Photo by Antara.


Yogyakarta is famous for its bustling cultural scene and its cosmopolitan, artistic atmosphere. But the Covid-19 pandemic has seen the city’s arts scene grind to a halt. With health restrictions and regulations against public gatherings, it has been almost impossible for artists to continue performing, and this situation has severely affected their livelihoods.

In Yogyakarta alone, an estimated 172,000 creative workers have had to seek alternative sources of income to make ends meet and continue their artistic endeavours. Many of these creative workers are young artists who have now been left wondering what the future holds for them, as the pandemic continues, without an end in sight.

How have Yogyakarta’s young artists managed during the pandemic? How are they making ends meet while still channelling their creative passions? What can the government, civil society, and the public do to support young creative workers during these difficult times?

To explore these questions further, I speak to Dr Oki Radianto Sutopo about a research project on young creative workers in Yogyakarta that he recently conducted with a team of researchers that included one of our Talking Indonesia co-hosts, Dr Annisa Beta from the University of Melbourne.

Dr Oki Rahadianto Sutopo is a Lecturer in Sociology and the Executive Director of the Youth Studies Centre (YouSure) at the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences in Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta. Oki earned his PhD in Sociology from the University of Newcastle in Australia. His main research interests include youth studies, youth transition, youth culture, and generations. He is also the editor in chief of UGM’s Youth Studies Journal.

In 2021, the Talking Indonesia podcast is co-hosted by Dr Charlotte Setijadi from Singapore Management University, Dr Dave McRae from the University of Melbourne’s Asia Institute, Dr Jemma Purdey from Monash University, and Dr Annisa Beta from the University of Melbourne’s School of Culture and Communication.

Look out for a new Talking Indonesia podcast every fortnight. Catch up on previous episodes here, subscribe via Apple Podcasts or listen via your favourite podcasting app.


We acknowledge and pay respect to the Traditional Owners of the lands upon which our campuses are situated.

Phone:13 MELB (13 6352) | International: +(61 3) 9035 5511
The University of Melbourne ABN:84 002 705 224
CRICOS Provider Code:00116K (visa information)