Visual Ethnography

"A Story of Resilience: Seeing beyond the success and failure of community-based conservation in Jambi and Papua"

Exhibition - Open for Public


Mochtar Riady Building, FISIP UI, Depok Jawa Barat
Monday - Friday, 27 February to 3 March, 2023
8.00 - 16.00 WIB


Gallery Soemardja, FSRD ITB, Bandung Jawa Barat
Monday - Friday, 6 - 10 March, 2023
8.00 - 16.00 WIB

What lies behind the successes and failures of community-based conservation? Understanding resilience, livelihoods and social-ecological relations

Community-based forest conservation and management has long been used as an approach in the field of forestry. Despite Indonesia’s success in promoting this approach, particularly in the context of social forestry, its impact on ecosystems and communities is not readily apparent. On the one hand, the absence of baseline data makes the effects of this approach difficult to measure. On the other hand, the social-ecological context that largely determines the extent to which conservation programs deliver the expected impacts is often ignored. Some conservation programs succeed in the context of a community that has already encouraged sustainable resource management, while others suffer from the pressures of economic development, making it difficult to rebound. The question is: have we been too focused on metrics and numbers, without looking at what lies beneath it all?

Based on this rationale, the School of Life Sciences and Technology (SITH) at Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB), in collaboration with a team of researchers from the Department of Anthropology at the University of Indonesia and the Department of Biology at the University of Cenderawasih, formulated an interdisciplinary study entitled “Resilience stories: reflections on the successes and failures of community-based conservation in Indonesia“, with  the support from the Alliance for Conservation Evidence and Sustainability (ACES). The study aims to understand the factors that influence the success or failure of communities in promoting conservation in line with their livelihood strategies. The study takes a resilience approach – a way of conceptualizing how social ecological systems are able to absorb crises, shocks and changes while surviving and thriving. We argue that the resilience of social ecological systems acts as the basis to build a strong conservation action among local communities. We sought to document stories of resilience in communities, and started from the question: how are conservation, identity, socio-ecological relations, shocks and resilience understood and embodied by local communities?

The research was conducted through a series of activities from early 2022 to early 2023. This included secondary data collection and analysis, as well as field data collection through a rural appraisal approach, in-depth interviews, participant observation, and visual ethnography (including the use of a photovoice method) in July-August 2022 in six villages in two provinces: Jambi and Papua. A series of workshops with representatives of village communities, government, academics and NGOs were conducted from September 2022 to January 2023. This Visual Ethnography Exhibition is the culmination of this series of research activities, and the mouthpiece to disseminate it to a wider audience.

Our team

Principal Investigator: 

Dr. Angga Dwiartama (SITH ITB — Human Geographer)


Rhino Ariefiansyah, S.Sos., MEAP (Anthropology UI — Visual Anthropologist)

Hendra Kurniawan Maury, S.Si., M.Si. (Biology FMIPA Uncen — Ecologist)

Advisor for Papuan culture: Enrico Yori Kondologit, S.Sos., M.Sos. (Curator of the Museum of Anthropology Uncen)

Field researchers and photographers:

Zulfikar Ali Akbar

Sari Ramadhan


Ahmad Shifauka

Rudy Norotouw

Data consultant: Dr. Nuri Nurlaila Setiawan (

Graphic recorder: Ignatia Dyahapsari  

Video script writer: Diyan Surya

Video editor: Mika Reksowardojo

Photo editor: Ahmad Shifauka

Exhibition Coordinator: Rivaldo Herman

Exhibition Curator: Vanindra

Web designer and developer:

FISIP UI Team: Aulya Farah FauzanMuhammad Fahmi Ilyas

Gallery Soemardja team:  Danuh Tyas Pradipta, Zusfa Roihan