VASDiV: Visual Activism and Sexual Diversity in Vietnam

Lead Research Organisation: Loughborough University
Department Name: Creative Arts

Abstract

Visual Activism and Sexual Diversity in Vietnam VASDiV is an interdisciplinary collaborative research network comprised of academics, experts, practitioners and network members that are internationally recognised in the field of visual culture, activism, gender, sexual politics and queer theory. The network is committed to sexual diversity in terms of devising new figurations of sexual identity beyond patriarchal and sexist models. The geopolitical context of the project will help to address the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with regards to gender equality (Sustainable Development Goal No. 5), reduced inequalities (SDG No. 10) and by producing a partnership for these goals by forming invaluable links with Vietnamese NGOs (SDG No. 17). The project provides a framework for the role that visual activism can play in how these social issues can be studied, addressed and challenged.

The overall aim of the project is to support the drive towards gender equality and reduced inequalities in Vietnam by facilitating discussion, analysis and dissemination of visual activist practices in sexual minority communities, and demonstrate how visual activist practice can enable social change. To this date there has been no substantial research done in this emerging field of visual activist practice in Vietnam. The project's objectives will activate fruitful, novel and ground-breaking interaction between academics, experts, network members, visual activists and stakeholders.

Network members include; Dr. Hoang Tu Anh, Vice Director of the Center for Creative Initiatives in Health and Population CCIHP, Hanoi, Vietnam; Ms Lung Minh Ngoc, Director of the Institute for Studies of Society, Economics and Environment iSEE, Hanoi Vietnam; Dr. Basia Sliwinska, Valand Academy, University of Gothenburg, expert on feminism and transnational art; Professor Tine Gammeltoft, University of Copenhagen, expert on sexuality and gender in Vietnam; Ms Himiko Nguyen, visual artist based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; and Dr. Cristina Nualart, Universidad Complutense, Madrid, Spain, specialist in contemporary Vietnamese art. The network comprising of these experts would enable research into an exciting and emerging field of inquiry. The project will further understanding and advance knowledge of visual activism and the impact of technology on politicized practices of representation.

The project will be of interest to a wide range of disciplines, which includes the visual arts, gender studies, area studies, postcolonial studies, queer studies and global health. The activities carried out in this project are intended to address the following audiences: artists and visual activists concerned with sexual minorities in Vietnam, interdisciplinary experts in the field, the academic communities in the UK, Europe and Vietnam, UK Research and Innovation stakeholders and the wider public. This project is an unquestionably invaluable opportunity for acquiring, consolidating, advancing and disseminating knowledge about current and future directions of sexuality, queer studies, visual culture and activism studies.

Planned Impact

VASDiV is an interdisciplinary and collaborative research network comprised of academics, experts, practitioners and NGOs that are internationally recognised in the field of visual culture, activism, gender, sexual politics and queer theory. The project draws upon research capabilities of the involved institutions and supports local arts and visual culture communities in Vietnam. It is beneficial to the academic community in Vietnam, Europe, the UK and beyond. It raises social awareness and addresses issues at the grassroots level to engage with and involve communities of practice. The project is envisaged to facilitate and sustain a platform that will lead to a longer-term cross-cultural and cross-national collaborations and enables the development of practices that are sensitive to cultural contexts and issues around diversity, difference and inclusivity.

The project explores social and cultural factors which contribute to shaping questions of identity, gender, sexuality through visual activism. These issues will be pursued in the context of the involved institutions, which complicates questions around geographical locations, cultural, social and political contexts: all of these factors are hugely beneficial for the partners, the involved communities of practice and the project itself. Ideas which are initiated in European academic contexts can now be explored further, acquiring new dimensions, which can only become challenged through a genuine mobility ensuring fresh professional and scientific scrutiny. This improves the production of knowledge, its dissemination and exploitation. The projects builds upon existing knowledge but also largely depends on the possibilities to access new information and expertise of highly acclaimed academics and practitioners from Vietnam and, consequently, share it with a wider audience. This encourages an exchange of knowledge and widens the European research culture towards interdisciplinarity and trans-culturality. The research findings will be disseminated to both specialist and non-specialist audiences, including individuals and public institutions, ensuring the knowledge sharing is open and transparent. The geopolitical context of the project will help to address the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with regards to gender equality (Sustainable Development Goal SDG No. 5), reduced inequalities (SDG No. 10) and by producing a partnership for these goals by forming invaluable links with Vietnamese NGOs (SDG No. 17).

The project provides the research community and the non-academic public with a better understanding of existing research in the visual arts, gender, sexuality, activism, visual studies and the development of cultural trends relevant for current debates within the field. It has both cultural and societal impacts. It increases social awareness and provides a better understanding of visual culture by addressing aspects of current pressing questions concerning identity, gender and sexuality. This project is an unquestionably invaluable opportunity for acquiring, consolidating, advancing and disseminating knowledge about current and future directions of sexuality, queer studies, visual culture and activism studies, and, by extension, positioning debates within global contexts.

Publications

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