In Cities, Museums and Soft Power, respected museum planners Gail Lord and Ngaire Blankenberg demonstrate why and how museums and cities are using their soft power to address some of the most important issues of our time. Soft power is the exercise of influence through attraction, persuasion and agenda-setting rather than military or economic coercion.
Fourteen of the world's leading museum and cultural experts explore examples from six continents of the many facets of soft power in museums: how they amplify civic discourse, accelerate cultural change, and contribute to contextual intelligence among the great diversity of city dwellers, visitors and policy-makers. The authors urge city governments to embrace museums which so often are the signifiers of their cities, increasing real estate values while attracting investment, tourists and creative workers.
Blankenberg and Lord describe 32 practical strategies for museums and cities to activate soft power. This book is for museum professionals and trustees who seek to create relevant institutions, and for urbanists and city planners who want thriving and sustainable cities into the future.
Gail Dexter Lord is co-founder and co-president of Lord Cultural Resources. With Barry Lord, she is co-editor of The Manual of Museum Planning (1991, 1999, 2012), co-author of The Manual of Museum Management (1997 and 2009) and Artists, Patrons and the Public: Why Culture Changes (2010). She is co-author with Kate Markert of The Manual of Strategic Planning for Museums (2007). Gail has led cultural and tourism plans for cities as well as planning, management and exhibition assignments for museums, galleries and cities throughout Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, continental Europe, North America and Asia. In 2014, Gail was appointed Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters by the Minister of Culture of France. For a full bio, click here.
Ngaire Blankenberg is a Principal Consultant at Lord Cultural Resources. She has been a youth worker, jazz poet, cartoonist, documentary-maker, and television producer. She directed the award-winning documentary Morris Fynn Goes Native (SABC), was co-director of Nkosiâs Mission (SABC/BBC) and is the co-founder of the Museum of AIDS in Africa. She has advised museum and cultural clients in such cities as Washington D.C.; Patna; Dharhan, Dubai, Beijing and Sydney. Ngaire grew up in Winnipeg, Harare and Christchurch, and has lived and worked in Johannesburg, Toronto, Paris and Barcelona. For a full CV, click here.
Contributors and Their Essays
The book features a preface by Richard Florida and essays from the following contributors:
Ngaire Blankenberg and Gail Lord start by explaining the bookâs thesis in Why Cities, Museums and Soft Power and finish with some practical tips: 32 Ways for Museums to Activate their Soft Power.
Guido Guerzoni writes about The Museum Building Boom world-wide.
Frederica Olivares writes about Museums in Public Diplomacy with special reference to the Year of Italian Culture in the US.
Baillie Card looks at Museums in the Knowledge Economy and Urban Development with reference to Londonâs Knowledge Quarter.
Gegê Leme Joseph explores the successes and challenges of Museums in the Age of Brazilian Soft Power in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, and Minas Gerais.
Hayfa Matar writes about Museums as Signifiers in the Gulf - with special reference to Bahrain, Kuwait, Dubai, and Doha.
Ngaire Blankenberg, in her essay When Soft Powers Collide, looks at the importance of transparency, multiple perspectives and local engagement in the deployment of soft power and references museums in New York, Port Elizabeth, London, and Abu Dhabi.
Batul Mehta, in her essay Unearthing the Genius Loci of Museums in the Indian Subcontinent explores Indian museums confronting their colonial legacies in Delhi, Baroda, Dhaka and Patna.
Robert Punkenhofer in his essay about Cultural Nomads: Creative People on the Road and travels from Graz to Mexico City to Barcelona to Vienna to New York.
An Laishun, in his essay Cranking Up the Soft Power Engine of Chinese Museums looks at the massive expansion of museums in China and draws on examples in Suzhou, Ningbo and Shangha.
Gail Dexter Lord and Joy Bailey look at how museums have influenced the positioning of the cities of Winnipeg and Atlanta in their essay A Tale of Two Civil and Human Rights Cities.
Mohammed Gamal RashedâsCairo and The Grand Egyptian Museum: From Multiculturalism to Leadership in Sustainable Development explores the new museums and approach to museology in Cairo.
