New publication from TRYHANOI team about creative hubs21 June 2022
Danielle Labbé, Sara Turner and Celia Zuberec just had a new publication in Urban Studies journal.
“Vietnam’s capital city has recently witnessed the emergence of a new type of cultural space akin to what have been labelled creative hubs in other contexts: that is, locales that foster creation, collaboration, community engagement and business development in the cultural sector. During the 2010s, Hanoi saw a proliferation of small-scale, art-oriented creative hubs, most of them community-led and developed without state funding. In a context marked by a government historically wary of contemporary and experimental arts, these spaces face various forms of state control ranging from the censorship of events, to stiff fines or even closure. Despite these barriers, creative hubs have become important sites for the gathering and formation of Hanoi’s contemporary arts scene and countercultures. Based on over 80 interviews conducted in 2019, this paper investigates the motives behind the rise of these spaces in Hanoi and the political engagement techniques their founders, operators and users employ to remain in operation. Drawing on the notion of ‘informal life politics’, we argue that creative hubs seek to provide spaces of (partial) autonomy from governmentality in Hanoi. We further find that artists, intellectuals and other creative individuals use these spaces to challenge state controls. They do so not by lobbying formal institutions for policy changes, but instead by enacting the more open and free socio-cultural milieu they seek, from the bottom up.”