Ketahanan Kota / Urban Resilience

A conversation about the arts of climate resilience in Semarang and Philadelphia


Fields of Knowledge
  • Comm. Development
  • Health / Sustainability
  • Politics / Economics

Organizing Institutions


Contributing Institutions

Department of Francophone, Italian, and Germanic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania


Simon Richter

Opens to public





4017 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Slought and the Department of Francophone, Italian, and Germanic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania are pleased to announce "Ketahanan Kota / Urban Resilience" on Thursday, November 16, 2023 from 6-8pm. This event, free and open to the public, will feature Ahmad Khairudin (Adin) and Sinta Penyami Storms in conversation about the art of climate resilience in Semarang and Philadelphia, and will be moderated by Simon Richter, Professor and chair of Germanic Languages and Literatures at the University of Pennsylvania.

When it comes to investing in climate adaptation, vulnerable communities are often last on the list. To the extent that municipal, state and federal governments acknowledge the need to build protective infrastructure, they choose to protect assets and property on the basis of a cost-benefit analysis. Unsurprisingly, industries and wealthier regions come out on top while lower-income and frontline neighborhoods are left to fend for themselves. In situations like these, the concept of resilience is often invoked. It recognizes a genuine capacity of communities to adapt locally and to practice mutual support, even as it glosses over governmental neglect. As the threats and impacts of climate change multiply and expand, how can communities and neighborhoods, thrown on their own resources, improve their resilience in the sense that they raise their profile and increase their political agency? Where governments fail and residents struggle, can socially engaged artists help them connect in productive ways?

Join Adin, director of Kolektif Hysteria in Semarang, Indonesia (a coastal city about the size of Philadelphia), and Sinta Penyami Storms, Philadelphia-based community artist and organizer, for a conversation on the arts of resilience in Indonesian and Indonesian diasporic communities. Both Adin and Sinta are known for their ability to leverage the arts to create broad coalitions and involve communities in processes of self-representation that raise awareness and increase resilience that involve the youth.

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Ahmad Khairudin (Adin) is director of Kolektif Hysteria, an artist collective he co-founded 19 years ago. Hysteria is the primary platform and network for socially engaged art in the city of Semarang. Their multi-year collaborative interventions with vulnerable low-income kampungs throughout the city are legendary. Hysteria uses ethnographically informed art and culture to help kampungs discover and represent their distinct identity. Despite Hysteria's urban edginess, they gain the trust of even pious kampungs. Hysteria deploys site-specific mural painting, music, cultural history, theater, crafts, story-telling and poetry, local experts, public discussions, video, mapping, design and other elements, in collaboration with the community. The real artwork is the process itself.

Sinta Penyami Storms is a dance artist and community leader dedicated to preserving and promoting Indonesian tradition and culture as well as raising awareness of social justice and immigration issues. She is the founder of Modero & Company dance group and co-founder of Gapura - Indonesian non-profit organization. Gapura and Modero serve as a gate to and for the Indonesian community in Philadelphia - linking past, present, and future through economic, social, and cultural empowerment. Sinta also hopes to bridge the physical distance between Indonesia and the Philadelphia Indonesian community through Gapura's programs and initiatives.