- Programme of events strengthening connections between Viet Nam and Northern Ireland across culture and education begins in Hanoi
- Our Place in Space, the award-winning sculpture trail and scale model of the solar system, designed by artist Oliver Jeffers, touches down in Viet Nam
Marking the British Council's 30-year anniversary in Viet Nam and 50 years of diplomatic relations between the UK and Viet Nam, the UK/Viet Nam Season, themed on Climate and the Environment and Shared Heritage, is bringing together thought leaders, academics, educators, entrepreneurs, and artists from various organisations in the UK and Viet Nam to share ideas and experiences and discuss existing and future collaborations in the areas of arts and culture, education and English.
Alongside this week’s launch of Our Place in Space in Hanoi, the British Council is facilitating a programme of events strengthening connections and partnerships between Viet Nam and Northern Ireland across higher education and the cities of Belfast and Derry-Londonderry. These include a higher education wrap-around programme, featuring Queen’s University Belfast, with Professor David Rooney, Dean of Internationalisation, and Ulster University, with Director of Ulster Screen Academy, Professor Declan Keeney.
As part of Hanoi Creativity and Design Festival, the British Council is collaborating with Hanoi City on the Creative Cities conference, with Northern Ireland featuring prominently. Chris McCreery, Culture Development Manager, Belfast City Council will be sharing Belfast’s experience in securing the UNESCO City of Music status and the city’s music strategy, while John Peto, Head of Development at Nerve Centre in Derry-Londonderry will be speaking about the experience of working in the inaugural UK City of Culture, the legacy from achieving that accolade and their role in supporting the development of a creative community in the city.
Our Place in Space, a scale model of the solar system incorporating a three-dimensional sculpture trail, interactive AR app, and learning and events programmes touches down in the centre of Hanoi until 24 November and is being delivered as part of the British Council’s UK/Viet Nam Season, which runs from June until December 2023.
Led by Northern Ireland’s leading creative media arts organisation, Nerve Centre, in partnership with Hanoi-based social enterprise Think Playgrounds, Our Place in Space is an 8 km recreation of our solar system designed by artist Oliver Jeffers and astrophysicist Professor Stephen Smartt. Following a hugely successful tour of UK cities during 2022 and 2023 that attracted over a million visitors, this is the first time the space odyssey is going international.
Speaking about the opportunity to connect Northern Ireland with Viet Nam through the Season, Jonathan Stewart, Director, British Council Northern Ireland said: “We are excited to be building on the success of Our Place in Space when it opens in Hanoi this week as part of the UK/Viet Nam Season. Several Northern Ireland organisations, including Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University, are taking part in the British Council supported wrap-around programme of events, strengthening connections and forging new partnerships in English, education and arts and culture between Northern Ireland and Viet Nam. As part of this unique opportunity for cultural exchange we are delighted to be able share the inspiring story of Belfast becoming a UNESCO City of Music and Derry-Londonderry’s legacy 10 years on as the inaugural UK City of Culture.”
Donna McGowan, Director of the British Council in Viet Nam said: “Our Place in Space is more than an epic art installation; it's an exploration of our place in the cosmos, an opportunity to contemplate our existence from a unique perspective, across multiple sectors, whilst connecting with the wider community. As we engage with this inspiring project, thanks to Northern Ireland's Nerve Centre and Viet Nam's Think Playground it underscores the importance of collaboration and partnership in addressing our shared challenges here on Earth. 'Our Place in Space Hanoi' is a testament to the creativity and influence that emerge when the UK and Viet Nam come together, and it exemplifies the spirit of collaborative inspiration throughout the UK/Viet Nam Season. We are proudly presenting 'Our Place in Space Hanoi' as a pivotal part of the UK/Viet Nam Season in the British Council’s 30th year in Viet Nam.”
David Lewis, Executive Producer at the Nerve Centre, added: “The success of Our Place in Space over the last 18 months has shown the project’s universal appeal. The imaginative and playful experience created by Oliver Jeffers invites us all to look at our solar system in a different way — exploring what it means to live on Earth now, and how we might better share and protect our planet in future. We’re really excited by the opportunity to showcase the best in creativity from Northern Ireland and to collaborate with amazing partners in Viet Nam on what will be a truly memorable experience.”
Our Place in Space was originally conceived through a research and development project and presented as part of UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK, co-commissioned by Belfast City Council. UNBOXED was designed to celebrate creativity and innovation, with funding from the Northern Ireland Executive, UK Government, Scottish Government and Welsh Government.
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