Predicting future heritage from a creative perspective

On the morning of December 07, the talk “Scenario: The City (of Hanoi) in 2048” took place at the Vietnamese Women’s Museum. Lecturers and students from RMIT University in Vietnam and Melbourne shared profound insights into their processes and experiences in the programme Future Ancestors, while discussing with the audience the role of creative practitioners in preserving and nurturing heritage for the next generations. 

Connecting the youth with traditional textiles

The first project within the framework of Future Ancestors was Weaving The Future (guided by Kilomet109). Through fieldwork at craft villages, museums and the Kilomet109 store, students from the two campuses had the chance to observe the natural dyeing process and local traditional materials while learning about production models of textile products made from natural materials. 

The project team proposed organising workshops for children to let them connect with the traditional cultural values of the country through practice, thereby encouraging dialogues on sustainable development in the era of explosive consumerism. 

“We (project team members) represent different communities. We are fully aware of how disconnected we are from our own community’s cultural roots, and so the whole team discussed and came up with the idea of organising workshops on natural weaving techniques. Although not from Hanoi, we hope to connect with the people of Hanoi, especially primary school students, through activities that aim to preserve and inherit the spirit of traditions,” a student enthusiastically said about the project.

Digitising resident complexes to extend heritage vitality

The second project was titled Extending Heritage (guided by Hanoi Ad Hoc). Using photography and 3D technology to digitise architectural artefacts, students and their instructors spent time talking with people living in Hanoi’s old buildings to explore their life at the presence in structures which represent the turning tides of history. 

It had been an exciting experience for the project team. “We visited families in Hang Ga or Nghia Tan. These buildings are ancient yet are the shared living space of four to five generations. Observing the transformation of these structures inspired intriguing conversations among us about history and cultural heritage preservation.”

This approach to heritage through visual arts helps make way for models that can archive interactions in the digital realm, while also expected to foster spaces for exchanges between arts and technology in the future. 

Explore urban mobility through photography

The last project was Inner-city Commute (guided by Matca). Under the guidance of Matca, the project team conducted urban research on Hanoi by walking along the streets to seek solutions to the question: “How do questions of history, urban design, climate change and inclusivity influence movement around the city now and into the future?”

Students took photographs and discussed to explore the relationship between the mobility of Hanoi residents and the urban environment that surrounds them, thereby revealing the development of Hanoi through historical milestones. 

One student said that he was captivated by the history and diversity in the adaptive lifestyle of Hanoi’s people. Photography practice led to reflections on his own experiences, not only regarding people’s mobility but also how we transition from the present to the future. 

By approaching the concept of “future heritage” from an unconventional perspective, the talk “Scenario: The City (of Hanoi) in 2048” explored novel practices in the preservation and continuation of intangible cultural heritage in Hanoi in particular and Vietnam in general. The speakers, the project team and the audience at the event all hoped that there would be more multidisciplinary discussions like this one to connect the present and the future, as well as bring forward predictions about heritage in the future. 


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