Lourdes FernĂĄndez draws on her experiences as director of Alhondiga Bilbao, and looks at a new paradigm for creativity in the city- referencing Basel, Miami, Maastricht and Bilbao in Global and Local: Fairs and Biennials, Temporary Urbanism and Pop-Up Museums.
Javier Jimenez explores the Economics of Museums and Cities worldwide.
"Cities, Museums and Soft Power provides a fascinating and multifaceted analysis of a theme that is intrinsically linked to UNESCOâs convictions on the influential role of culture and creativity in promoting social inclusion, understanding and economic growth."
"Through its thought-provoking and informative essays, Cities, Museums and Soft Power provides insight into the transformation of museums landscapes in all regions, against the backdrop of rapid urbanization, competition for tourists, talent and influence"
"Cities, Museums and Soft Power is required reading for anyone interested in culture, creative cities and the creative economy." — Irina Bokova, Director-General, UNESCO
"With the help of 14 experts from 10 countries, Lord and Blankenberg demonstrate how much museums have to offer our rapidly urbanizing planet. Cities will never be the sameâŠ" — Richard Florida, Urbanist, author of international best-seller The Rise of the Creative Class
"In this important and timely book, Gail Dexter Lord and Ngaire Blankenberg have brought together an interesting and innovative array of essays that not only answer the perennial question, why museums matter, but also suggests a blueprint for how museums can exercise more influence and be of greater value to their urban communities. This is a must read for those who care about culture, museums and the evolution of our communities in the 21st century." — Lonnie G. Bunch, Founding Director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture,
author of "Call the Lost dream Back: Essays on History, Race and Museums"
"A Cities, Museums, and Soft Power is a must-read for museum leaders who grapple with their institution's role in building cultural infrastructure locally or globally. Readable, instructive, and compelling, Ngaire Blankenberg and Gail Lord build the case for museums as strong society-minded networks that can deftly employ soft power to accelerate cultural change and empower citizens at home or around the world." — Melody Kanschat, Executive Director, Getty Leadership Institute
"The authors explore whatâs next for cities, museums and soft power, framing the international conversation about the future in fresh and provocative ways." — Jim Richardson, Founder, MuseumNext, London
"The flow and language is playful, easy to read, and directly engages the reader. All a big enthusiastic thumbs up! I â as a museum professional â got the impression I have a greater responsibility and civic duty in how I shape and share the stories I contribute to museums more now than ever before. I was given a real sense of empowerment!" — Kevin DâInnocenzo
An adapted excerpt from Cities, Museums and Soft Power by Gail Dexter Lord and Ngaire Blankenberg is featured in the 2015 March/April issue of the AAMâs MUSEUM magazine.
Share your soft power. Send us your photos and 100 words explaining how your museum or cultural project is activating soft power in your city and it could be the featured on the next Activate your Soft Power postcard. Email email@example.com.
Please visit soon for the list of upcoming talks and events.
Soft Power: Where to Find It & How to Use it Wednesday, April 27, 2016, Wine and cheese at 6 pm (program starts at 6:30 pm)
Grimshaw Architects Showcase Room, 637 W. 27th St., New York, NY 10001 Why is culture a form of soft power? How can it be activated to make New York a more equitable place to live and work?
Join Gail Lord, co-author of Cities, Museums and Soft Power, Kate Collignon, Partner, HR&A Advisors, Inc., Boon Hui Tan, Vice President, Global Arts and Cultural Programs and Director of Asia Society Museum, and Sharese Bullock-Bailey, Director, Tribeca Teaches at Tribeca Film Institute, in a discussion moderated by Joy Bailey Bryant, US Managing Director, and hosted by Grimshaw Architects on April 27, 2016.
Location: Grimshaw Architects Showcase Room, 637 W. 27th St., New York, NY 10001.
Panelists: Gail Lord, Joy Bailey Bryant, Kate Collignon, Boon Hui Tan, Sharese Bullock-Bailey
Culture and the Established City: the new urban paradigm Tuesday, March 15, 2016, 9:45 am Art for Tomorrow Conference, Doha, Qatar - W Doha Hotel & Residences Panel discussion about assessing the impact of new cultural institutions and activities on older cities.
