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Fostering creativity from Hanoi’s cultural resources
Jenna Duong - Lai Tan 20:10, 2021/12/01
Cultural experts discussed solutions to help Hanoi fulfill its responsibilities as a member of UNESCO’s “Creative Cities” network.

“Our city is not a city of contrasts. All research conducted in the process of developing the profile shows that Hanoi is the meeting place of the East and the West, with many layers of history to create a distinctive feature for the city”, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nguyen Thi Thu Phuong, Deputy Director of Vietnam National Institute of Culture and Arts Studies (VICAS) said at the conference “Creative Design from the Capital's Cultural Resources”, held to seek ideas for defining programs, plans, and policies to promote creativity in the city.

The conference entitled “Creative Design from Cultural Resources of the Capital” is within the framework of the Vietnam Design Week 2021, and lasts until December 3. With the theme of “Awakening Traditions” Vietnam Design Week 2021 aims to encourage a change in thinking, exploiting and renewing traditional values, and promoting trends of sustainable design.

The space of the conference “Creative Design from Cultural Resources of the Capital”. Photo: Temple of Temple of Literature

Controversy about a city of contrasts

At the conference jointly hosted by the Hanoi Department of Culture and Sports, the UNESCO Office in Vietnam and VICAS has recently organized the Conference at the special national relic Temple of Literature,  Le Quoc Vinh - Chairman and General Director of Le Invest (Holdings) Corporation pointed out that 67% of people working in the cultural and creative sectors don’t even understand what “a Creative City” means.

Meanwhile, shared her thoughts: “The information given in the video clip shown at the opening of the Conference contains many inaccurate contents, such as the mention of Hanoi as "a city of contrasts.”

According to her, international experts often remark that “Hanoi is contrasts”, but when we heard the word and reviewed other city profiles, cultural authorities found out there was a similarity with Berlin (Germany). Therefore, if Hanoi does not correct this, the city’s profile will be reflected inaccurately when reporting to UNESCO. That’s why the first thing experts can do to realize Thang Long aspires to truly understand our profile.

“We had made great efforts, and were honored and proud to become the first Vietnamese Creative City in the field of design, but after two years, why is this concept still vague in Vietnam? Therefore, from a research perspective, I have always pondered how to continue to make this concept clear to each relevant group of people,” she stated.

Hanoi Dragon Boat Racing Festival took place in 2020. Photo: Ngoc Tu

Solutions to realize aspirations

To promote the city’s image as well as to fulfill commitments made when joining the Creative Cities Network, the experts at the Conference put forward several options, focusing on five groups of solutions that Hanoi should adopt: creating a tradition-modernity connection in cultural products; building a mechanism for financial investment and capital attraction; forming a creativity-fostering environment; investing in science and technology infrastructure, and drastically implementing Hanoi’s six action initiatives as committed to UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network.

To implement these solutions, local-level initiatives may be launched including setting up Hanoi Creative Design Center, building and reinforcing creative spaces in Hanoi, or running a TV series like “Hanoi Creative Talents”. At the same time, at the international level, Hanoi may organize a Hanoi Festival of Creative Design, a forum for Southeast Asian Creative Cities Network, or a network of young innovators.

Vinh - from Le Invest also hoped that before investing in large creative spaces, Hanoi should pay attention to developing smaller ones as common innovators often lack capital, space as well as other resources. Then, the city can proceed to form true creative spaces that befit the capital’s status.

Joining the UNESCO Creative Cities Network is the first yet crucial step towards the goal of enhancing Hanoi’s position as well as building a fresh and more attractive image for Hanoi, according to Pham Thi My Hoa – Deputy Director of Hanoi Department of Culture and Sports.

The road ahead requires great efforts of the city from all levels, sectors, and localities, especially the role of each citizen of the capital. Hanoi wishes to continue receiving the attention and companionship of all stakeholders to realize its vision for sustainable development goals.

The space of Hanoi’s 2020 Folk Culture Festival. Photo: Ngoc Tu

Having a long history of a millenary culture, Hanoi has been honored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a “City for Peace” and “Creative City”.

In the city's development process, the municipal government and people of Hanoi always attach great importance to culture regarding it as the spiritual foundation of society, endogenous strength, and the great motivation to develop the capital.

The task of building a beautiful and impressive city image with friendly and elegant people in the eyes of international friends will contribute to enhancing Hanoi’s prestige and position in the country and the international arena.

On October 31, 2019, Hanoi became the first city of Vietnam to receive an official designation by UNESCO as a Creative City, which coincided with the 20th anniversary of the city’s designation as a UNESCO City for Peace.

Following Hanoi’s successful application to the Creative Cities Network, UNESCO has been working with the city leadership and the central government to realize a vision of Hanoi as a Creative Capital.


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