The Newsletter 96 Autumn 2023

IIAS Outreach: Connecting Knowledge and People

Annemarie van Leeuwen

In today’s society, the sciences and the arts are gradually moving more towards one another from their relatively separated positions. IIAS finds it important to help bring these different kinds of knowledge together, because we have the firm conviction that science and the arts are both creative processes and overlapping domains which can and do inspire one another.

For a number of years now, IIAS has organized outreach activities as part of our policy to transcend disciplinary borders. With our outreach programme, we aim to cross the borders of academic-focused events by incorporating a diversity of cultural domains like film, literature, dance, and other forms of art into the discourse. In reaching out to these domains, IIAS is also reaching out to a wider audience; not only to Asian Studies scholars, but also to others with various interests in Asia. Academics and non-academics meet, become acquainted with each other’s worlds, and broaden their Asian horizons and their understandings of their respective regions. By connecting knowledge and people in a very practical sense, IIAS facilitates opportunities for new synergies to emerge, which in turn can lead to innovative approaches in all disciplines.

As part of this goal, we have had the pleasure to work with many different people from many different disciplines in recent years, with artists and scientists alike, on a broad variety of outreach events. These include film screenings, talks by artists and museum curators, public lectures at the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, book talks, and workshops, to name but a few. In what follows, we present two reflections from colleagues who have worked closely with IIAS and its various outreach activities over the years: (1) Roald Maliangkay, former coordinator of the IIAS Amsterdam branch, and (2) OOI Keat Gin, historian at Universiti Brunei Darussalam and former IIAS fellow.

Looking to the future, we are excited to continue the outreach programme and to keep expanding and innovating in response to our ever-changing world. There is a synergy here as well: as an institute, we continue to be inspired by the community we have the pleasure and honour to work with.


Annemarie van Leeuwen is Coordinator Outreach & Lectures at IIAS.