Grad College: Tutin Aryanti Wins AAUW International Fellowship Award


Tutin Aryanti, a doctoral student in the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has been awarded a 2011-12 International Fellowship Award from the American Association of University Women (AAUW). “This is a highly competitive award, and one of the few at this level available to international students,” according to Dr. Ken Vickery, Director of External Fellowships in the Graduate College.  “This year, out of more than 1,200 applicants from 113 countries, there were only 49 winners. So, high praise goes to Tutin for winning this fellowship.” Recipients are selected for academic achievement and demonstrated commitment to women and girls. AAUW’s International Fellowship Award program began in 1917 and was designed originally to provide women from Latin America with opportunities for graduate and postgraduate study in the U.S. Over its history, however, the program has expanded to advance educational and professional opportunities for women from around the globe.  After completing their graduate studies in the U.S., the majority of recipients return to their home countries to become leaders in government, industry, academia, community service, and the arts.
Aryanti’s dissertation research combines ethnography and architectural studies to explore the gendered use of space in Indonesian society. Focusing on 20th and 21st century Islamic architecture in Southeast Asia, she is particularly interested in the cultural practices that undergird the gendered use of space within Islamic mosques, including women’s mosques. “Architecture can help shape gender ideology, and vice versa. In the mosques of Indonesia, we see architecture as both enabling and restricting certain modes of behavior. Men and women behave differently from each other once inside the mosque, and this carries over into life beyond the mosque as well. I’m interested in exploring this interplay between architecture and gendered practices, with the goal being to better establish the linkage between architecture, behavior, and ideology,” says Aryanti. “I also want to raise the possibility that space-use restrictions in mosques can, instead of subjugating women, actually empower them.” Her interest in the gendered use of space began while she was earning a master’s degree in architecture from the Bandung Institute of Technology.  She further explored the issue while conducting research for the Akatiga Center for Social Analysis, a non-governmental organization in Bandung, where she examined the lives of women in Indonesia’s remote areas. Her dissertation therefore stems from longstanding interests in both architecture and women’s studies.
Aryanti arrived at the University of Illinois in the fall of 2007.  She had decided that Illinois was the best place for her to pursue her specific interests in architecture, religion, gender, art, and Southeast Asia.   I’m particularly grateful for being able to study under Dr. Ruggles,” said Aryanti, referring to Dr. D. Fairchild Ruggles in the Department of Landscape Architecture. “Dr. Ruggles has greatly inspired me and helped me develop a deeper understanding of the impact of architecture on people’s daily lives through advanced “theories.”
“I’m also grateful for the help I received from Dr. Vickery, “said Aryanti, referring to the guidance Vickery provided in the development of her fellowship proposal.  “Dr. Vickery gave me excellent advice.  I submitted several proposals last year and none were successful; but after I consulted with Dr. Vickery, I won this fellowship. I only wish I had contacted him earlier.”
As a graduate student and mother of two, Aryanti says she is grateful for the continuous encouragement and support of her husband, who gives her confidence to continue pursuing her studies while he completes his degree at Gadjah Mada University of Indonesia this year. “My husband, my parents, and my in-laws encourage me to reach the highest level of education I can. This helps me tremendously given that my husband and I are currently so far apart.”
Upon the completion of her doctoral program, she will continue teaching at the Indonesia University of Education, where she hopes to promote greater awareness of how ideology and issues of gender permeate the design of buildings and the way people use space.

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