Mrs Sietske Rijpkema

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Research interests

My research focusses broadly on Asian theatre and performance, specifically puppetry (wayang) in Indonesia. For many wayang organizations and other traditional institutions in Indonesia, both preserving and developing wayang are targets. Preserving specific traditions, such as styles from royal courts or styles connected to a specific region, has different meaning for puppeteers (dhalang) and wayang experts involved. Understanding present-day efforts at preserving and developing  wayang requires research into artistic expression and innovations both recently and in the past. My thesis focusses specifically on the development of wayang tradition in the area of Yogyakarta and its royal court, and how this local tradition developed from the beginning of the 19th century.

Personal profile

I completed my BA at Leiden University in Art history minoring in Indonesian studies and Indian art, and wrote my BA thesis on a 19th century wayang collection in the Volkenkunde museum. I continued my MA at Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, in Performance and Fine Arts. The same year I started the course in puppeteering (pedhalangan) at HABIRANDHA, the puppeteering school of the royal court Yogyakarta, where I officially graduated in 2018. My studies at Royal Holloway are supported by a college scholarship.

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