Dr Melissa Nisbett will explore the concepts of “soft power” and “cultural diplomacy” from both a theoretical perspective as well as thinking about how they manifest in practice. Britain is used as a case study to demonstrate how these terms have shifted in line with the advancement of neoliberal politics. Any belief in intercultural cooperation has been usurped by the notion of global competition, wholeheartedly embraced by market-oriented Western nations. As soft power relies on the resources of the State, its corporations, industries and institutions, wealthy nations will always have the monopoly. This article argues that at a time when power is shifting to the East and the Global South, culture remains one of the last enduring weapons through which traditionally powerful states attempt to resist or slow down the changing world order. Soft power becomes a means by which the existing hegemony is reimagined, repackaged, and reaffirmed.
Dr Melissa Nisbett is a Senior Lecturer at King’s College London, UK. She runs the MA Arts & Cultural Management degree programme and teaches cultural diplomacy. Her research interests focus on cultural policy and in particular, the relationship between culture and power. Her current research looks at the intersections between cultural policy and foreign policy, and what role culture plays within international relations.
This public event takes place as part of the 3rd seminar for the research network: Brokering Intercultural Exchange: The Role of Arts and Cultural Management. This two-year project has been supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Wurth Foundation. It is based at Queen’s University Belfast in partnership with Heilbronn University and co-convened by Victoria Durrer (QUB) and Raphaela Henze (HU).