Negeri Rempah Foundation in collaboration with Research Center for Society and Culture, National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN)


20-23 September 2023

at the National Research and Innovation Agency

Jl. Gatot Subroto 10, South Jakarta, Indonesia


Reconnecting the Spice Routes:

The Contribution of Maritime Southeast Asia to Global Transformation


The reconstruction of the spice routes cannot be done without considering how people and communities currently use and live on this historical global connectivity. While some people believe that the routes are a thing of the past, many researchers have shown that they continue to maintain important maritime connections, albeit in different forms and nature. The International Forum on Spice Routes (IFSR) is a collaborative forum between several institutions, initiated by the Negeri Rempah Foundation, to discuss and advocate the topic of spice routes in contemporary society.

IFSR is an international forum to open cross-boundaries and cross-cultural dialogue to revisit, research, relive, and maintain the spice routes that have become a natural and cultural common heritage at the regional and global levels. The previous IFSR has proven that the routes still exist and are used as one important regional and global connection between different regions, continents and countries. The 2023 IFSR is aimed to remobilise these existed routes, socially and culturally; as well as to regain its importance in political and economic context of the Southeast Asian countries’ significant role to the global world. In a more strategic term, it is aim to reposition Indonesia in the global discourse with its unique perspective in understanding the maritime routes (economic, trade, cultural, and other aspects of it) from time to time. Since 2022, Negeri Rempah Foundation has started to collaborate with Research Center for Society and Culture, Indonesia’s National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) to embrace larger audiences. 

IFSR serves as a platform to exchange cross-cultural knowledge and understanding by strengthening common heritage with the spirit of multiculturalism through constructing a socio-cultural-historical narrative of spice routes with neighbouring and connected countries both from the past and from the current relations. The Forum interacts with different voices of academic and epistemic communities, practitioners, diplomats, business people, other non-government organisations, communities,, artists, and historians with similar interests and intertwined cultures, therefore, the larger society may celebrate cultural similarities and differences through programs that allow greater public participation.

The 2023 IFSR not only aims to revisit and remobilise the living spice route practices by the local to global communities, from different perspectives and nexus (national, regional, or global); additionally, we believe that it also helps balance local and regional equality by enhancing connectivity to the furthest areas through trading and cultural interactions; further, it also tackles issues of how the fisheries and maritime communities answer these global challenges and living upon the spice routes, in contemporary terms. Therefore, the 2023 IFSR will also try to intensify and mobilise the result of the previous IFSR to understand contemporary global issues and challenges that we are facing.


Indonesia and Southeast Asian countries have an active role in the global community to open access, create dialogue, and build (new and old) relations of different communities at local, regional, and international through multi-disciplinary approaches to different aspects of the spice routes. Further, this collaboration also aims to answer arising and existing global challenges and contemporary issues in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.


This international conference is part of the series of activities in the International Forum on Spice Routes to provide scientific and research-based knowledge and information regarding the spice routes in contemporary society. The conference program includes Keynote Speech, Public Lecture, Public Talk, Panel Discussion, and Sharing Sessions.

For the conference, conveners accept selected abstracts and papers to be presented in the 20232 IFSR held on 20-23 September 2023 in hybrid form (in Jakarta, Belitung (tbc), and also through an online platform). 

IFSR also accept selected digital artworks to be exhibited during the conference.


The Conference will cover several specific themes as follows:

PANEL 1: Natural Diversity and Commodities of the Spice Routes

This panel will discuss the natural diversity and commodities along the Spice Routes, and how they can be protected for future sustainable development. The discussion will cover the natural and maritime resources that were traded along the Spice Routes, the use of ethnomedicine from different origins, maritime ecosystem restoration, land and coastal degradation, local wisdom, and folklore in managing natural and maritime resources. The panel will be an opportunity for experts from different fields to share their knowledge and insights on these important topics, with the goal of promoting understanding of the natural diversity and commodities along the Spice Routes, and how they can be protected for future sustainable development.

PANEL 2: Creativity in Human Adaptation and the Concept of Aesthetics through Material and Non-Material Culture

The panel cover issues related to the role of the concept of aesthetics that lies beneath the material and non-material culture in the various forms of art and creativity in human adaptation along the Spice Routes. Art is a form of expression used to communicate ideas, emotions, experiences, and challenge the status quo, and to raise awareness about important issues. Material culture refers to the physical objects that people create and use in their everyday lives. These objects can include anything from tools and weapons to clothing and jewelry. Material culture can be used to express identity, beliefs, and values through performing rituals. It can also be used to communicate with others and to create a sense of community. Creativity is the ability to come up with new and original ideas. It is a fundamental human trait that is essential for problem-solving, innovation, and adaptation. The panel will explore the ways in which material culture, non-material culture, art, and creativity are used to revitalize and protect cultural heritage. The panel will also discuss the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in the effort to protect expressions of art that are on the brink of extinction.

