Thursday 24 September 2020


The British Council in Vietnam is pleased to introduce the collection of Community Cultural Heritage stories – inspiring tales for the promotion, celebration and creation of a shared future of Vietnam. The publication, by Barley Norton from Goldsmiths, University of London, and Hoàng Văn Chung from the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences, is part of the British Council’s Heritage of Future Past – a Cultural Heritage for Inclusive Growth project in Vietnam. 

Contributing to the inclusive and sustainable growth of the heritage sector in Vietnam, this project spent two years working with different types of music and film heritage, in particular valuable aspects that are under-represented or at high risk of disappearing. Through the stories of each individual, each community and through numerous activities and programmes, the project’s work is reflected in the collection of Community Cultural Heritage stories that capture the essence of the people at the heart of the project and their worlds.

As seen through the lens of Vietnam’s rich cultural heritage, this collection is uniquely positioned to act as a conduit for the exchange of ideas across generations to provide a pathway to build collective, sustainable livelihoods. By employing innovative approaches that enable a variety of communities to contribute and benefit from the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage, Heritage of Future Past seeks to create inclusive and sustainable growth opportunities in the heritage sector. The ten stories in this publication when knitted together to reveal and raise awareness of the transformational power of cultural heritage and its ability to develop a cross-cultural understanding in today’s society. 

In this publication, stories will remind readers about familiar images or sounds of many types of Vietnamese cultural heritage such as gongs, traditional music theatre called Chèo or Cải lương to H’Mong folksongs – each with its own identity and uniqueness. From the small village of Mo H'ra, in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai, the pride of the patriarch and his villagers were told vividly in The sound of Gongs in Mơ H’ra village - Heralds a new era of cultural tourism. Now their gongs can continue to resonate down the valleys and beyond the village. Through exploring how to sustain the declining Cải lương, the Beautiful And Real - Sustaining Cải lương music theatre reveals its great enthusiasm for the restoration of the more than 100-year-old Cải lương that graced the south down through many generations.

There is also the connection among readers and artists, professionals in an effort to preserve cultural values through sharing. It is a great opportunity to hear about the determination and hope of the artists, professionals through each program and project they do. There is a film critic Le Hong Lam in Warrior, who are you – Cinema in South Vietnam before 1975 with his story about a long trip around the United States and his two-year attempt to revive valuable parts of Vietnam's cinema heritage from 1954-1975. We also have composer Tran Thi Minh Ngoc with her quote 'In a society like Vietnam, it is really important to connect to heritage, it is part of our identity that we cannot reject’ to find out how she has been exploiting cultural heritage in her musical work.

Ten stories of uniqueness – we now can discover for more meaningful and inspiring stories in The collection of Community Cultural Heritage stories. ‘We hope that this book and the corresponding short films online will raise awareness of the value of cultural heritage and its transformative potential.’ – publication co-authors, Barley Norton and Hoang Van Chung.

The collection of Community Cultural Heritage stories are available in printed and electronic versions in both Vietnamese and English. 

  • The story collection electronic version can be viewed and downloaded here
  • For research purposes, documentation and archive, readers, researchers wishing to receive a printed copy of the book, please email to You will be contacted for further necessary information.

Notes to Editor

Hanh Le 
Communications Manager
British Council 
20 Thuy Khue
Tay Ho
T +84 (0)4 38436780 (ext.1957)
F +84 (0)4 38434962 

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We work with over 100 countries in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Last year we reached over 80 million people directly and 791 million people overall including online, through broadcasts and publications. We make a positive contribution to the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust. Founded in 1934 we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. We receive 15 per cent core funding grant from the UK government. 

About Heritage of Future Past

Heritage of Future Past is a two-year project delivered through the British Council’s Culture and Development initiative. Engaging with Vietnam’s music and film heritage, especially those currently under-threat or under-represented, the project consists of two interconnected strands: community-level activities, and FAMLAB (Film, Archive and Music Lab). Launched in April 2018, the project seeks to create opportunities for communities across the country to contribute to – and benefit from – the safeguarding and reinvigoration of their cultural heritage.

Project activities are focused on research, documentation, conservation, training and capacity building (including oral teaching techniques), experimentation and innovation, advocacy and education (including policy and community dialogues), and the re-imagination and revitalisation of cultural heritage via contemporary practices.