Project 3: ACICIS Study Indonesia Podcast


The Australian Consortium for ‘In-country’ Indonesian Studies (ACICIS) and Inside Indonesia, are seeking both in-kind support and funding to develop and deliver an “ACICIS Podcast”, providing informed and insightful English-language commentary on current affairs in Indonesia. The weekly podcast would be designed to both showcase and leverage the considerable talent and expertise of ACICIS alumni, which number approximately 2,000 individuals, many of whom have carried their interest in Indonesia into their careers. Further, the podcast would feature content and contributions from Inside Indonesia and their network of experts on Indonesian current affairs and culture. The podcast will be targeted at both an academic and general audience, and would seek to capitalise on Inside Indonesia’s large audience in Australia, Indonesia and around the world, and the interest among ACICIS alumni in Indonesian current affairs. The “ACICIS Podcast” is a working title at this stage. It is envisioned that the podcast ultimately be given a more inclusive name, evoking the broad theme of Indonesian current affairs.


In 2015, the Australian Consortium for ‘In-Country’ Indonesian Studies (ACICIS) celebrates 20 years of developing and coordinating in-country study programs in Indonesia. Since 1995, nearly 2,000 students have undertaken study in Indonesia through ACICIS. The consortium’s program offerings have grown to include both semester-long and six-week professional practicum programs hosted by universities in Yogyakarta, Jakarta, Bandung and Malang. ACICIS has also recently expanded its offerings to include study tours for teachers and educators, and school tours for high-school students. The consortium currently counts among its membership twenty-two Australian universities (including all of the country’s prestigious Group of Eight) as well as overseas centres-of-excellence in the field of Indonesian and Southeast Asian Studies, such as SOAS University of London and Leiden University in the Netherlands. Today ACICIS is the longest running provider of in-country Indonesian study programs for Australian university students and the primary mechanism through which Australian students pursue study in Indonesia for academic credit.

In February 2015, ACICIS welcomed its 40th intake of semester students, while in August the consortium will celebrate 20 years since the very first semester cohort of ACICIS students arrived at Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta. To commemorate these auspicious occasions, ACICIS intends to hold a ‘year of celebration’ with events taking place in both Australia and Indonesia throughout the course of 2015. In addition, to mark the 20th anniversary, ACICIS are initiating a number of major projects, including a census of ACICIS alumni, an expansion of the Lestari Widyastuti Scholarship Program and an Indonesian current affairs podcast.

Inside Indonesia is a not-for-profit magazine, set up in Melbourne by the Indonesian Resources and Information Program (IRIP) in 1983. The diverse group of academics and activists involved in the establishment of Inside Indonesia wanted to provide insight and information on Indonesia, at a time when the mainstream media had very little. Today, Inside Indonesia continues to provide a deeper image of Indonesia than that painted by mainstream media in an easily accessible online format, which also allows easy searching of its archive of articles. Inside Indonesia focuses on human rights, environmental, social and political issues, but is not limited to those issues. It is not an academic journal, but a publication which produces high standard, interesting, jargon-free material about Indonesia, by Indonesians, or by others who have travelled, lived and/or are undertaking research in the country.  Inside Indonesia reaches thousands of readers in Australia, Indonesia and elsewhere around the world each week. It has 4200 subscribers to its fortnightly newsletter, 2,600 followers on Twitter and 3,500 likes on its Facebook page.

Project Description

There is presently no existing regular audio broadcast or podcast program on the Internet providing high-quality commentary on Indonesian current affairs. With the barriers to entry for broadcasting over the Internet now very low, ACICIS, with its twenty years of engagement with Indonesia and large alumni base (approximately 2000 individuals), is well-placed to fill this gap and to provide such content and commentary. Similarly, Inside Indonesia, with its network of experts on Indonesian current affairs and twenty-year repository of Indonesian themed content, is well placed to develop high-quality content for the podcast.  The model for this podcast would be the highly successful Sinica Podcast produced by PopUp that provides weekly English-language commentary on current affairs in China.

The “ACICIS” podcast (48 episodes per year) is to be programmed and hosted by two ACICIS alumni, acting as the podcast’s regular hosts. These hosts are to be joined each week by a guest, either from ACICIS or a partner organisation, such as Inside Indonesia, to discuss an issue they have expertise in or that is particularly topical. It is envisioned that discussion will focus on both Indonesian current affairs and developments in the Australia-Indonesia relationship. The tone of the podcast is intended to be light and conversational, but the content is intended to be illuminating and its participants knowledgeable about the issues at hand.

The podcast will showcase the career trajectories and achievements of individual ACICIS alumni, as well as the contribution that ACICIS alumni have collectively made to the Australia-Indonesia relationship. As well as a rich source of potential expert guests and large proportion of the podcast’s content, ACICIS alumni, numbering approximately 2000 people, and the readership of Inside Indonesia, are expected to form a sizeable proportion of the podcasts’ initial listenership. Through both its listenership and content, the podcast will serve as a ‘water-cooler’ forum for ACICIS alumni and partner organisations interested in discussing issues to do with the Australia-Indonesia relationship. Further, the podcast will serve to develop a sense of community among ACICIS alumni, partner organisations and other individuals wishing to maintain their connection with Indonesia.

The podcast will feature regular content from Inside Indonesia, including a “From the Archives” section, which highlights a particular story and its development over the years and inviting the authors to provide updates. This will make great use of its recent initiative in collaboration with the National Library of Australia, to digitize the archive of hard copy magazines (1983-2007) and present them in a searchable format. Additionally, following the example of Eureka Street, the podcast may feature magazine articles being read aloud.  This will make Inside Indonesia’s rich repository of information and writing on Indonesia accessible in an audio format, thereby expanding its reach.

Alignment with ACICIS’ Mission and Objectives

  • The ACICIS podcast will showcase the career trajectories and achievements of individual ACICIS alumni as well as their contribution (and that of ACICIS as a whole) to the Australia-Indonesia bilateral relationship;
  • The ACICIS podcast will serve to develop a sense of community among ACICIS alumni and a means through which they can continue to engage with Indonesia and other ACICIS alumni; and
  • The ACICIS podcast will provide ACICIS alumni, as well as a broader academic and general listenership, with a regular source of expert English-language commentary on Indonesian current event.

Alignment with Inside Indonesia’s Mission and Objectives

  • The ACICIS podcast will showcase research undertaken by contributors to Inside Indonesia, and allow them to reach a broader audience;
  • The ACICIS podcast will serve to develop a sense of community among contributors to Inside Indonesia, and with other organisations and researchers invested in the Australia-Indonesia relationship;
  • The ACICIS podcast will provide readers of Inside Indonesia with an alternative means of access to Inside Indonesia material and a regular source of expert English-language commentary on Indonesian current event

Potential Stakeholders, Partner Organisations and Participating Universities 

Stakeholders and Partner Organisations Consortium Member Universities
ABC Australia Plus The Australian National University
ACICIS Alumni Charles Darwin University
ANU New Mandala Blog Curtin University
AsiaLink Flinders University
Australia-Indonesia Business Council Griffith University
 Australia-Indonesia Youth Association La Trobe University
 The Conversation  Monash University
SBS Radio Indonesian Murdoch University
RMIT University
Swinburne University of Technology
The University of Adelaide
The University of Melbourne
The University of Queensland
The University of Sydney
The University of Western Australia
University of New England
University of New South Wales
University of South Australia
University of the Sunshine Coast
University of Tasmania
University of Technology Sydney

Funding Sought

Proposed Budget
Podcast Production $135,000
Marketing and Promotion $15,000
Total $150,000 over three years