Online museums as sites of digital diplomacy

Focusing on social media, new museology and international communication, my research explores new forms, non-traditional actors, and alternative channels of contemporary cultural diplomacy. In my work I question whether economic and cultural globalization and new media transform cross-cultural exchanges and diplomacy to renew dialogue among cultures and civilizations.

Cultural diplomacy, understood as a strategic form of cross-cultural communication to improve international relations, has recently received a renewed academic interest as a field of international communication with powerful impacts upon domestic and international publics. My research is motivated by what I see as a lack of a rigorous and theoretically informed analysis that locates existing cultural diplomacy practices within a contemporary environment of multilateral, hyper-textual, and increasingly mobile cross-cultural communications marked by the appearance of new tools, nontraditional actors, and alternative channels of cultural diplomacy. The primary purpose of my research is to strengthen current academic scholarship by building strong interdisciplinary connections between domains which are traditionally addressed by separate areas of research. Combining international relations, new museology, and digital media studies, my work provides an analysis of non-state forms of contemporary cultural diplomacy, implemented online within a museum context.

 

In my research, I aim to demonstrate that in an era of rapid technological progress, fast and easy travel across the globe, instant Internet and mobile communications, and growing multiculturalism even in the most traditional societies, a wide variety of online museum programs create unlimited opportunities for “cultural exchanges” which a half-century ago were possible only under strict control by national governments. In my work, I argue that digital forms of human interactions and complex processes of economic and cultural globalizations transform traditional forms of cultural diplomacy and enable non-state actors, such as large internationally recognized museums, to play an important role in cultural diplomacy by bringing people together for productive communication, as well as by constructing cultural values and identities of national and international publics.