This AHRC Network project contributes to our understanding of Asian museum and heritage boom and the impacts of liberal reform and privatization on heritage and memory in East and Southeast Asia. It is the first comparative study to examine the rapid expansion of private sector involvement in managing museums, heritage sites and commemorative practices in the region by investigating the memorialising tactics and strategies at play from a comparative perspective. In recognising that memory often attaches itself to heritage in diverse and contested ways (and so may be at odds with official histories), this research network will produce original insights into the opportunities and challenges faced by the sector, by asking how heritage technologies are appropriated by the private sector for diverse purposes, from the recognition of suffering and trauma to the creation of a just future.

The aim of this research network is to respond to the lack of consolidated research focusing on the recent growth phenomenon of private museums, heritage sites and commemorative practices in East and Southeast Asia, which has, at present, focused exclusively on China. This research will assemble the first scholarly network that links scholars working in different disciplines and in different sites to a state museum and heritage organisation in Vietnam. By promoting inter-disciplinary discussion and interaction on the subject of museums, sites and activities across East and Southeast Asia driven by the burgeoning private sector and its appropriation of heritage, our objective is to advance knowledge and understanding of the transformations taking place in a region, and identify the key issues which will influence the development of museums and heritage in the near future.

This network seeks to identify the shifts and dynamics of museums, heritage and memory in a rapidly changing political and economic climate. Our aim is to generate new knowledge of the opportunities and constraints under which the industry operates, which will be of use to practitioners and policymakers, nationally and internationally.