We are very happy to feature one of our most enthusiastic members, Fakhran Ramadhan, who has been active in raising the profile of Indonesian punk scholarship to a global audience. Fakhran and his dedicated team of student volunteers from Universitas Islam 45 Bekasi, Indonesia executed the monumental task of organising two online conferences in 2020 and 2021, at the height of the global pandemic. These conferences truly reflect the DIY ethos sourced in punk and indie culture that appears in community-centred projects in performing arts and popular culture movements across the globe. Here’s to future collaborations with the Punk Scholars Network (PSN) in Southeast Asia!
The Punk Scholars Network (PSN) Indonesia conference and postgraduate symposium was the first in Indonesia and the 7th and 8th for PSN Global. Since its beginning in 2012, the Punk Scholars Network has expanded its membership and activities through conferences, symposiums, publications, talks and exhibitions, while at the same time seeking to maintain its original aim as an international forum for scholarly debate.
The Punk Scholars Network has also held a long-standing commitment towards the development of research, not only in terms of post-doctoral output, but also through pedagogical and academic support for postgraduate and undergraduate research students while encouraging and supporting non-academics to pursue and develop their interests in punk scholarship.
The global PSN network continues to grow with affiliates in Australia, Indonesia, Colombia, USA, Iberia and many other places too. This only reaffirms the breadth, depth and academic importance of punk and punk scholarship across the globe.
The Punk Scholars Network International Conference and Post Graduate Symposium are held every December. Covid -19 has made the steering group and conference working group think hard about how we might accommodate the conference, so PSN were aiming to have a week-long international and virtual ‘conference’ in December, with each of our affiliated PSN chapters around the world contributing up to one day of online content for the event.
PSN organized an international week-long ‘virtual’ conference from the 12 – 19 December 2020: an Indonesian contribution to this happened on Tuesday, 15 December. Taking punk seriously as a theme means considering the variety of experiences within local, national and international punk communities, and this PSN 2020 conference takes place against the backdrop of the global Covid-19 pandemic, making it still uncertain which parts will be face-to face and which parts will be solely online.
ISSUES DISCUSSED IN 2020
The 2020 PSN Indonesia Conference offered parallel discussions on two major issues. Indonesian and global-themed panels occurred concurrently. The first theme was “Locating ‘Subculture’ in Indonesia” as the theme of PSN Indonesia Conference. Meanwhile, for other PSN Affiliates, “Global Punk” was the overarching theme for the presenters, befitting a global online conference.
The Indonesia conference considered the variety of experiences within local and global subcultural communities and examined the way it takes on new forms and meanings, shaped by locality. Subculture can be viewed as highly “individualistic, fragmented, and heterogeneous” (Haenfler 2004, 408). Not only punk, but other subcultural groups such as metal, skinhead, hippies, K-pop, wibu, local football fans, motorbike clubs, and hipsterism are global phenomena that manifest in myriad ways in different scenes, adjusted within local contexts, and based on individual experiences. A subculture need not necessarily be based on some unchanging and rigid set of beliefs, values, and attitudes, but is often based on varied and fluid beliefs and practices.
Due to developments in technology, globalization changes the connectivity of punk while shifts in both capitalism and populism have also impacted subcultural groups for better or worse. International subcultural groups and connections are growing and finding commonality and conflict in music, education, mutual aid, performances and political activism. The global pandemic has laid bare the differences people face in accessing resources and how governments respond. How have, and how will, various local subcultural groups respond to this crisis, and what does their response tell us about subcultures as a global phenomenon?
The Indonesian contribution to the global conference was held on Tuesday, 15 December 2020. It started sharp at 10 am in the morning with the Indonesian Anthem played to open the conference. This conference was educational yet entertaining as along with it there were recorded live band performances in between the sessions. Somagora, S.W.E.W, Humanimal, Faith Runner, Cryptical Death, Soft-X, The Next Victim, and Jimmy Neuton were the performers for this conference.
More importantly, it was the first ever showcase of Indonesian punk and punk scholarship to a global audience of popular music scholars. 357 participants from around the world (Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Philippines, United Kingdom, USA, Brazil, Greece, and other countries) attended the virtual conference and they were free to choose the breakout room as they desired, then the hosts organized them to the breakout rooms.
There were 2 breakout rooms and this session started at 10:30 am, Indonesian Time. Room A featured a keynotes by Jeremy Wallach, Iskandar Zulkarnain, Himawan Saefullah and Emma Baulch. Fathun Karib, William Anthony Yanko, Elise Imray Papineau and Ignatius Aditya.
Each room had around 150 participants. The following are the list of panels, speakers and paper titles:
Defining the Places of Subculture
- Ni Putu Sridiniari – “Spirituality and Colonial Imaginaries in Present-Day Ubud: Post-Colonial Critique from the Eyes of Local”
- Aliffaiz Achmad Iman Naufal Octavideta – “Against the Power of the Empire: Biopolitics Between New York and Jakarta Grafitti Writer in Sticker Slap Culture”
- Ekawati Marhaenny Dukut – “Locating the Java Folk to Popular Culture: Punklung Music”
Stories of Communities
- Yasir Riady – “The Open University of Jakarta Choir Club Sings Virtual Choir During the Pandemic Covid-19 Lockdown”
- Wiman Rizkidarajat – “Black Metal in Banyumas: The Negotiation of Black Metal and Pesantren Through the “Prison of Conscience”
- Khairur Rizki – “The Implementation of ASEAN Convention against Trafficking in Person Especially, Women and Children (ACTIP) as Indonesian Efforts to Overcome Human Trafficking Since 2017”
Movements in Subculture
- Barakalla Robyn – “Locating Lifestyle: Riding the Waves of Punk Music and Lifestyle Towards Climate Awareness and Participation”
- Manunggal K. Wardaya – “The Mainstreaming of the Narratives of the 1965 Violence in Indonesian Metal Scene”
- Herman Arij Oscar De Tollenaere – “Indonesian Dutch Contribution to the 1977-1981 First European Punk Wave”
Punk, Then and Now
- Elke Van Dermijnsbrugge – “Imagining Alternative Futures in the Present: Punk Ethnography as a Method in Education Research and Practice”
- Anwar Fahlevie – “Women within Punk Scene: Ambivalence in Indonesia Subculture Resistance Movement”
We ended the conference at 6:00 pm with closing remarks from the PSN Indonesia organizer – M. Fakhran al Ramadhan. Overall, the conference ran successfully with only minor challenges along the way. Oi! Oi!
Thus concludes my report of the 2020 conference. Please stay tuned to iaspm-sea.org for the second part of my report, which details the issues discussed in the 2021 conference.
Muhammad Fakhran al Ramadhan is a lecturer and Head of Study Program in the English Department at Universitas Islam 45 Bekasi, Indonesia. He holds a Masters degree in Cultural Studies from University of Indonesia and has been researching skinhead subcultures since 2014. Alongside teaching and researching, he has contributed a review for the journal Young: The Nordic Journal of Youth Research (Sage), has been a member of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM) Southeast Asia since 2019, and is an Executive Board member of the English Studies Association in Indonesia (ESAI). Fakhran’s research on Indonesian punk-related cultures was published in the article, ‘This is Our Land: Raising Awareness of Balinese Environmental Issues through Bali Menolak (Bali Rejects [Reclamation]) Compilation Tracks,’ (2021) in Journal Makna. He can be contacted at email@example.com or his Twitter and Instagram @fakhranramadhan.