Cultural diplomacy and internationalism in regional art institutions

Walden, Lauren (2020) Cultural diplomacy and internationalism in regional art institutions. Visual Studies, 34 (4). pp. 350-363. ISSN 1472-586X

Visual Studies Article Word Lauren Walden.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (36MB)


This study posits that current cultural diplomacy practice in UK museums and galleries could be significantly improved. Indeed, cultural diplomacy is commonly viewed as nationalist propaganda. An attempt to theoretically debunk this proposition indicates that greater understanding between peoples can be engendered by unifying the ideologies of internationalism and liberalism in the cultural sector. Liberalism is viewed as the present ideology operating in Museums and Galleries whilst internationalism is considered as a nascent force. Working in symbiosis, liberalism allows for a multiplicity of discourse whilst internationalism allows for a critical reappraisal of the status quo and nation-state hegemony. Indeed, a multiplicity of dialogic discourse is essential for cultural institutions to maintain a non-hegemonic stance. This is, of course, particularly apparent in contemporary art work which can often be subversive of national governments and the very idea of a nation-state. Further to this, a form of localised cultural diplomacy can reach the public at large and question the cultural capital of world centres. Empirically speaking, the exhibition format is used as a means to render cultural diplomacy palatable for public consumption. Hence, the UK case study Art from Elsewhere will be introduced which has rendered the international a normative presence in local art galleries. This 2014–2016 exhibition comprised a tour of recent contemporary art acquisitions in regional permanent collections which were funded by a £5 million pound grant from the UK charitable organisation, Art Fund. Instead of monophonic exhibitions emanating from one nation, Art from Elsewhere engenders a multilateral dialogue catalysed by the polyphonic nature of artists from several different nations whose works are juxtaposed both in conflict, symmetry and contrast to one another.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number:
4 February 2020Published
8 January 2020Accepted
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cultural Diplomacy; Contemporary Art; Internationalism; Liberalism; Regional Collections.
Subjects: CAH15 - social sciences > CAH15-03 - politics > CAH15-03-01 - politics
CAH25 - design, and creative and performing arts > CAH25-01 - creative arts and design > CAH25-01-02 - art
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Design and Media > Birmingham Institute of Creative Arts > Birmingham School of Art
Depositing User: Lauren Walden
Date Deposited: 23 Apr 2020 07:36
Last Modified: 04 Aug 2022 03:00

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


In this section...