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Adhoc Talk 02: Surviving the fantasies of modernization

Co-organized by Ha Noi Ad Hoc and RMIT Vietnam, with support from UNESCO. This is the second talk in the AD HOC TALK series. RMIT University Vietnam is collaborating with Hà Nội Ad Hoc in their multi-year design-research project mapping the city memory of Hanoi.
This year the focus is “Hanoi Ad Hoc 1.0: Architecture, Factories and (Re)Tracing the Modern Dream of Recent Past.”


Mila Rosenthal // Human rights educator and campaigner, healthy people and planet development // Hanoi Ad hoc's core team member

The March 8 Textile Factory was a major site for the Vietnamese Communist Party’s efforts in the 1960’s and 1970’s to manufacture a modern socialist society, economy, city, and family. Dr Mila Rosenthal documented the labor and lives of March 8 women workers in the 1990’s, as Vietnam transitioned from socialism to a market economy and set a different ideal of what was considered modern. In the 2000’s, the factory was fully relegated to history and permanently closed.
What do we want to learn from the arc of this famous factory? Dr. Rosenthal will tell this remarkable story of the socialist vision for women’s labor in and around March 8 and how women navigated through and around the social architecture of the community. This story may help us ask new questions about how Hanoi and other cities can build another vision of modernization: better for women, for workers, for the planet.
Jennifer Vanderpool // Social practice artist, writer, and curator

Jennifer Vanderpool will discuss her exhibition Garment Girl, which opened in May 2018 at Heritage Space, Hà Nội, Việt Nam, and in 2019 was exhibited at the Kwan Fong Gallery of Art and Culture at California Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks, California. The Garment Girl narrative developed from Vanderpool’s immigrant grandmother’s reminiscences about working as a cook in a sweatshop in the Allegheny Mountains and her mother’s stories about sewing shirt collars to pay her college tuition. Vanderpool interlaced her matrilineal family stories of struggle with current labor activism, investigating the global textile industry and the stories of unseen garment workers sewing in sweatshops. Garment Girl facilitated this multivocal narrative through archival photographic intervention prints, textiles, community collaborations, and workers’ stories told by Vietnamese refugees who worked in Los Angeles sweatshops and those described by women textile laborers in Hà Nội. Vanderpool interwove their stories with ones she conducted with labor scholars and activists in both locations.
Facilitator: Michal Teague, Design Studies lecturer at RMIT Hanoi City campus.

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