Co-locating art and health to explore the cultural contexts of sexual health, wellbeing and sociality in Indonesia

Jamee Newland

Australian Volunteer Program (AVp), Yogyakarta, Indonesia, Kirby Institute, UNSW, Sydney, Australia

In 2014 the Lancet Commission on Culture and Health argued that the single biggest barrier to the advancement of health worldwide is the neglect of culture in health. This presentation will explore important ground gained in shaping and negotiating sexual and reproductive health in Indonesia through a community-controlled art gallery established at a sexual health NGO in Yogyakarta: a pilot project that aimed to further understand how the co-location of art and health affect/s the cultural contexts of sexual health, wellbeing and sociality. Five visual and performance art exhibitions were curated over 2019-2020 by local street artists, performance artists, youth and cartoonists exploring themes of sexual health stigma and discrimination, sexual violence, and sexualities. Discussion will focus on five key themes, including how the gallery and community-curated art exhibitions (1) increased community participation and engagement in sexual health; (2) created positive community spaces for engagement in sexual health; (3) created grassroots, community-led communication about sexual health; (4) affected health behaviour and perceptions of health, disease, care and prevention; and (5) created and supported resilient communities by developing personal and collective capacity to withstand, adapt and positively respond to issues of shame, embarrassment, exclusion and criminalisation surrounding sexual health in Indonesia.


Jamee is a qualitative health researcher working in Indonesia with the AVp to develop research and evaluation capacity in a sexual and reproductive health NGO. She is also working on projects with the Kirby Institute exploring HPV cultural etiology and vaccine acceptability; gender and sexuality; and HIV, mining and exploration.


The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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