What is Project Southeast Asia Symposium?

At first glance, of course, you would think it is a very academic-oriented regional symposium. The foundation of the Project Southeast Asia Symposium is simple, to be the home of Southeast Asia studies in the region. For seven years (including this year), the project has been the focal point for academic and research activities that focuses on history, politics/international relations, anthropology, human sciences, medicine, contemporary and development studies. Each year, the new academic talents attend, participate and engage throughout the project for knowledge sharing about their respective countries in the region.

Why Project Southeast Asia Symposium is important?

Not every academic and research studies are well celebrated, accepted, debated, discussed in respective countries due to the constrained environment that impacts freedom of expression and information. Especially when such studies highlight pressing issues that impacted human rights such as eviction, infectious diseases, and climate change. Which is why the existence of the project plays an important role in allowing these studies to be presented and discussed openly without the fear of being censored by the government authorities.

How to participate in Project Southeast Asia Symposium?

Each year, the project will announce Call for Panels for anyone who is interested in submitting session proposal(s) that revolves around either one of the following sub-themes:

  1. The Environment, Natural Resources, and Climate Change
  2. Ecosystems
  3. Sustainable Development
  4. Urbanization
  5. Public Health
  6. Migration and Refugees
  7. Governance and Politics
  8. Culture, Identity, and Regional Diversity
  9. Gender and Community Engagement

In addition to this, the project encourages that all submission to focus on several key areas such as:

  1. Contemporary Southeast Asian issues, relating to (but not limited to) the theme above;
  2. Transnational Southeast Asian studies;
  3. Interdisciplinary approaches and collaborations;
  4. Methodological issues relating to Southeast Asian studies.

So, if you have Southeast Asian studies that are on-going or finished and would like to share with the Project Southeast Asia Symposium community, you will have to keep a lookout on their website and newsletter announcement for the next Call for Panels.

What did DataVizMy do in Project Southeast Asia Symposium

Last year, we kick-started our first research study on “Deforestation and The Haze in Southeast Asia: Citizen Intervention Through Networked Communication” and it is still on-going until today. This year, we presented our on-going research study along with other co-panels at our afternoon session. Our discussions revolve around “Citizenry Struggles for Empowerment Through Media Literacies, Campaigning and Intervention In and Beyond Southeast Asia. Our research study tries to answer questions around three main areas:

  1. Slacktivism
  2. Characterizing online participation
  3. Communication tools
  4. Environment and health networked communications, and nudges

Our pilot surveys which we initiated last month helps us confirms our research questions clarity in the message as well as answering our research objectives. Moving forward, we would like to search answers on how we can design and evaluate online tools for effective participation. We will also investigate two aspects; operationalization and approaches.

From left: Hong Chuang Loo, Hazwany Jamaluddin, Eu Choong Chong.

How data-centric approaches may be used for investigating challenging problems

When it comes to understanding the risk of climate change and environmental issues, technical jargons and politically correct phrases is the barrier that stops average Joes and Janes to be inspired to take action and change behaviours. To close this gap of communication is through better data visualisation with insightful storytelling that provides emotional appeal to the average Joes and Janes. Our research is a way for us to take action in providing better storytelling to address severe environmental threats that impact all living beings on earth.

Post-symposium notes sessions

Other than presenting our research study, we also were fortunate to attend several sessions throughout the project:

  1. Rice Politics in Southeast Asia
  2. Urban politics in Jakarta and Beyond
  3. Forest Management and Wild Life
  4. The Urban Poor in Politics: Outlook for Pro-Poor Politics, Economy in Indonesia and Urban Transformation in Jakarta
  5. Migration within, to, and from Southeast Asia
  6. Society, Politics, and Culture (3): Political Societies

In the spirit of information sharing, we opened our notes sessions publicly here for everyone’s perusal.

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