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Nov 28, 2023 / 07:21

Vietnam advised to use cultural heritage as material for creative industries

Counsellor for Cooperation and Cultural Activities at the French Embassy said Vietnam has made significant progress in promoting sustainable development and green economic growth while preserving its cultural heritage.

During the 50-minute Hue by Light show, Ngo Mon (Noon Gate) of the Hue Imperial Citadel will be covered with snow and legendary animals such as dragons and phoenixes created through 3D mapping art.

The light art show on December 12 is expected to be a brilliant culmination of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between France and Vietnam. It's also an ideal example of leveraging heritage as a source of inspiration for creative art.

On this occasion, Sophie Maysonnave, Counsellor for Cooperation and Cultural Activities at the French Embassy in Vietnam, spoke to The Hanoi Times about the promotion of cultural heritage in Vietnam.

Sophie Maysonnave, Counsellor for Cooperation and Cultural Activities at the French Embassy in Vietnam. Photo: IFV

How do you think we can harness cultural resources today?

I believe that culture is also a resource for the creative industries and the green economy. One way to use cultural resources to develop a green economy is to promote sustainable tourism.

France has a wealth of cultural heritage, including museums, art galleries, and historical landmarks that attract millions of tourists each year. By promoting green tourism practices, such as using renewable energy sources and reducing waste, these sites can help reduce the carbon footprint of the tourism industry.

Another way to leverage cultural resources is to encourage innovation and creativity in the cultural creative industries (CCIs). This investment has helped create new jobs and businesses in areas such as sustainable fashion, green architecture, and renewable energy.

Cultural resources can be harnessed to develop a green economy by promoting sustainable tourism and fostering innovation and creativity in CCIs. The French Minister of Culture, Rima Abdul Malak, and her Vietnamese counterpart, Nguyen Van Hung, agreed to work on these strategic topics during their recent meeting in Paris.

What are the dangers of economic development without regard for cultural preservation?

Without cultural preservation, a country would lose its identity and fail to achieve sustainable development goals.

In terms of solutions, I think the first priority is to raise people's awareness of the importance of cultural heritage and traditions and to ensure that they are not forgotten in the pursuit of economic development. This can be done through public education campaigns, cultural events, and other initiatives.

Cultural managers should involve local communities, as they are often the custodians of cultural heritage and traditions. Involving them in the economic development process can help ensure that their cultural heritage is protected and preserved.

Third, governments need to establish regulations. Regulations can help ensure that economic development does not come at the expense of cultural heritage and traditions. For example, regulations can be put in place to protect cultural heritage sites from development or to ensure that development projects are designed in a way that is sensitive to cultural heritage and traditions.

 3D mapping art at Ngo Mon of the Hue Imperial Citadel. Photo: IFV

Could you illustrate this with a couple of lessons in France?

Economic development should not be at the expense of cultural heritage and traditions. Sustainable development practices can help mitigate the negative impacts of economic growth on culture. For example, the French government has implemented a policy to promote sustainable tourism, which aims to reduce the environmental impact of tourism while preserving cultural heritage sites.

The French government has established a number of programs to support the preservation of cultural heritage sites, including the Heritage Foundation and the National Institute of Art History.

We also focus on promoting cultural diversity, as economic development should not lead to the homogenization of culture. 

We have policies to promote cultural diversity, including the creation of the National Center for Cinema and Animated Image, which supports the production of films that reflect the diversity of French culture.

By encouraging cultural preservation and promoting cultural diversity, it is possible to achieve economic growth while preserving cultural heritage and tradition. This is at the heart of the project that the French Embassy is currently implementing with Vietnamese partners: "Sharing and protecting Vietnam's cultural and natural heritage." 

 Visitors to an exhibition of handicrafts in Hanoi. Photo: Ngo Minh/The Hanoi Times

Could you tell us about a typical case of cultural preservation in green economic development that you find impressive in Vietnam?

Vietnam has made significant strides in recent years towards sustainable development and green economic growth.

In the Sapa region, community-based tourism (CBT) combined with the preservation of ethnic cultures has played an important role in the city's overall tourism development. Among other partners, the French province of Nouvelle Aquitaine has been working for years with Lao Cai Province to preserve the cultural heritage of the region's ethnic communities while promoting sustainable tourism practices.

Another good example is the renovated visitor center of Cuc Phuong National Park, Vietnam's first national park, which will be inaugurated on December 1 and is one of the results of the "Sharing and Protecting Vietnam's Cultural and Natural Heritage" project.

After 18 months of intensive work with the French National Museum of Natural History and French experts, the Cuc Phuong National Park team has designed and built, using local materials such as raw earth and bamboo, a renovated visitor center that will become a tool to draw visitors to Cuc Phuong National Park, especially the young ones, enabling them to better understand the richness of the forest and take action to protect its biodiversity.

Thank you for your time!