An Viet (Well Settled)
HD video, stereo sound, colour
19 mins 20 sec

An Viet Foundation was a former community centre in Hackney serving Vietnamese refugees for over 35 years providing language support, employment training, business advice, health and social activities, the first Vietnamese UK housing association, a restaurant and a Southeast Asian research institute. It was founded by Mr Vu Thanh Khanh MBE who was a Vietnamese boat refugee and the first Vietnamese councillor for Hackney. The An Viet House was converted from a former bathhouse on Englefield Road, Hackney.

An Viet Foundation pioneered several projects including outreach educational workshops with secondary schools, proposals for a Vietnam Village as part of the London Olympics and economic development partnership between the UK and traditional craft villages in Hai Duong, Vietnam. Vietnamese refugees started to leave by boat following the fall of Saigon in the Vietnam American War and subsequent wars with China and Cambodia and environmental issues from 1979. 

The film revisits the legacy of the An Viet Foundation’s achievements against a precarious socio-political context where community spaces have closed following austerity policies post 2008 financial crisis. Pham reactivates the building by collaborating and co-facilitating social events and readings, reconsidering materials within the Southeast Asian library and documenting the transformation. The results of these experiments are selected and weaved into a narrative that creates a sense of poignancy despite the futility against neoliberal ideologies.

Exhibited at Royal Academy Schools
Photo credit: Andy Keate
Furniture: An Viet Foundation
Sound design: Rob Szeliga
Music assist: Cuong Pham
Subtitles assist: Clara Jo
Cast: Neba K, Toan Vu, Cuong Pham, Hana Le