I always loved walking through new cities and just explore the space surrounding me: Discovering urban space as visitor, as resident or as researcher and looking for the small details which make a city unique and observing how people interact with the material space around them.
Therefore, during my fieldwork in Buôn Ma Thuột and Tam Kỳ, I started to take a lot of photos of both cities . Being more a subconscious decision at the beginning, over time I started to take this more serious and tried to develop a process in how I moved through each city. I walked or used a bycicle and motorbike to travel through the urban space aI tried to document.
This was also born from the need to hold onto something which is in a constant process of trasnformation. Cities might be solidly build but particularily in Vietnam, their material landscape is also constantly reinvented end rebuild. All around me, the people in both cities made and remade their urban surrounding. This resulted in a diverse material space which was in part created by state actors and in part by the daily needs of local people.
Therefore, by taking photos and looking at these photos, new topics for my PhD also emerged, particularily how people are constructing their surrounding and how they interact with this material space.
The main topic emerging from the fieldwork was common feature of porous space in both cities, which allowed people to appropriate this space for use in their everyday life. This porosity, its meaning and function in the framework of Vietnamese cities is now the main argument of my PhD thesis. The porosity of urban space is particularily important for participation, social diversity and interaction and the production of a more inclusive urban space. POrosity also counters a more capitalist approach towards urban space, which supports large-scale privatization of urban space and its control by private or state actors.
I want to document this diversity in the everyday life and the porosity of urban space in Tam ky and Buon Ma Thuot. And I will also use the opportunity to share some of my photos taken during my fieldwork in both cities. Because they also represent the beauty of urban life and cities in Vietnam.
The photos were taken in Lê Thánh Tông Street, Buôn Ma Thuột, Đắk Lắk, Vietnam on 19 March 2014
To start, just some short information about me:
After working as a lecture at the University of Passau, Department of Southeast Asian Studies from 2016 to 2020, I currently finish writing my PhD Thesis on peri-urban space in secondary cities in Vietnam.
My research focuses on processes of (peri-)urbanization and modernization as well as state-society relations in Vietnam, especially processes of self-organization and citizenship. I am especially interested in small and medium sized towns. I conducted field research in Vietnam in 2010 in Soc Trang (Mekong Delta), in 2014 in Buon Ma Thuot (Dac Lac province) and in 2014/15 in Tam Ky (Quang Nam province).
My research combines qualitative with visual research methods.
And finally, I am really passionate about Vietnam and cities. In the following, I will try to share this passion with you.
I will also use this site to publish some of the photos, we took during the fieldwork in Buon Ma Thuot and Tam Ky, Vietnam in 2014 and 2015.
If you are interested, there are more information on my background, research, projects and teaching on this site.
See you around!