Digitizing Vietnamese Art and Culture: Digital Preservation for Cultural Promotion and Education

Emma Duester, Lecturer, School of Communication & Design, RMIT University Vietnam and Michal Teague, Associate Lecturer – Design, RMIT University Vietnam

About the presenters:

EMMA DUESTER (PhD) is a Lecturer in the School of Communication and Design at the RMIT University (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology). She is leading a research team exploring the digitization of the art and culture sector in Hanoi, Vietnam. She is the author of ‘The Politics of Migration and Mobility in the Art World: Transnational Baltic Artistic Practices Across Europe,’ published by Intellect in 2021. Her areas of research interest include the creative industries, art and culture sector, digital technologies, and transnational communication.

Email: emma.duester@rmit.edu.vn


RMIT University (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology),

Michal Teague is an Associate Lecturer in Design Studies. For the past 10 years, Michal has worked professionally as a transnational practitioner and educator in art, design and communication in the Middle East and Vietnam. Michal holds a Master of Art in Public Space from RMIT University Melbourne. Michal’s areas of research interest and creative praxis are social and strategic design, creative and cultural industries, urban spaces and ecology, transnational design pedagogy and praxis-led research.

Email: michal.teague@rmit.edu.vn


Cultural professionals in the art and cultural sector in Hanoi, Vietnam, are carrying out digitization projects and utilizing digital platforms, tools and applications in order to control the production and dissemination of Vietnamese art and culture online. Today, Vietnamese cultural professionals are able to decide what to digitize, what to make publicly accessible and how to curate it online, allowing them to decide how to preserve cultural heritage as well as to decide how to use it and make it accessible as an educational resource. This is important in countering digital orientalism, by redressing the imbalance in the amount of accessible content online and expanding control over the global production and circulation of cultural content. This presentation will draw on findings from a research project being carried out at RMIT University Vietnam, beginning in January 2020. This research includes 35 interviews with artists and cultural professionals working in the cultural sector in Hanoi, Vietnam. It also includes a case study on the Vietnamese Women’s Museum, including research workshops with students and museum staff as well as the actual digitization of part of the museum’s collection using free, open-source software. These digital objects will now be included in the museum’s digital collection and used as learning resources. In addition, a digital ethnography was carried out on 7 art spaces’ Facebook pages during the lockdown in Hanoi, in order to investigate how cultural professionals used this social media platform to continue to inform, inspire, and educate the public.