This article explores the overlooked role of museums in the international arena as playing a dual role in cultural diplomacy. It explores the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia, to illustrate an emerging ‘hybrid’ form of diplomacy that cannot be strictly defined as ‘state’ or ‘non-state’. Although the article documents strong ties between the Hermitage Museum and the Russian government, it also reveals the Hermitage’s growing capacity to build productive bilateral cultural relationships with foreign partners, bypassing governmental control. Specifically, the article looks at the international network of Hermitage Foundations as a successful museum international outreach and fundraising campaign that significantly contributes to the Russian government’s efforts in cultural diplomacy. This case offers new empirical findings from the non-Western context, exposing the growing role of museums in contemporary diplomacy.
The article explores a series of blockbuster exhibitions of DreamWorks Animation developed by the Australian Centre of the Moving Image (ACMI) in collaboration with one of the largest Hollywood producers. Curated by ACMI, this blockbuster exhibition was designed to provide a behind-the-scenes look into collaborative processes involved in DreamWorks animations. This exhibition travelled across the Asia-Pacific in 2015-2017 and was hosted by a number of museums, such as the ArtScience Museum in Singapore, the Te Papa Museum in New Zealand, the Seoul Museum of Art in South Korea, and the National Taiwan Science and Education Centre in Taiwan. It displayed over 400 unique objects from the studio’s archive ‘of rare and never before displayed material’, such as drawings, models, maps, photographs, posters, and other artworks. The article explores the highly favourable reception to the DreamWorks Animation blockbuster in different cities in Asia. It employs a geo-visualization of Asian engagement with the blockbuster exhibit to reveal and explain local and global mechanisms of ‘attraction’ power, generated by DreamWorks in different Asian countries. Contributing to the special issue, this article engages with two aspects of it: the form, cultural digital mapping; and the content, the nature of media pop culture exemplified through the traveling blockbuster.
This article explores the discourse around the events of the Fifth brics Summit, as constructed through Russian media coverage across three channels: Russia Today (rt); Channel One Russia (1tv ru); and Russian Television International (rtvi). Through comparative analysis of how the brics Summit was portrayed by different channels, the article aims to highlight the influence of the Russian political discourse, the national media ecology, and the television companies’ missions and agendas in shaping Russia’s image within the brics Summit’s media coverage. The study explores this image through the lens of Russian public diplomacy and tries to evaluate the Russian government’s effectiveness in communicating its political messages to national and international audiences.