In your opinion, why do cities want to participate in the world’s Creative Cities Network?

The new trend of the world today is to tap into creativity as the most important resource for development, because creative resources are unlimited, compared to natural ones. So that people should exploit resources to enrich themselves and the society.

Doan Mon Gate – Thang Long Imperial Citadel. Photo: Pham Hung

Countries that make good use of the creativity potential of human have a better advantage than others. It is evident that many countries with limited natural resources are among the most developed ones, such as Israel, Singapore, Japan, South Korea.

Moreover, innovative products play a more important role in life and economic development, especially when the creativity industry does not make air pollution, which is linked with many of the United Nations sustainable development goals.

The 4th Industrial Revolution also supports the development of the creativity industry.

Vietnam currently pursues building a startup nation based on innovation. What do you think about the role of the creative culture in a startup country?

Dragon Dance at Hoan Kiem Lake. Photo: Duy Khanh.

In addition to the common trend of the world, Vietnam has paid attention to the culture and creativity industry since 2005 when the Convention on Protection and Promotion of Diversity of Cultural Expressions was issued by the United Nations.

The Convention emphasizes the preservation of national cultural identity, the role of cultural products and services associated with customs and traditions as well as the supply and demand of the market in the cultural development. 

The investment in culture is still below expectation. How should we measure the value of culture?

Cultural development also requires paying attention to the economic aspect. But it is not only about the revenue of cultural products. Their messages to people are more important. Furthermore, culture and arts improve the spiritual life, making a place becomes a worth-living one. Therefore, towards sustainable development, we must focus on cultural and creative industries.

Co Loa Temple Festival. Photo: Pham Hung.

What should Vietnam do to promote creativity?

In the cultural industry, creativity centers must be set up. For example, the US has Hollywood as a gathering place for creative people with the same vocation such as cinema, art, fashion, among others. These centers help spread creativity to the community and other places. In Vietnam, creative hubs should be Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Danang.

Hanoi is the first city in Vietnam to participate in the world’s Creative Cities Network. As a participant in the preparation and submission of documents to UNESCO, in your opinion, what are the strengths for Hanoi to be selected as a Creative City?

Hanoi was selected as the first city of Vietnam to join the world’s Creative City Network. It can be said that this is a relatively risky choice because Hanoi is not an ideal place for new “experimentation”. Hanoians are usually cautious with changes.

However, it must be Hanoi because it has a huge cultural resource with over a-thousand-year history that not all capital cities in the world have. Hanoi is the land that gathers the most talented people of the country for centuries.

Co Loa Festival. Photo: Pham Hung.

It is also home to plenty of craft villages, valuable tangible and intangible heritages and a rich world of cuisine. If Hanoi promotes creativity based on the potential of craft products and cuisine, many new interesting products and events will be created to attract the public as well as the investment in conservation projects.

Moreover, most important central state organizations are located in Hanoi so that it is easy to promote the national and international brand for cultural events taking place here.

Besides, Hanoians have recently changed with a more open mind that accepts and adapts to innovation and adjustment to create breakthroughs.

After more than one year becoming a creative city, has Hanoi made significant changes, in your opinion?

Hanoi has not achieved the goals that we expected, even though we devised a lot of ambitious plans such as organizing contests, setting up design centers, training about creativity and public art development, among others.

Hanoi has recently organized two seminars, showing the concern of city leaders on the role of creativity to the city’s development. However, Hanoi needs to take more action to achieve its goals on creativity.

Thank you for your time!