Creative industry policy transfer to Asian countries: Exploring the role of UNESCO and the British Council


2 Minute read

The key research questions in this project are:

  • Who has driven the global spread of creative industries, and how?
  • What roles have international organisations such as the British Council and UNESCO played in this process?
  • What influence have local priorities, challenges, and aims had on the interpretation of the discourse?
  • What can we learn from this for more effective policy exchange and implementation?

The details

The cultural and creative industries have travelled far and wide from their initial policy uses in Australia and the UK. Virtually every country in the world now uses the notion of the “creative industries” in one way or another in their cultural, urban, and development policies. Though relatively little is known about what these terms have come to mean through the process of their international and interinstitutional policy transfer.

The project builds on the combined strengths of the supervisory team at the Universities of Melbourne and Manchester. Collaboratively and individually, they have worked and published on these questions, both in Southeast Asia and beyond.

The project also ties in with Dr De Beukelaer’s ARC-funded Discovery Project ‘UNESCO and the Making of Global Cultural Policy’. It builds on Dr Gilmore’s extensive work on policy transfer, with the topical expertise of Dr Parry and the extensive regional knowledge of Dr Jurriëns further strengthening the project.

Graduate researcher profile: Thuy Tran

Thuy Tran

What did you do before you started your PhD?

I worked for the UNESCO field office in Hanoi from 2012 to 2018, in the culture sector. Throughout the first half of that period, I supported the implementation of a variety of projects on World Heritage, Intangible Cultural Heritage, Museums, Crafts, and Cultural and Creative Industries. In the second half, I coordinated project activities, including some research components, mainly on Cultural and Creative Industries, which took place under the framework of the UNESCO 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. After that, I worked as an independent researcher for different organizations and research institutions, before taking this PhD journey in March 2020.

What are the challenges of your research role?

The challenges posed for my research role include expected and unexpected ones. The former results from the fact that I began this PhD as a matured student with family commitments. My son turned 6 one week before my flight to Melbourne. As guided by the University, I went to Australia by myself first, thinking that my family would come in the next two months.

This travel arrangement, however, became quite complicated due to the pandemic, which created a whole lot of unexpected challenges. The Australian borders closed three weeks after my arrival and remains closed today. Most of my time in Melbourne was spent in lockdown. As my son could not join me, I managed to go back to Vietnam by the end of 2020 after having my coursework completed. My confirmation was done from Hanoi in February 2021. About three months later, Hanoi went into its longest lockdown. My son started his first grade in September 2021, totally online. My daily work now involves not only this PhD research but also supporting my first-grade student to write his first words. It sometimes feels like two different PhD projects going on at the same time.

Furthermore, the pandemic has caused travel ban in many countries. I could not travel to Rwanda for fieldwork as planned and this has brought about quite a lot of changes in my research design and methods.

What is the best part of your research role?

I always love reading and writing, so this research role really suits me. Due to the challenges mentioned above, at some points, I have had hard times concentrating on my work. However, for the most part, I have truly enjoyed doing the research. One of the reasons that led me to go into this journey was the questions I had during the time working for UNESCO in Hanoi. Doing a PhD is hard work, but it has come quite naturally from my curiosity to understand, and I am so grateful to find some of the readings highly illuminating. The curiosity attached to the questions raised in the past has gradually been more and more satisfied.

Where do you wish to go after your PhD? Do you want to enter industry or continue doing more research?

Another reason for me to do this PhD is to embark on an academic career. I hope to continue doing more research.

Supervision team

First published on 8 July 2022.

Share this article