Museum diplomacy has come to new prominence in the contemporary moment. Museums have increasingly global agendas, advancing diverse international partnerships across the world. Moreover, they hold the potential to advance cross-cultural education and foster mutual understanding at a moment when we are beset by global challenges. Acknowledging the troubled histories of these institutions and their contested status, Museum Diplomacy: How Cultural Institutions Shape Global Engagement recognizes the pivotal contributions of museums’ global work, while also grappling with the significant issues, questions and possibilities that these activities raise. The collection features examinations of museum diplomacy by fifteen leading scholars and museum practitioners. These texts address global case studies that speak to museum practices related to objects, collections, and people, and charting foundational concepts and ideas. Taken as a whole, the book provides contemporary examples, grounded in historic context, along with provocations and explorations of best practices, providing points for reflection along with guidance for practitioners and scholars alike. Through these wide-ranging contributions, Museum Diplomacy also contributes a new understanding of cultural diplomacy that recognizes the vital diplomatic work of curators, museum administrators, and other museum professionals, as well as how these practitioners exert their own agency in ways that may or may not align with broader government and institutional agendas. Ultimately, Museum Diplomacy calls on the sector to rethink their perceptions of cultural diplomacy and embrace an expansive understanding of the diplomatic practitioner.
Sarah E.K. Smith is assistant professor and Canada Research Chair in Art, Culture and Global Relations, based in the Faculty of Information and Media Studies at Western University. Her writing and curatorial projects focus on contemporary art, cultural diplomacy, and creative labor. In 2015 she published the monograph General Idea: Life & Work (Art Canada Institute), which is available in English and French. She is a co-founder of the North American Cultural Diplomacy Initiative and a member of the International Cultural Relations Research Alliance. In 2015 she held the Canada‐US Fulbright Visiting Research Chair in Public Diplomacy at the University of Southern California.
Sascha Priewe is Director of Collections and Public Programs at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto. Before joining the Aga Khan Museum, he was the Associate Vice President, Strategic Initiatives & Partnerships, at the Royal Ontario Museum, and Curator: Chinese and Korean Collections at the British Museum. He is a co-founder of the North American Cultural Diplomacy Initiative and author of Museum Diplomacy: Parsing the Global Engagement of Museums. He serves on the boards of ICOM Canada, the Ontario Museum Association, and is the inaugural chairperson of the Global Leadership Council of the Idaho Museum of International Diaspora.
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Global Work of Museum Diplomacy
Sarah E.K. Smith & Sascha Priewe
Chapter 1: Museums as Diplomatic Sites
Chapter 2: Exhibitions and Loans as Cosmopolitan Ambassadors
Lee Davidson & Leticia Pérez Castellanos
Chapter 3: Envoys: Object-Entities and Repatriation in Counter-Hegemonic Museum Diplomacy
Anthony Alan Shelton
Chapter 4: Museum Diplomacy for Sustainable Development and Human Rights
Chapter 5: Satellite Museums
Patricia M. Goff
Chapter 6: Terracotta Diplomacy: Challenges and Opportunities
Chapter 7: Museums, Diaspora and Migration: Looking for New Paradigms in ‘Times of Crisis’
Simona Bodo and Anna Chiara Cimoli
Chapter 8: Inclusion and Refusal in Indigenous Museum Diplomacies: Three Moments
Chapter 9: Cultural Production as a Diplomatic Process: The National Museum of Qatar
Chapter 10: Between the US and Asia: Exhibitions and Summits as Cultural Diplomacy
Chapter 11: Smithsonian Global: Looking Beyond Our Borders
Liz Tunick Cedar
Chapter 12: Engaging the World Through Museum Collections and Research
Chapter 13: Global Museum Networks
Chapter 14: Training & Exchange Programs: Why People Matter
Chapter 15: Global Citizenship as an Instrument of Museum Diplomacy
About the Editors
About the Contributors
Cultural diplomacy is rapidly becoming a hot topic. As we read of its permutations in this valuable book of essays on the subject, it is a book that will surely influence, even redirect the course of museum practice.
This breakthrough study of museum diplomacy makes a compelling case for museum professionals as vital cultural diplomacy actors whose contributions have been overshadowed by scholarship’s focus on nation-state diplomats and policymakers. Offering a comprehensive and globally oriented discussion of the field, Smith and Priewe bring together contributions from leading museum professionals around the world who draw our attention to the various ways that museum work contributes to cultural diplomacy, and the potential museums hold to advance mutual understanding and address global issues. An engaging and topical snapshot of the field, this book is essential reading for those who study museums, diplomacy, and international relations, as well as for museum professionals and those engaged in diplomatic practice.