Hà Nội looks to become a creative city

October, 06/2019 - 08:22

In order to develop creativity and international connectivity, Hà Nội has completed and submitted its application to become a member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network in 2019.


A performance by young artists on a street near Hà Nội's Hoàn Kiếm (Returned Sword) Lake). The capital city has completed and submitted its application to become a member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network in 2019 . VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Tùng

HÀ NỘI In order to develop creativity and international connectivity, Hà Nội has completed and submitted its application to become a member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network in 2019.

UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) will meet in November this year to look through the city’s application. If approved, Hà Nội will become the 181st Creative City in the world recognised by the organisation and the 32nd capital in terms of design creativity. This should help the city to increase its role and position in the world with more opportunities for international exchange and co-operation.

To reach this goal, Hà Nội has been focusing on enhancing creative talents, especially from a design perspective, at the centre of sustainable development with a vision to become one of the creative capitals of Southeast Asia.

The objective of building a creative city is to create sustainable culture and urban development based on original cultural foundations and resources. This means the city should strive for creativity on a higher level of sustainable urban development.

To apply for the title, each city has to choose among seven areas to build a creative city: craft and folk arts, media, film, design, gastronomy, literature and music.

Although Hà Nội has inherent strengths in the fields of gastronomy, craft and folk arts, it has chosen design as its key target because experts say it sits at the heart of the other six categories.

Design, particularly the creation of cultural space, is one of the areas that has drawn mass attraction from the public in recent years, according to some experts.

Moreover, by choosing the field of design as its key target, Hà Nội has more chance of boosting the process of international integration.

Out of 31 cities, 12 countries have chosen to focus on design.

Phạm Thị Lan Anh, head of the Heritage Management Office under the Hà Nội Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, who helped prepare the application, said Hà Nội had developed three initiatives, programmes and projects to meet the criteria to join the UNESCO network by promoting the role of culture and creativity in sustainable development.

“First, the city will set up Hà Nội Creative Design Centre with the goal of nurturing talents in the field of creative design, strengthening the network of creative design in the city, supporting creative projects and promoting international co-operation. Second, the capital will build a creative space network and consolidate creative hubs in the area,” Anh said.

“The Hà Nội creative space network will provide a platform for design, crafts and culture in the city. Another important initiative will be the construction of a specialised area for design, crafts and art, located next to the Hồng (Red) River. The area will be put under the management of the Hà Nội Creative Design Centre.” 

In addition, creative motifs used in this area will also be used in other parts of the city, forming a common creative ecosystem.

As a typical example, a smart space at the Hà Nội Museum has been set up using modern technology and interactive equipment such as a 3D experience space and virtual reality.

Another creative area at the Đông Anh Smart City is providing technology for creative designs incorporating elements inspired by traditional craft villages.

Anh said in its application, the city had also presented three major initiatives, programmes and projects, orienting towards the objectives of the network at an international level, especially those related to other member cities of the global network.

“First is the Hà Nội Creative Design Festival which will take place annually and include a series of events for professionals and the public, highlighting the innovation of design in the city and around the world. Designers from member cities of the network will be invited to Hà Nội to present their works. This will be a space for members to discuss co-operation opportunities," Anh said.

“Second is the Southeast Asian Creative Cities Network Forum which will be held in Hà Nội to support the exchange of knowledge and co-operation among Southeast Asian cities. Participants will include representatives from city authorities, international research and training organisations, businesses and innovative design organisations.

“Third is a network of young creative designers set up by the Hà Nội Creative Design Centre with a mission to find new talents, thereby providing support and opportunities for those who aspire to build creative cities for the future.”

Meanwhile, the Head of the Hà Nội Popularisation and Education Commission, Nguyễn Văn Phong, said the city was celebrating the 20th year of the title 'City for Peace' this year and this event marked a time to create a new breakthrough in its development vision.

With support and consultation from UNESCO, its application for the title Creative City of Southeast Asia and joining the organisation’s Creative Cities Network was very important.

“If that goal is put into practice, it will really be a real drive to promote the soft power of Hà Nội's culture,” Phong said at a conference held recently in the city by UNESCO and the Việt Nam Institute of Culture and Arts.

According to Phong, the capital’s long tradition of handicrafts, cultural tourism, creative spaces and cultural events could become its strength and create a trademark for the city.

UNESCO launched the Creative Cities Network in 2004 to promote co-operation among cities which recognise creativity as a significant factor in their development.

The network recognises craft and folk arts, media, film, design, gastronomy, literature and music as creative fields.

The main benefit of joining the network would be co-operation with other member cities, who must agree to invest in creativity, social inclusion and cultural vibrancy.

Chiang Mai, Phuket and Singapore are currently among the recognised creative cities in Southeast Asia. VNS