Museums and Soft Power

Exhibiting Research XI

Museums and Soft Power
Wednesday, 24 June 2015
18.00 – 19.30, Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre

Kate Arthurs (Director of Strategy, British Council Arts)
Chris Dercon (Director, Tate Modern)
Darius Sanai (Editor in Chief, Conde Nast Contract Publishing and Editor in Chief, Baku magazine)
Moderated by Professor Julian Stallabrass (The Courtauld Institute of Art)

The American academic Joseph Nye, in 2004, defined ‘soft power’ as ‘the influence and attractiveness a nation acquires when others are drawn to its culture and ideas’. The practice of cultural diplomacy is now the subject of debate as never before, and museums, their collections, representatives and reputations, are at the centre of this. The proliferation of collaborative projects worldwide – not least the opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, scheduled for the end of this year – throws a series of urgent issues into focus. If museums have ‘soft power’, how should this power be exercised, and for whom? How do art and politics intertwine? In international initiatives, can cultural diplomacy be reciprocal? Who stands to benefit, and where do the risks lie?

Listen to the talk

This debate was part of the ongoing Exhibiting Research series, organised by The Courtauld Institute of Art’s MA Programme Curating the Art Museum in collaboration with the Research Forum.