Bandung is the 3rd largest city by population in Indonesia, located in the western part of Java island. The city is considered to be one of the major cultural hub in Indonesia, with their garment manufacturing, arts and design industry as the city’s pride.

Bandung Cityscape

Mr. Ridwan Kamil, an architect and a lecturer in Bandung Technology Institute (Institut Teknologi Bandung) was recently elected in 2013 as the Bandung city mayor. His background training in urban design provided him a unique approach of using urban planning, instead of mere policies, as the foundation for the city’s development. Kamil took a special interest in the development of arts and culture in the city, especially to encourage community bonding.

Together with the creative community in the city, Kamil founded Bandung Creative City Forum (BCCF) in 2008. BCCF is an independent organization which aims to serve the general public and creative community in Bandung. In its every activity, BCCF use creativity-based educational approach and encourage private as well as community creative entrepreneurship. The organization initiates many arts and culture focused projects, and aims to widen the creative network as far as they can. All of this is a collective effort to make Bandung a creative city ready and capable to compete and collaborate in the global context. Of the many initiatives BCCF has, there were a few that deals with the creation of public space specifically for exposure to arts and culture, such as Simpul Space (read: Node Space).

bccf simpul space

BCCF Simpul Space #2

Viewing the continuous growth of Bandung residents’ interest in the creative industry, the BCCF saw the need to provide a public space for the creative community in Bandung. This resulted in 2 public rooms called Simpul Space #1 and Simpul Space #2. The Simpul Spaces act as a centre, where the creative communities from all over Bandung can come to meet and discuss their crafts, experiences, ideas and aspirations. These main art nodes also provide the platform for promotional purposes or for marketing creative products.

simpul space

Art Activities in BCCF Simpul Space #2

In Simpul Spaces, there are activities organized by the BCCF, such as community discussion, dialogues, classes and workshop. Simultaneously, anyone can arrange an activity or event in Simpul Space for free. However, if they are receiving sponsorship contributions for the events, they will have to pay for rental and utility fees. It is important to understand that BCCF is a non-government organization which started the ground-up initiatives for community arts and culture development. Perhaps it is this relaxed and non-institutionalized nature of the organization, as well as the strong interest in arts and culture among the local community that brings the general public in to these spaces.

bccf

Workshop with Lewis Biggs from British Council in BCCF

When he was running for the mayor position in 2012, Ridwan Kamil expressed his intention to revive Sundanese tradition-based creative economy by building 1,500 arts and cultural nodes in neighbourhoods all across Bandung.  These nodes will revitalize Sundanese arts and culture, and become the foundation for the growth of art-based creative economy. He planned for cooperation between the neighbourhood art nodes and hotel/restaurant managers in proximity to the nodes, in the form of local arts and cultural display to the tourists or guests. This effort in promoting arts and culture in the nodes is also aimed to improve the small scale economy in the kampongs and neighbourhoods. This union between the arts and culture with economy is not only pragmatic, but can also be an attraction point for the general public to start investing their interest in arts and culture. Some people might argue that this might corrupt the purity of arts and culture. However, it is very difficult for arts and culture to survive without a mutual symbiosis with economy, and thus it is not necessarily negative to relate these two together. The direct support from the mayor for community arts and culture would facilitate in pushing this idea into realization, which makes it interesting to find out how exactly would he implement this plan and how much its impact will be on Bandung residents.

 

 

References

Andari, Ken. ‘INDUSTRI KREATIF: Kumpul-kumpul komunitas kreatif Bandung di Simpul Space #2’, 25 Feb 2012. Bisnis Jabar. Accessed 28 Feb 2014. <http://www.bisnis-jabar.com/index.php/berita/industri-kreatif-kumpul-kumpul-komunitas-kreatif-bandung-di-simpul-space2>

Bandung Creative City Forum. ‘About BCCF’, 2011. Accessed 28 Feb 2014. <http://bandungcreativecityforum.wordpress.com/about/>

Media Center Ridwan Oded (Rido). ‘Ridwan Kamil Siap Bangun 1.500 Simpul Seni-Budaya’, 2012. Ridwan Kamil – Oded MD. Accessed 28 Feb 2014.<http://ridwankamil-oded.com/index.php/berita/74-ridwan-kamil-siap-bangun-1-500-simpul-seni-budaya>