£1000 grant for 'Curating memory: politics and the past in the An Viet archive (a podcast project)'. The An Viet Foundation was founded in Hackney in 1981 to support Vietnamese settlement in the United Kingdom following the ‘Vietnam War’. Its archive containing documents, objects, poetry, art, biographies etc. contributed over four decades by Vietnamese diaspora members recently suffered vandalism. Hackney council won funding from the government’s COVID-19 Archives Fund to restore the archive. Discussions are ongoing between the council, the Museum of the Home, the archive’s steering committee, academics, and the wider British Vietnamese community around how to make its contents accessible to a wider audience - including finding a new home, be this a museum, exhibition, permanent archive or elsewhere - add new materials and reinterpret existing ones.
The main aim of this podcast project is to document the complex deliberations – the memory politics - around how to present the heritage of Britain’s Vietnamese communities. I will record interviews with various stakeholders and narrate participant observation of site visits and archive viewing/sorting sessions to shed light on the deliberations that take place within and about a British minority community seeking to safeguard their threatened heritage in an era of budget cuts and culture wars. The project will also introduce the researcher’s findings on the official record of Vietnamese arrival (held at the National Archives) and bring these into dialogue with the An Viet archive to understand the messy space in which British Vietnamese people have lived.