PANEL 3: Cultural Heritage Management and the Geopolitics of Heritage

This panel cover issues related to the public discourse and debates in cultural heritage management such as the tension between preservation and access to heritage; who should play a leading role in protecting and preserving cultural heritage between the state, private sector, and local communities; dealing with major threats caused by climate change such as rising sea levels, extreme weather events, and changes in precipitation patterns, which can damage or destroy cultural heritage sites; the role of technology to help preserve and protect cultural heritage such as digitization, remote monitoring, satellite imaging, crowdsourced data collection, also concerns on the impact of technology on cultural heritage, such as the potential for cultural appropriation and the loss of authenticity. Despite the ethical problems that potentially arise, globalization is having a significant impact on cultural heritage. The increasing flow of people, goods, and ideas across borders are challenging traditional notions of cultural ownership and authenticity, which leads to a debate about how to manage cultural heritage in a globalized world. This panel also covers the challenges facing cultural heritage management in the future such as the increasing demand for cultural tourism as a growing industry; the rise of nationalism and populism which leads to a resurgence of interest in national and local cultures; and the geopolitics of heritage in the context of international relations. 

PANEL 4: Maritime Communities

Fishers, fisheries, and maritime commmunities are important issues that are becoming increasingly important in the global arena. On the one hand, the world's increasing population needs sufficient and healthy food, and fish is one of the most important commodities to fulfill this need. On the other hand, we are witnessing a growing crisis in the world's fisheries, issues of identities, borders and boundaries that maritime communities face that limit their mobility in their everyday life. Small-scale fishers and maritime communities are particularly caught up in this crisis. They make a significant contribution to the global fisheries (economically and culturally) yet they often live in poor conditions on land and at sea. New strategies and approaches are needed to better understand the nature of these problems and to develop solutions. This panel will share lessons learned and initiate connections between people (and communities) from various countries connected by the Spice Routes. The panel will explore innovative strategies and approaches to address the challenges facing fishers and fisheries.

PANEL 5: Global Encounters and Cultural Exchange

This panel will discuss the ways in which seafaring and trading routes have facilitated global encounters and cultural exchange. The discussion will cover the history and current practices of seafaring and trading, as well as the socio-economic and political factors that have shaped these activities. The panel will also discuss the archaeological remnants of seafaring and trading, which can increase our knowledge of the items that have been shipped or traded throughout history. Finally, the panel will discuss the knowledge and scientific transfers that have taken place between countries as a result of trade and seafaring.


Convener welcomes new panel proposals for this Forum to be submitted and selected for additional themes. Please kindly check the important dates.

Submission for new panel: Lilis Mulyani (Alamat email ini dilindungi dari robot spam. Anda memerlukan Javascript yang aktif untuk melihatnya.), Dewi Kumoratih (Alamat email ini dilindungi dari robot spam. Anda memerlukan Javascript yang aktif untuk melihatnya.).


We invite contributors to submit an abstract of 300 words. Abstract should include proposed research questions, main argument, and methodology. Submissions should also include a title, name of the author(s), institutional affiliation(s), e-mail address, and personal biography of 150 words. The abstract should be submitted to:

https://ocs.brin.go.id/ or https://linktr.ee/negerirempahfoundation 

Those whose abstracts are accepted will be expected to submit a full paper of between 5000 - 7000 words. Selected papers will later be included in the Proceeding of International Forum on Spice Route published by the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN).

Selected papers will be invited to be published as an edited volume in international publication as the Forum’s important contribution to the Southeast Asia maritime and spice route literatures.


  • Panel Theme Submission :  1 - 15 June 2023 (Announcement of new approved panels on 19 June 2023)
  • Abstract submission :  1  - 30 June 2023
  • Abstract review and selection :  1 - 15 July 2023
  • Accepted abstract announcement :  20 July 2023
  • Full Paper submission date :  10 September 2023
  • IFSR 2023 Commencement :  20 - 23 September 2023


Widya Safitri : +62 812 10294804

Uus Faizal : +62 858 13472119

Gemala Putri : +62 818 809768 

e-mail : Alamat email ini dilindungi dari robot spam. Anda memerlukan Javascript yang aktif untuk melihatnya.


We invite contributors to submit a digital artwork. Artwork should include the creative rationale/argument/concept that are related to the theme. Submissions should also include a title, name of the artist(s), institutional affiliation(s) (if any), e-mail address, and personal biography of 150 words. The creative rationale and artwork should be submitted to:










Negeri Rempah



Negeri Rempah Channel