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  • SOUTH KENSINGTON CLUB 38 Harrington Road London, England, SW7 3ND United Kingdom (map)

 Island Fortress or Soft Power Refuge?

How can we use Soft Power to stimulate the creative economy?

Collaborative sense making for museum professionals, city developers and tourism executives further developing Europe's Capital of Culture 2018 into a Soft Power destination.

Malta is one of the world’s great island fortresses from ancient times to World War II. Yet its very name means ‘refuge’. England is an island fortress that has provided refuge for many over recent centuries. As part of the celebration of Valletta’s Year as European Capital of Culture, Soft Power Destinations Award and Leading Cultural Destinations is hosting a workshop in London to explore how soft power is transforming both cities. ‘Soft Power’ is people’s ability to influence behaviour using persuasion, attraction and agenda setting (in opposition to force and finance). Soft power is created by people through networks and civil society organizations; while hard power and the fortress mentality is exercised by government and large corporations. The humanitarian refugee crisis centered in the Mediterranean poses issues for people in London and Valletta. And there are also the painful consequences of historical humanitarian crises. Our panel will explore how soft power strategies can help overcome these crises with a focus on the role of cities, museums, cultural tourism and cultural industries. 


  • Mark Sealy, Ph. D., MBE, Director of Autograph ABP
  • Ali Hossaini, Ph. D., Research Fellow, Department of Informatics, King’s College London  
  • Caro Howell, Director, The Foundling Museum




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.