School of Business researcher mapping creative industries in Vietnam

Posted by pm357 at Jan 29, 2018 01:35 PM |
Dr Marta Gasparin, Lecturer in Design and Innovation Management at the University of Leicester School of Business, is carrying out a body of research and data collection funded by the British Council in Vietnam in order to create the first ever Vietnam creative industries directory.

Dr Gasparin and School of Business colleagues Dr Martin Quinn, Lecturer in Regional Development and Christophe Schinckus, Associate Professor (currently Professor of Finance at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), Saigon Campus, Vietnam) are contributing their research expertise and technical support on the project.

Their research is being carried out in partnership with the British Council Vietnam and Hanoi Grapevine, a well-known platform that promotes cultural development and artistic opportunity. The research and data collection will lead to the development of a directory that will take the form of an online portal, sharing profiles of businesses, social enterprises and organisations. Hanoi Grapevine will provide their support in research and data collection, as well as creating and maintaining the website.

Creative industries have become a major sector for economic development, both worldwide and indeed in Vietnam, where ambitious goals for these sectors have been set by the government; there is huge potential for growth. This current project is one of a number to be set forth by the British Council to help implement the Vietnam National Strategy for the Development of Cultural Industries to 2020, vision 2030 which was ratified by the Prime Minister in September 2016.

Dr Gasparin explains how she joined the research project: “I find this area of research fascinating as we look into social innovation in Vietnam. The fact that the country has no welfare state means that many interesting opportunities have arisen.”

Vu Thao, 39, is the Vietnamese founder and designer of Kilomet109, a fashion label that modifies the traditional fabric-production techniques of some of Vietnam’s 54 officially recognized ethnic minority groups and their subgroups, to create a distinctly modern style. Her annual collections are long on subtlety and earthy textures, and they highlight an attention to detail that raises the concept of “slow fashion” to another level. Thao takes traditional techniques from communities in Vietnam, altering them slightly, to great effect.

Kilomet109 supplies clothing to just one boutique in Vietnam and does not advertise formally. Yet it already has a following in Asia, Europe and the United States, and it fills regular orders from boutiques in Germany and Portugal and an online “slow fashion” store based in Thailand and New York.

Dr Gasparin added: “What interests me in the creative industries in Vietnam is that they are often unconventional but in a good way. Designers such as Vu Thao are able to create a sustainable supply chain (not looking for profit) and looks to work with ethnic minority communities who are able to keep their traditional craft but also blend them with her ideas to create fashion show clothes. I would describe it as co-creating. Eight families obtain work helping her, allowing the community to grow. Children in their communities were not interested in traditional crafts but they now see the value of the opportunity to be able to work at home and so don’t leave for the city as many people have done in the past.

“I first encountered Vietnamese crafts and designs at a London Craft Week exhibition in May 2017. Designers from all over the world were there and the British Council organised my first interviews with entrepreneurs including Thao. Assisted by the British Council Vietnam, I started making contacts within the Vietnamese creative industries and received very positive responses from those that I interviewed. Whilst they traditionally see commercialisation as disruptive, they saw the need to be recognised and the value of our project. This builds on the first government policy for creative people that was introduced in 2014, in consultation with the Vietnam Institute of Culture and Arts Studies (VICAS) and British Council Vietnam.”

Once launched later this year, the online directory will act as a medium for the creative industries to be officially recognised by all stakeholders including policy makers, investors and other sectors. In return, the latter will be better able to identify what these industries entail, what they contribute to the economy and what their potential for growth is. The directory will be free to the public.

In addition, the online directory will help to connect various creative sectors, generating collaborations between creatives and creative hubs. The British Council believe this will become an effective tool to stimulate the establishment of a great resource of talent, ideas, content and innovation.


For more information on Vu Thao’s work please read this article by the New York Times