Uncovering Vietnamese Archives with Dora Lam
Embark on a journey activating Vietnamese Archives from a contemporary lens in five workshops with our resident artist Dora Lam.
From March to April 2023, interdisciplinary artist Dora Lam will deliver five workshops in collaboration with archivists, artists, and specialists as part of her residency at Museum of the Home.
Part of the Research & Development Lab, the workshops serve as a catalyst for the Vietnamese community to think critically about Vietnamese archives, and the powerful stories of British-Vietnamese migration, endurance, and diaspora history they contain. The aim is to empower participants - particularly those from the Vietnamese community - with the knowledge, language, and inspiration to engage with Vietnamese archives in a meaningful way.
Saturday 11 March 2023 | Archives Are...
Archives can be shrouded in secrecy, mystery and authority and yet, they are a goldmine of rich histories and inspiration... So where to begin?
Join artist-archivist Cường Minh Bá Phạm and artist Dora Lam for this introductory and hands-on workshop where you will uncover the secret world of archives. Look beyond the rows of boxes to discover archives and why they matter - to you, your community and your culture.
The day will start at the Museum of the Home where we will discuss the idea of “archives” including their power and potential as well as limitations. What are archives? Where do they live? How do I navigate them? What can they reveal about us, our past and our futures?
For the second part, we will venture on a field trip to dive into Vietnamese Archives in Hackney where you will be immersed in the stories, poetry, articles, books, newsletters, objects and much more. As a group you will be inspired to use the archive as a site to seek and create your own histories.
Saturday 25 March 2023 | Living Object Archive
What if a poster could speak? What has it witnessed? How do we tell our stories through objects? And what of objects that are no more?
Our daily life is surrounded by material culture, but what would it mean to build a collective object archive that captures our personal histories and is created by us?
Join the artist Dora Lam in this practical workshop to build a living object archive at the Museum of the Home. Take on the role of archivist and be empowered to present your stories through your own personal objects.
Through the exercise of self-archiving you will interrogate the authority and possession of archives, disturbing the idea of archives as static, hidden rows and boxes. You will reactivate objects in the Vietnamese archives and the Museum’s collection by responding with your own objects, captions, categories, arrangements and rearrangements. Together we will play with creative ways of representing phantom objects - those we no longer have or which only exist in stories once told.
Saturday 1 April 2023 | Everyone is an Archivist
How do we document stories from our families or communities? How do we approach conversations about the past? Are photographs a way of self-archiving? What do I do with them?
Meaningful conversations can be ephemeral, private and fleeting, while photographs may be universal, shareable and permanent. So where to start? How can we use photography as a method for self-archiving? Join artist Dora Lam and artist-photographer Caro Gervay in this practical workshop to inspire you to be the author of your own histories.
You will also explore sensitive interview techniques that may sidestep communication barriers. As a group you will use your own photographs as a resource for building collective memory and knowledge sharing. We will interrogate traditional archival processes to develop a practice around self-archiving. Empower yourself by learning ways to take an active role in documenting and representing your own personal and collective histories.
Saturday 22 April 2023 | Weaving
How can we preserve cultural heritage through our actions? Through making? With our hands?
Bamboo weaving is an endangered craft in Vietnam. We aspire to activate this craft through a contemporary lens, weaving together archive material, memory and bamboo. Join artists Yiran Duan and Dora Lam in this practical workshop where you will learn an introduction to this precious craft, and pick up new skills while engaging in the communal act of weaving.
You will learn about the cultural background and history of weaving and its practice in modern day society. Together, you will create unique traditional bamboo baskets weaved together with fragments of photographs in the GOR HOI and other Vietnamese archives. Let the intricate craft of weaving take you on a journey of meditative making, reflection and conversation.
Saturday 29 April 2023 | Sound Story Lab
A knife chopping on the board, the slurping of hot soup, the leaves rustling,… did you know the sounds of your home tell a unique story about you?
Join us in our sound lab and experiment with the possibilities of objects, voices, environment and more. This hands-on workshop led by sound designer Nicola Chang and artist Dora Lam will take you on a playful journey to discover how we can perform and tell our stories through sound.
You will learn about sound as a rich and diverse form of expression and be inspired by the stories in the Vietnamese archives. Realise the potential of your voice, objects and surroundings in embodying and creating sounds which reflect your histories and identities.
The materials, processes, and exchange between participants during the workshops will be displayed as a “live exhibition” at Museum of the Home. Participants will have the opportunity to co-curate with Dora Lam at the end of each workshop.
- Ticketing is for each individual workshop. Follow the booking link provided under the descriptions or Book now to select tickets for multiple workshops.
- These workshops have limited capacity and are open to people who identify as East & Southeast Asian, but priority will be given to those with Vietnamese heritage. No prior knowledge around archives is necessary. Suitable for ages 20+ years old.
- Please email co-producers Lara Baclig LBaclig@museumofthehome.org.uk and Anna Nguyen ANguyen@museumofthehome.org.uk if you have any questions.
The Vietnamese archives refer to the GOR HOI Archive at Tower Hamlets Library.
This ESEA programme is generously funded by the Lien Viet fund by Islington and Shoreditch housing association.
About Dora Lam
Dora Lam is an interdisciplinary artist whose social practice involves community and collaboration to navigate the experiences of the East and South East Asian diaspora in London.
Saturday 11 March, 25 March, 1 April, 22 April, and 29 April 2023
Museum of the Home