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Nov 24, 2023 / 15:34

Hanoi, British cities exchange experience in branding Creative City

Hanoi is the first Vietnamese municipality to issue a resolution on the development of the cultural industry, putting the spotlight on the promotion of the creative city.

Four years after being designated a Creative City, Hanoi is actively implementing initiatives through a series of activities and events, said Do Dinh Hong, Director of Hanoi's Department of Culture and Sports.

 Speakers share their experiences at the seminar. Photo: British Council Vietnam

Valuable experience

Hong was speaking at the international seminar "Hanoi Creative City - Brand Building and Resource Development", organized this week as part of the Hanoi Creative Design Festival 2023 from November 17 to 26. He said that the capital city is the first municipality in the country to issue a resolution on the development of cultural industries.

Hong said the amended draft of the Capital Law also includes provisions for the development of cultural industries and creative cities. These issues are also mentioned in the General Plan for the Development of the Capital City of Hanoi until 2030, with a vision for 2050.

"Hanoi is gradually positioning the Creative City brand to realize the vision: to turn the capital into a creative center of Southeast Asia in the design field," he said.

Specialists from the UK shared their experience building a Creative City brand with culture as the cornerstone of development. Through the effective use of brand positioning methods, the small cities in which they live now greatly appeal to locals and tourists, spreading their images around the globe.

 Donna McGowan, Director of the British Council in Vietnam, delivers the opening speech at Senimar. Photo: British Council Vietnam

Chris McCreery, Cultural Development Manager at Belfast City Council, said that the city has set out three new strategies that put creativity and people at the heart of development, including culture, tourism and music. The music strategy builds on Belfast's UNESCO Creative City of Music brand to promote the local music industry and celebrate the city's musical history and talent. 

The genres of music that the board focuses on promoting range from classical, pop, rock, and jazz, from international music to traditional and indigenous genres. In addition, the City of Belfast has run various development programs that celebrate culture and creativity so that more people know about the image of the Creative City of Music.

Also discussing the issue of Creative City branding, Poppy Jarratt, Project Coordinator at UNESCO City of Design Dundee, said that Dundee organizes the Dundee Month of Design every year in May, with design activities that attract a large participation from the design communities and locals. In addition, the 'Dundee - UNESCO Creative City of Design' brand has been placed in its new home, the V&A Dundee - Scotland's Design Museum. This reaffirms the city's ambition to position and celebrate design as a tool for community development, the economy and the city's image.

Mobilizing and developing resources

 An exhibition at the Hanoi Creative Design Festival. Photo: Huy Pham/ The Hanoi Times

In addition to exploring issues of brand identity and positioning, the seminar also proposed methods for developing creative communities in urban areas. This is also part of the message the event hopes to convey in its goals, which include an effective link between creativity and the development of action plans to identify the values and uniqueness of its brand.

Architect Doan Ky Thanh argued that creativity is present in all aspects of life, but creative industries are limited to only 13 professions, which should be given the opportunity to work together and create great added value. That's why the city needs to create an ecosystem for creative practice.

Therefore, it is very important to build large enough complexes such as hubs of all sizes to facilitate the operation of the creative ecosystem. If there is a specialized space for them, artists and creators will have more conditions to cooperate and cultivate creativity.

Meanwhile, John Peto from Derry-Londonderry UK City of Culture pointed to the need to nurture the creativity of society and harness that creativity for development. It is important to invest in creative skills and to help people communicate about these skills so that they can unleash their creativity and turn ideas into reality. Local governments and administrations have a crucial role to play in this regard.

Visitors to the Hang Dau Water Tower during the Hanoi Creative Design Festival. Photo: Huy Pham/ The Hanoi Times

Representatives of British Creative Cities and Hanoi creatives also raised the issue of creating spaces for creative activities, as there is a lack of such spaces in British cities and Hanoi. In the immediate future, creatives can use old, unused shops and renovate them for work. In the long term, large enough spaces need to be created, possibly in former industrial factories or new buildings.

McCreery acknowledged that the lack of space for creative industries is a problem in his own city. Although it has plenty of vacant space, using it requires planning. Some short-term projects can be done in empty storefronts, but in the long term it is important to plan spaces and create permanent studios that can mobilize a larger number of creatives.

Emphasizing the role and great value of the creative economy, Donna McGowan, Director of British Council Vietnam, said that the creative economy is an important choice of the new century, which connects society and solves many current challenges. The success of the creative economy is one of the bright spots of the UK.

Therefore, the British Council is always running programs to support creative industries with new and futuristic thinking. She also affirmed that the organization is cooperating with Hanoi City to help honor the Creative City and develop the cultural industry. She also expressed her hope that in the coming period, the two parties will achieve their goals and missions so that Hanoi can realize its aspiration to be a Creative City of Design at a new level.

The seminar was hosted by the Hanoi Municipal Department of Culture and Sports in cooperation with the British Council Vietnam to gather expert opinions on how to harness all creative resources in the capital. It provided an update on Hanoi's development progress as a Creative City of Design, as well as an analysis of urban development models using cultural identity and national heritage from the United Kingdom.