Museum Diplomacy in the Digital Age

August 30, 2021

Natalia Grincheva's Museum Diplomacy in the Digital Age presents online museums as places of modern cultural diplomacy and explores how museums can shape and manipulate their audiences.

Natalia Grincheva, an honorary research fellow in the Research Unit in Public Cultures (RUPC) at the University of Melbourne and a scholar of digital humanities, has concentrated on developing new data methods for researching museums as core players in the creative economy and as soft power actors. Her book Museum Diplomacy in the Digital Age, published by Routledge in 2020, considers online museums mainly as places of modern cultural diplomacy and explores how museums can shape and manipulate their audiences. Furthermore, the book discusses museums’ strategic forces through their online environments to create national identities and project messages across boundaries.

The book’s main question is about the digital aspect of the contemporary museum from the viewpoint of its diplomatic effects. To answer this question, the author conceptualizes the notion of “digital museum diplomacy.” Grincheva shows that this responsibility is realized by the museums’ cultural diplomacy that occurs informally by non-state actors online.

To conceptualize this trend the author has interviewed several specialists. She has tried to understand the agency of museums in cultural diplomacy and the dialogical essence of online media now used by museums. To do so, she introduces three online practices started by Western museums during the past decade by examining the Australian Museum, Sydney (Chapter 3); the British Museum, London (Chapter 4); and the Guggenheim Museum, New York (Chapter 5).

These online museum spaces have provided a unique chance to build a cooperative communication system with the visitors. For her, these new technologies incorporated by museums can present a series of opportunities and some sources of revenue needed to extend their abilities and assets.

According to Museum Diplomacy in the Digital Age, contemporary museums can reach unprecedented global power possibilities in expanding museum collections, narratives, and programs. Drawing on many examples in online museum spaces, the book introduces some techniques for “digital museum diplomacy.” Through this diplomacy, online museums can develop values and transfer cultural and political messages to guarantee their nations’ interests.

Natalia Grincheva, Museum Diplomacy in the Digital Age (Routledge, 2020) ISBN 9780815369998, 164 Pages, 22 B/W Illustrations

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