Speakers: Gail Lord, co-founder and president, Lord Cultural Resources; Stephanie Manasseh, Accessible Art Fair, Brussels/New York
Moderator: Rachel Donadio, arts and culture writer, "The New York Times".
Soft Power Destinations Salon: Cities, Museums and Soft Power Activate Your Soft Power and Become a Destination! Salon hosted by Lord Cultural Resources in collaboration with Leading Culture Destinations Monday, March 14, 2016, 4 pm Art for Tomorrow Conference, Doha, Qatar, Doha's Firestation Artist in Residence gallery space In this special session, the speakers will discuss the concept of "SoftPower Destinations" and provide concrete ways for cities and museums to fully activate their soft power potential to actively build a better community and to stimulate new ways of thinking about the influence of cultural projects within their urban environments.
The session with enable key stakeholders and influencers to activate the soft power of cultural destinations.
Gail Lord, co-founder and president, Lord Cultural Resources; Ngaire Blankenberg, Director for Europe, Lord Cultural Resources; Florian Wupperfeld, Managing Partner, Leading Culture Destinations
Gail Lord speaks at McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology, University of Toronto. Photo courtest of McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology.
"Touch and Learn: The Soft Power of Museums"
October 13 - 16, 2015 Hands-On! Conference, Amsterdam, The Netherlands Speakers: Gail Lord and Akanksha Jain
Gail Lord delivered the conference's Keynote Presentation on childrenâs education in museums. Gail was also part of a keynote panel entitled "Museum Programmes and Exhibitions for Children â Essential for Creating Creative People." Her Majesty Queen Maxima of the Netherlands officially opened the tenth edition of the Hands On! Conference in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and attended Gail Lord's keynote speech.
Akanksha Jain, Design Consultant, gave a presentation on how the Childrenâs Gallery at the Bihar Museum in Patna, India, is embracing the more open and interactive museum model. Touch-tables, zero barriers, and interactive exhibits all allow children visiting the Museum to engage with content in a more meaningful way. By giving these children somewhere to learn, the Museum is preparing Biharâs next generation. View presentation by Gail Lord View presentation by Akanksha Jain
Cities, Museums and Soft Power: A Look at London
October 8, 2015 UK British Library Staff Restaurant, 96 Euston Rd, London NW1 2DB, United Kingdom The discussion drew from the book "Cities, Museums and Soft Power" by Gail Lord and Ngaire Blankenberg â now available in London. Hosted by London's Knowledge Quarter
Speakers: Gail Lord, Ngaire Blankenberg, and Panelists:
- Chris Michaels, Head of Digital and Publishing, British Museum
- Miki Lentin, Head of Corporate Affairs, British Library
- Yasmin Khan, Independent Cultural Advisor View presentation
Cities, Museums and Soft Power
September 25-27, 2015 Pebble Beach Authors & Ideas Festival
Campus at Stevenson School, Pebble Beach, California Meet the author and get your signed copy. Gail Lord disscused the ideas presented in the book.
Cities, Museums and SOFT POWER in Johannesburg
July 23, 2015
Liliesleaf Farm and Museum, Johannesburg Speakers: Panel - Ngaire Blankenberg with David Kramer, CEO of Johannesburgâs Sci-Bono Discovery Centre.
Sheila Tyeku - Founding Chairperson of Play Africa, Shaun Samuels, director of TDSP and Lauren Segal, independent curator
How you can activate the soft power of your museums
June 22, 2015 TEDxHamburg, "Exploring New Territories", Hamburg, Germany Speaker: Ngaire Blankenberg View presentation
CITIES, MUSEUMS, AND SOFT POWER with Gail Dexter Lord and Ngaire Blankenberg Big City Big Ideas, public lecture series with the University of Toronto
April 30, 2015
Gardiner Museum, Toronto, ON Museums are the sleeping giants of cities- fast becoming a major urban force, helping cities to attract people and investment, and address challenges such as inequality, social exclusion and sustainability. Lord and Blankenberg discussed how and why museums and cities can work together to activate their soft power- influence through attraction, persuasion and agenda-setting. View presentation
Atlanta to Winnipeg: Museums Activating Soft Power in Two Human Rights Cities
April 25, 2015 Annual General Meeting of the American Alliance of Museums, National Center for Civil and Human Rights, Atlanta, GA The founding CEOs of two major new museums discussed how they are working with their host cities to promote a civic culture of human and civil rights. Doug Shipman, Chief Executive Officer of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights and Stuart Murray, former CEO of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights shared their experiences and strategies working with local city stakeholders to re-position their cities with Ngaire Blankenberg and Gail Lord.
