Women gong ensemble, Mo H’ra village, Gia Lai, Vietnam ©

Le Xuan Phong


A British Council programme taking place in Colombia, Kenya and Vietnam, Cultural Heritage for Inclusive Growth is an action research initiative exploring the use of cultural heritage for growth that benefits all levels of society. Cultural heritage in this context means many things, from the built environment through to cultural traditions such as music and language. Inclusive growth means working with and for all levels of society in order to reconcile the divide between economic growth, and rising poverty and inequality.

In Vietnam, the in-country Cultural Heritage for Inclusive Growth project – known as Heritage of Future Past – works with music and film heritage, in particular valuable aspects that are under-represented or at high risk of disappearing. 

Music and film heritage – especially that of or representing marginalised groups, including ethnic minority groups located in remote, rural areas – are becoming increasingly less visible in Vietnam’s contemporary culture and society, against the backdrop of overwhelming economic growth. Within this context, efforts in safeguarding valuable and at-risk intangible cultural components have received very little attention and support. The situation affects the capacity of communities surrounding said components to develop their human capital and contribute to the development of the country.  

By employing innovative approaches that enable a variety of communities to contribute to 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 project is implemented across two closely-linked programming strands: Community Culture Heritage and Film-Archive-Music Lab (FAMLAB). While activities in the former focus on the safeguarding of cultural heritage within the project’s target communities, Strand 2 reaches out to the creative industry at large – in particular to artists, creative practitioners and audiences – to serve as a catalyst for collaborative works that engage with Vietnam’s music and film heritage via contemporary pathways.

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 assets via contemporary practices.


The overall objective of the project is to contribute to the inclusive and sustainable growth of the heritage sector in Vietnam.

The specific objectives of the project are:

- To innovate the heritage sector through digital, capacity building, and education;

- To improve livelihoods of marginalised communities;

- To increase access to heritage through networks, place-making, and community engagement (both physical and digital);

- To enable an inclusive and supportive environment through policy development, economic models, and good governance;

- To build long-lasting understanding and mutually beneficial connections between heritage sectors in Vietnam and the UK.


- Members of communities – including marginalised communities – who live locally to and/or identify socially and historically to the cultural heritage;

- Practitioners who engage with Vietnam’s music and film heritage, including managers, researchers, archivists, artists, students; 

- Organisations and businesses that constitute the heritage sector, including those working in cultural tourism;

- Policy makers, national and local government administrators in various sectors.


- Long term impact: contribution to the inclusive and sustainable growth of the heritage sector in Vietnam.

- Medium term outcomes:

+ Marginalised communities to have their heritage promoted and valued, their livelihoods improved through better engagement with the safeguarding of their heritage;

+ Heritage elements to become more accessible through digital, capacity building, and education (including oral teaching practices); 

+ Innovation and experimentation in working with music and film heritage engendered and supported;

+ Heritage sectors in Vietnam and the UK to be more closely linked, with the former directly benefitting from the connection and receiving more policy and institutional support as a result.