Dear New Mandala readers,
It’s time for an editorial change again! Read on to find messages from the outgoing and incoming editors, Becky Gidley and Elly Kent.
It has been a pleasure to be a part of this amazing institution of Southeast Asian studies, but the time has come already to hand over the Editor’s reins. It’s a little sooner than I intended when I took over last year, but the lure of new opportunities was too much to pass up so my time with the Australian National University comes to an end this week. New Mandala has been an excellent experience, and one particularly enhanced by the generous engagement of readers, authors, tweeters, and more. To get a sense of the community involved in bringing you New Mandala, check out our end of 2019 post. I am grateful to each and every person who has support me and New Mandala during my time as Editor.
As my final act as outgoing Editor, I have the great pleasure of introducing you to Elly Kent, New Mandala’s fabulous incoming Editor. Elly brings a deep knowledge of Indonesia and the Southeast Asia region along with her background as a visual artist and researcher of contemporary and historical Indonesian art practices. I’m very excited to see the direction she will take New Mandala in its ever-evolving journey. Please join me in making her welcome in this new role.
It’s a great privilege to be taking up the mantle of New Mandala Editor, and my sincere thanks to Becky for guiding me through the last few days as I get my head around this endeavour. In my travels since accepting the position I’ve been encouraged by the diverse range of readers in my networks across Southeast Asia, and their regard for New Mandala is a testament to the excellent contributions that Becky and previous editors have made; thanks to you all for laying a path . I’m humbled by the opportunity to continue in their footsteps and am looking forward to working with our New Mandala volunteers, interns and the Board, as well other colleagues in the Australian National University and beyond, to continue to provide a platform for analysis, reflections and perspectives on Southeast Asia.
My journey towards this role can probably go back to a period of my childhood spent living and traveling in Southeast Asia while my parents worked on aid projects–perhaps this is why the anecdotal articles on New Mandala are so appealing to me. But since then I have undertaken undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Southeast Asian studies, with a particular focus on contemporary art, and on Indonesia (I too drag my family across the region with me). The intersection between culture, society, politics, community and the individual is my fascination; through this role I am looking forward to gleaning a deep and broad range of perspectives on Southeast Asia and sharing them with you. Like Becky, I’m committed to working towards including a diverse range of voices from the field, and to ensuring the content of New Mandala maintains the high standard of scholarly contributions to contemporary discourse for which it is renowned.
I’ve spent some time over the last weeks attempting to read as much of the back catalogue as I can fit in, and that has been an enlightening task! Jarrah Sastrawan’s article on the Majapahit maybe-Empire was a great read, and timely as I was visiting Madura and keen to learn more about the island’s historical role. I’ve been catching up on the challenges faced by women in Indonesian politics and new challenges for feminism in the region, as well as different electioneering strategies in Eastern Indonesia. While Indonesia is my focus, a great opportunity for me as editor is to learn more about the other nations and movements in the region–Catholicism in Thailand, for instance, and the everyday nuances of the human rights crises of Myanmar.
I intend to continue to facilitate more of the kind of intriguing insights that New Mandala has brought you over its many years of publication and to find ways to make my own mark on the editor’s role. Please feel free to continue to offer your contributions for publication—take a look at our “contribute” page to get a sense of our expectations from prospective authors—and keep an eye on our social media to keep up with developments. I look forward to continuing the conversation!