A Place to Belong
Sabrina Tran
An exhibition on the homes of Vietnamese refugees in America.
Home is a definition and place unique to everyone, just like their fingerprint. It could be their current home, a local spot, neighborhood, city, etc. Regardless of the places, even if they aren’t physical, the “home,” should involve displays that bring back memtories, comfort, “feel”  right to be in, and have the “right” things in their place. Homes bring pride; your life and memories are collected into a neat ball, no matter the size, but with all the importance. In a sense, the home has created who you are, in other words, your physical autobiography.

Usually, a home is easily accessed. You’re still able to feel at home in your local coffee shop, your bedroom, your favorite nook in the backyard. In unusual cases, someone’s home can be in the digital realm, hotel rooms mirroring their mobile nature, a place in the past, or a place they wish to create in the future. For those who are uprooted from their home, such as migrants or exiles, they can no longer access their home, and therefore recreate it in their present to create a comfortable space where they feel like they belong.

This thesis will focus on the newfound homes of Vietnamese immigrants, whose homes have been pulled from them, and forced to live in a foreign country. Their home, sense of belonging, and their connection to their homeland manifest in different ways, most frequently through their local community, recreating Vietnam as best as they can where they can revisit their memories, and connect with other people just like them.
Research Questions
  1. What is the definition of a “home”?
  2. How does our “home” affect our sense of belonging and attachment?
  3. How do we make a space our "home," and create a space to belong?
Realizing the recreation of the term "home" in relation to Vietnamese refugees.
Connie Hwang–Primary Advisor
SJSU Professor, Graphic Designer
Joe Miller–Secondary Advisor
SJSU Professor, Graphic Designer & 3D Branding
Erin Riggs–Tertiary Advisor
University of Illinois Professor, Anthropologist
Process Book