How Museums Can Activate their Soft Power
April 26, 2015 Annual General Meeting of the American Alliance of Museums, Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, GA How does your museum activate its soft power? In this session, Gail Lord and Ngaire Blankenberg drew from their book "Cities, Museums and Soft Power" to demonstrate how and why museums are entering into a new period of reciprocity with cities and city dwellers- an era of Soft Power. They invited museum professionals to share how their museums are activating their soft power in their cities today- in relation to the 32 Ways for Cities and Museums to Activate their Soft Power presented in the book. View presentation
Why Soft Power is the NEXT Stage of Museum Development
April 20, 2015 MuseumNext Conference, Geneva, Switzerland In her keynote at the MuseumNext conference in Geneva, Gail Lord posed the question: "Is your museum a sleeping giant or an agent of social and cultural change?" Gail explained why the next stage of museum development is to activate their 'soft power' in partnership with cities. View presentation
Cities, Museums and Soft Power
March 19, 2015 United Cities Local Government Culture Summit, Bilbao, Spain "Museums are too often 'sleeping giants' in big and small cities of the world but they can be activated to build a cityâs soft power" - this was the theme of a conversation on between Ngaire Blankenberg, Javier Jimenez and Lourdes FernĂĄndez. The three drew from the book "Cities, Museums and Soft Power", in which Jimenez writes about the "Economics of Cities" and FernĂĄndez contributes an essay "Global and Local: Fairs and Biennials, Temporary Urbanism and Pop-Up Museums". Read the press release here. View Presentation
ACTIVATING THE POWER OF THE PAST IN THE PRESENT
February 5-7, 2015
HERITAGE 2015: Restoration, Archeology and Museum Technologies Trade Fair and Conference, Istanbul, Turkey Speaker: Ngaire Blankenberg
Reviews: Books: Cities Museums and Soft Power — by Stephen Deucher, MuseumsJournal (April 2016, p. 54).
This book review was written by Stephen Deucher, the director of the Art Fund, who describes Soft Power as an âabsorbing bookâ.
What Do We Value? — article by David J. Skorton in the AAM's Museum Magazine (May-June 2016, p. 38-43).
This article was written by David J. Skorton the secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. The article addresses a number of topics including âThe Power of Museumsâ a section in which he quotes from Cities, Museums and Soft Power and discusses how the Smithsonian is working towards using the ideas addressed within the book to support their efforts.
Paradigm Shift Soft Power & Creativity - Maarten Okkersen, Museon, The Hague, Netherlands, reviews the October 2015 Amsterdam's Hands On! Conference that aimed to explore the ways in which museums can encourage imagination, creativity and lifelong learning in children. In her conference keynote speech, Gail Lord urged city governments to embrace museums as the signifiers of their cities, increasing real estate values while attracting investment, tourists and creative workers. Gail presented 15 tips to help museums activate their Soft Power and use it as a tool, and discussed developments in the knowledge economy and the changing landscape of informal learning.
ECSITE Spokes magazine #14, December 2015.
Cities, Museums and Soft Power — A conversation with Gail Lord and Ngaire Blankenberg at the Getty Leadership Institute at CGU, May 2015.
Jazz FM 91 radio interview with Gail Lord, May 8, 2015 Museums have been called sleeping giants and might be our most underutilized resource. Gail Lord dropped by Jazz Fm 91 to explain why our museums, our cultural institutions could be doing so much more. Listen to the interview here.