Hoang Van Chung

This collection of heritage stories has been created by Cultural Heritage for Inclusive Growth, a British Council programme taking place in Vietnam as well as Colombia and Kenya. 

In Vietnam, the in-country Cultural Heritage for Inclusive Growth project – known as Heritage of Future Past – works with communities, heritage bearers and contemporary artists to safeguard and promote music and film heritage which are under-represented or at high risk of disappearing.  

Music and film heritage – especially that of under-represented 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 rapid 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 national development.  

The ten stories within this publication are told through the view of people and places involved in the programme so far – to document, highlight and share the value, beauty and opportunities cultural heritage can bring from a diverse range of perspectives. Each story holds its own identity, creativity and uniqueness, yet all are inspired by a common sense of purpose; to promote the importance and relevance of cultural heritage in celebrating the past, further understanding our present and creating a shared future. 

When knitted together these stories both reveal and raise awareness for the transformational power of cultural heritage and its ability to develop cross-cultural understanding in today’s society. As demonstrated through the lens of Vietnam’s rich cultural heritage in this collection, it is uniquely positioned to do many things; from acting as a conduit for the exchange of ideas across generations to providing a pathway for building a collective, sustainable livelihoods.

Our sincere thanks to the authors: Barley Norton from Goldsmiths, University of London, and Hoàng Văn Chung from Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences, who travelled to many locations and interviewed many participants to make sure that the stories really capture the essence of the people at the heart of the project and their worlds. We believe these stories should be kept and shared for the benefit of people who tell their stories, and those who will listen and share these stories further.