School of Business researcher mapping creative industries in Vietnam

Lecturer in Design and Innovation Management in the School of Business Dr Marta Gasparin 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.

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.

“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.