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Journeys: A musical exploration of home and migration between Vietnam and London

A collaborative music project involving Vietnamese community members, musicians and a composer resulting in performances taking place in local venues.

  • School/Institute/Department: School of Geography, Music at QMUL, Geffrye Museum of the Home
  • Subjects: Music, Immigration, Communication, Vietnamese Culture
  • Audience:
  • Status: Past

Journeys: A musical exploration of home and migration between Vietnam and London explored the themes of home and migration between Vietnam and East London through a series of musical performances and workshops. The project collaborated with members of the Vietnamese community, musicians and a composer, Dr. Edward Nesbit, who is Composer in Residence at Queen Mary, University of London.

Over 400 people took part in a series of performances and workshops, featuring talks and discussion on current research into the themes of home and migration for Vietnamese people in London. 

These involved performances in London and Manchester as part of a series of Vietnamese community events curated by the VNUK Messengers, a group of Vietnamese musicians associated with the largest Vietnamese Church in London, located near to Mile End. A final performance then took place at QMUL as part of ' Ancient and Modern / East meets West', a musical event at QMUL that took place in December 2015.

The project also featured a workshop with children at local primary school, St Pauls Way Trust, in which school children were able to engage with Vietnamese music and culture through interacting with musicians and active researchers. 

The project was based upon PhD research by Annabelle Wilkins on relationships between home, work and migration among Vietnamese people in East London: a collaborative project developed in partnership with the Centre for Studies of Home, a partnership between QMUL and the Geffrye Museum of the Home. Annabelle’s research examines how refugees and migrants might create a sense of home and belonging in their new location, drawing on ideas of home as material, emotional and imaginative. Edward Nesbit has composed a new piece of music which is a re-arrangement of traditional Vietnamese songs on the theme of home.

Through collaboration and performances 'Journeys' sought to strengthen links between QMUL and its local communities, as well as bringing current research to new audiences and providing a platform for new research and future collaborations between QMUL and the Centre for Studies of Home, the Centre for the Study of Migration and professional musicians from London and Vietnam. 

The musical outputs offered a creative and participatory method for engaging research with individuals and communities beyond the academy, as well as enabling new ways of learning from Vietnamese individuals and groups in East London. Building on these partnerships, the participants plan to extend the project to develop a series of participatory workshops on home, music and migration with the Centre for Studies of Home and Vietnamese community organizations.

For further information, please contact Annabelle Wilkins, PhD candidate in the School of Geography:

This project received small award funding from the Centre for Public Engagement

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