Yogyakarta is famous for its bustling cultural scene and its cosmopolitan, artistic atmosphere. But the Covid-19 pandemic has seen Yogyakarta’s arts scene grind to a halt. With health restrictions and regulations against public gatherings, it has been almost impossible for artists to continue performing, and this situation has severely affected their livelihoods.

In Yogyakarta alone, an estimated 172,000 creative workers have had to seek alternative sources of income to make ends meet and continue their artistic endeavours. Many of these creative workers are young artists who have now been left wondering what the future holds for them as the pandemic continues, without an end in sight.

How have Yogyakarta’s young artists managed during the pandemic? What strategies have they implemented to try to make ends meet while still channelling their creative passions? What can the government, civil society, and the public do to support young creative workers during these troubled times?

To explore these questions further, Dr Charlotte Setijadi speaks to Dr Oki Radianto Sutopo about a research project on young creative workers in Yogyakarta that he recently conducted with a team of researchers that included one of our Talking Indonesia co-hosts, Dr Annisa Beta from the University of Melbourne.

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