Museum diplomacy: exploring the Sino-German Museum Forum and beyond

Shuchen Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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In an age of globalised neoliberalism, prestigious museums have become a diplomatic milieu and their collections a significant token to manifest diplomatic ties between the West and China. This paper explores the ’clash’ between ‘universal museums’ and returning cultural objects to their ‘countries of origin’ presented in and by the Sino-German Museum Forum. Both countries are seen to use ‘the past’ for current foreign affairs, not only with regards to each other but also, respectively, towards Africa and Southeast and Central Asia. Germany, for example, utilises the Berlin Palace Humboldt Forum, while China has the One Belt and Road project. Because national museums and their collections are often embedded in colonial histories and are commonly used to forge collective memory, cultural identity and nationalism, to engage critically with museum diplomacy becomes important as it can help to ‘reconcile’, as well as to provoke new tensions regarding neo-colonialism.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Cultural Policy
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • intercultural communication
  • international relations
  • Museum diplomacy
  • One Belt and Road
  • political economy
  • repatriation
  • universal museum

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