Written by Chii Nguyen for Unleashing Creativity Week
Photo courtesy of the Organising Committee
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Opening the series of talks in Unleashing Creativity Week, the talk “Unleashing the Creative Ecosystem in Hanoi – Solutions and Vision” presented the fundamentals of creativity, and discussed the rich creative potential and resources that are existing in Hanoi.
The event guest speakers include Pham Thi Lan Anh, Division of Cultural Heritage Management – Hanoi Department of Culture and Sports; Phạm Thanh Hường, Head of the Culture Department – UNESCO Office in Hanoi; Dr. Nguyễn Nhật Quang – Director of VINASA Institute of Science and Technology; architect Nguyễn Duy Thanh (MA), Deputy Director of 1+1>2 and lecturer at Hanoi University of Civil Engineering; and designer Vũ Thảo, Creative Director of Kilomet109. The talk was moderated by architect Dr. Nguyễn Quang.
Phạm Thị Lan Anh opened the event with her keynote “Hanoi and the potential to build a Creative City from cultural resources”. It is common knowledge that Hanoi is a city rich in heritage and cultural history. The golden population structure with more than 51% of the people in the working age. Building Hanoi to become a Creative City was one of the city’s focuses. Official documents from the 17th Party Congress of Hanoi Party Committee already set out the overarching goal: Fast and sustainable development of Hanoi to become a green, smart, modern, highly-competitive city in the country and the region by 2025; high quality of life, comprehensive and sustainable development of economics, culture and society of Hanoi, becoming a globally-connected and internationally-competitive city by 2045.
From the perspective of a policy maker, Lan Anh proposed 04 solutions for Hanoi to accomplish the roadmap to join the Creative Cities Network: 1) Fully implement the initiatives that Hanoi has committed to UNESCO Creative Cities Network. 2) Create the connections between traditions and modernity in the products of the cultural industries. 3) Develop creative spaces, fostering an environment that promotes creativity. 4) Develop the infrastructure and science-technology.
Working alongside the city, UNESCO representative Pham Thi Thanh Huong shared the vision and direction on the project to build up Hanoi from a creative city to a creative centre of the region and the world. Hanoi is the only capital city in Southeast Asia of with over a thousand years of history, the capital of a “powerful” nation in terms of culture but still lacking “connections” between the public, private sectors and international organisations. Thus, Hanoi is lagging behind other cities in the region on the ship of creativity. Huong also emphasised on the need to connect these sectors and organisations so that Hanoi can generate the added values from its immense heritage and existing human resources.
UNESCO proposed that Hanoi need to develop a long-term vision for the upcoming ten, twenty years, in order to shape the Creative Belt that connects the potential of the city. The three pillars in which UNESCO recommended and expected to collaborate include: 1) No separation between culture and the process of urban reconstruction and development. Bring cultural inspiration into urban planning and reconstruction. 2) Connecting educational institutions for one vision, planning and creating creative resources in all fields of UNESCO. 3) Develop a roadmap and an overview for the dynamic of culture and cultural events on three levels: international, national, and community.
There have been great examples in the region that Vietnam could learn from and put into practice. Singapore have been innovating in terms of design, and supporting the design startup ecosystem to make great stride. Chiang Mai utilise creative motivation in preserving heritage and craft villages, as well as folk arts and crafts, promoting the ecosystem that connects craft villages – artisans – designers.
Following next, Dr. Nguyen Nhat Quang presented his speech “Technology and Creative City”, and the fourth industrial revolution: the revolution of intelligence. Digital transformation is to adapt to the world’s speed of development, take advantage of the potential, innovate and connect. The digital reality space can create the tools to support and create more opportunities for arts and culture.
Architect Nguyen Duy Thanh (MA) discussed “Creative space and the role of architects”. He mentioned the “highlights” in architecture and the successful models of creative hubs in recent years: Zone 9, AGO Hub, 282 workshop, Complex 01, Id Hub, Think Playgrounds, and most recently the centre for the quintessence of Vietnamese craft villages in Bat Trang. In reality, these locations are operating individually, welcoming only 1000 to 500 people per year, while the population of Hanoi has reached 10 million. The question here is how to connect the resources to create a space that serves a larger number of people, to collaborate to thrive together.
Designer Vũ Thảo, from the viewpoint of a creative director and of sustainable development, believes that creativity should have people and communities at the focus, creating new values based on the continuation of traditional values. Her brand Kilomet109 embraces three key elements to create the “intrinsic value of proactivity”. They are: The force of ancient culture, Craft villages and innovation, and Creating new culture. She is especially interested in the relationship between design and the environment; being mindful in the production process so as not to harm people and their living environment; and continuing to inherit and develop without losing the indigenous culture.
At the end of the talk, architect Dr. Nguyen Quang posed the questions to each speaker to elaborate on their opinions and the connections between stakeholders, as stated in the talk: the Public – Private sectors and International organisations. The most mentioned keyword in this Q&A session is the “connection” for specific, coherent actions, from Hanoi actively creating the policies and frameworks to promote the creative ecosystem, to the initiatives born from the connections in the community to create new cultural values; developing creative space in association with the local culture and educational institutions; promoting the connections between individuals and small collectives, who are the most active factors in the creative industries. However, this vision also needs to include major corporations to spread these values on a larger scale.
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