Professor Michele Ford is Director of the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre and an ARC Future Fellow at the University of Sydney. Michele has a long history of engagement with Indonesia, having majored in Indonesian studies at UNSW, before studying politics and sociology at Universitas Gadjah Mada in 1993-94 on an Australian Vice Chancellor’s Scholarship. Upon her return to Australia, Michele completed her Honours year at the ANU, where she received a first-class degree for her thesis on the Indonesian industrial relations system. She later undertook a PhD on the role of NGOs in the reconstruction of the Indonesian labour movement in the Centre for Asia-Pacific Social Transformation Studies (CAPSTRANS) at the University of Wollongong.
Michele began her academic career at Flinders, where she taught Asian Studies and Indonesian language in 2004-05, before moving to the University of Sydney, where she rebuilt the Indonesian Studies program before taking up the position of inaugural Director of the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre.
Michele has been the recipient of several Australian Research Council grants on topics related to Indonesia, including identity construction in the Indonesia-Singapore borderlands, NGO and trade union responses to labour migration in East and Southeast Asia, the re-emergence of political labour in Indonesia, and role of the Global Union Federations in Indonesia and India, and the impact of trade union aid in Southeast Asia. In addition, she has a strong record of service to the discipline of Indonesian Studies, having been Secretary of the Asian Studies Association of Australia (2006-11), President of the Indonesia Council (2005-10), NSW representative on the ACICIS Reference Group (2006-2011), and the University of Sydney representative on the Australian Universities Governing Committee of the Aceh Research Training Institute (2006-2008).
Michele was also first Secretary and then Chair of the Board of IRIP, the organisation that publishes Inside Indonesia, where she also served many years as Coordinating Editor, a position she shared with Professor Edward Aspinall, and continues to sit on the Advisory Board of the ANU’s Indonesia Project.