its Impact on Identity and Belonging

Event Details
Tuesday, 21 May, 2024 (13:00-14:00)
Room 321, Level 3, Sidney Myer Asia Centre (Building 158)

Speaker: Chontida Auikool, PhD Candidate at Centre for East and Southeast Asian Studies, Lund University Sweden

This research project delves into the traces of memories and narratives of the Aceh Chinese community residing in Aceh province, Indonesia. Through an exploration of historical events and contemporary experiences, the research aims to illuminate the nuanced perspectives and lived realities of the Aceh Chinese.

Book Talk: ‘Marriage Migration, Intercultural Families and Global Intimacies’

Tuesday,23 April, 2024 (12:30 – 13:30)
Room 321, Level 3, Sidney Myer Asia Centre (Building 158)

Speaker: Emeritus Professor Kathryn Robinson, Anthropology (Indonesian Studies) Australian National University

This recently published book (2024) brings an innovative study of marriage migration in Australia, offering new insights into issues of intimacy and authenticity online. The so-called ‘Mail Order’ bride stereotype of marriages between Asian women (incl. Indonesians) and ‘Aussie’ men, and families formed through transnational correspondence courtship, are explored in this book.

Postgraduate Art Exhibition ‘Revolution: Crosspoint of Power of 45-65’

8-19th of April 2024, George Paton gallery, Building 159, Parkville Campus
By Patriot Mukmin,
PhD researcher (Faculty of Fine Arts & Music)

Indonesia Forum and School of Culture and Communication 2-day event 18th & 19th of April with University of Indonesia visiting academics:

Panel Discussion ‘Cultural Research in the Global South’ & Book Launch ‘The Art of Environmental Activism’
Thursday 18th of March, 5 – 7pm, Yasuko Hiraoka Room, Sidney Myer Asia Centre (Building 158)

Edited Book Launch ‘Gender, Islam and Sexuality in Contemporary Indonesia’ & Film Screening ‘Emak dari Jambi’ (Mother from Jambi)
Friday 19th of March, 11:30 – 1:15pm, Room 321, Level 3, Sidney Myer Asia Centre (Building 158)

Postgraduate Seminar: ‘Glory be to the Catholics: Minority Overrepresentation and Disproportionate Influence in Suharto’s Indonesia’ 

Wednesday 20 March, 11:30 – 12:30pm, Room 321, Level 3, Sidney Myer Asia Centre (Building 158)

Speaker: Angga Indraswara, PhD Candidate London School of Economics and Political Science, BA Honors University of Melbourne

This paper sheds light on the mechanisms through which religious minorities can achieve degrees of success in ways that seem to defy their numerical inferiority during Suharto’s New Order

Visiting Scholar Presentation: ‘Empowering Resilience: Unintended Consequences and Reflections on Women and Work after COVID-19 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia’   

Thursday 7 March 2024, 5 – 6pm, Room 321, Level 3, Sidney Myer Asia Centre (Building 158)

Speaker: Dr Fina Itriyati, Vice Dean for Research, Cooperation, Community Service, and Alumni Affairs in the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences (FISIPOL) at Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM)

This ethnographic study investigates the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the work of low-income women in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, a city affected by the crisis.

The 42nd Indonesia Forum Postgraduate and Early Career Researcher Hybrid Symposium

22-23 November, Arts West 253

The Indonesia Forum (IF) held the 42nd Indonesia Postgraduate & Early Career Researcher symposium in 2023, a continuation of the University of Melbourne’s commitment to engagement with and building excellence in scholarship on Indonesia. This year is the 25-year anniversary since Indonesia’s Reformation era began (1998), inspiring the theme Reformasi 25 years on: Opportunities and challenges for Indonesian society’