iWareBatik: Digital Information System for Enhancing Batik Learning in the Framework of Heritage Preservation and Sustainable Tourism

Author: Permatasari, Puspita Ayu

Contributor: Cantoni, Lorenzo


Digital technologies play important roles in improving the preservation, raising people’s awareness and the mediation of intangible cultural heritage (ICH). This doctoral study addresses the issues on how to orchestrate digital media in order to resolve the challenges of preserving Indonesian Batik textile heritage in the era of digital technology. Indonesian Batik was inscribed on UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) on October 2nd, 2009. The fundamental elements of this living heritage reside in its safeguarding practices and its artistic components. The exceptional cultural values of this tradition consist of evolutionary patterns and motifs, socio-cultural values related to the philosophical meanings, wearing rules, the complexity of production technique that belongs to thousand-year-old wax-resist dyeing history, and social empowerment. In light of supporting the sustainable preservation of Indonesian Batik, this study highlights the critical roles of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in fostering the capacity building of people engaged in the heritage, tourism and fashion sectors through the development of digital platforms called iWareBatik. Based on the action service design framework, this study provides chronological and representational outlooks manifested through a concrete research project while addressing the contributions and challenges of ICT intervention in fulfilling the overarching missions of ICH preservation.

Digital technologies for ICH shall be carefully curated in order to better communicate exceptional cultural values better of this tradition, protect the cultural identity of local communities, and disseminate its cultural significance to diverse audiences. Over the last decade, digital technologies to preserve Batik textile heritage have significantly increased. However, most are developed following traditional information systems that serve limited communication purposes for few audiences. Given the complex mission of ICH preservation and its wide range of communication objectives, this study offers an exemplary research project that aims to provide new approaches in adopting hypermedia-intensive ICT and artificial intelligence as an innovative breakthrough for communicating Indonesian Batik as UNESCO ICH since 2009. Through the creation of iWareBatik tal platforms as the central part of this study, the thesis further demonstrates the five roles of digital technologies Access, Better Experience, Connect, Disintermediate, and Educate, known as an acronym of ABCDE. iWareBatik digital platforms were designed and developed in accordance with four theoretical frameworks, namely Online Communication Model (OCM), ADDIE model, Analysis of Web App Requirements (AWARe), and service design research.

From the conception to the evaluation phase, the development of iWareBatik digital technologies includes curating a knowledge database covering the philosophical meanings of 124 Batik motifs, thematic wearing rules, and information of 129 Indonesian cultural/natural tourism destinations nationwide. This doctoral dissertation includes several scientific publications that provide a path to comprehend the core challenges of preserving Indonesian Batik in the digital era, while outlining the conceptual design, development, and evaluation in the context of heritage and tourism. Considering the complex communication goals in the ICH domain, a systematic requirement analysis was conducted in order to produce a conceptual service design that holistically accommodates the needs and requirements of Batik-related stakeholders. This study is addressed to scholars and practitioners in tourism, heritage, and fashion to inspire intended users to better manage and valorize the textile heritage in its due contexts.

Starting from the literature review in Chapter 1, this dissertation further elaborates benchmarking study in Chapter 2, which addresses the 5th element of OCM theory. Chapter 3 outlines the co-creation process of user requirement elicitation based on the OCM and AWARe models. Chapter 4 discusses the conceptual design and technical development of the artificial intelligence pattern recognition system of the Batik Recognition Tool, embedded within the iWareBatik mobile app. Chapter 5, as the final part of this thesis, covers the evaluation activities carried out as learning and citizen engagement activities, conducted with the participation of 997 bachelor student participants in collaboration with 33 Indonesian universities and tourism institutes nationwide. A structural analysis using NVivo text query method is generated in order to illustrate the key points addressed by 79 focus group discussions and 628 essays collected from the participants. This study serve as an exemplary case study of evaluating digital technology for ICH involving multidisciplinary stakeholders. An iWareBatik international hackathon event 2021, participated by 156 selected Indonesian bachelor students, was conducted as part of the UX evaluation study, which at the same time contributed to increasing the capacity building of young Indonesian stakeholders to preserve Indonesian textile heritage. Due to the limitation of the thesis, further improvements are suggested in order to progress the advancement of digital technologies in the preservation of living heritage.



Intangible cultural heritage, new media, information and communication technology, iwarebatik, Indonesian Batik, online communication model, cultural ressource management, heritage tourism, fashion heritage, digital information system, artificial intelligence, mobile app, web technology, digital heritage, mixed reality, elearning for culture, participatory design.