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Touring exhibitions internationally is no longer an activity dominated by blockbuster exhibitions produced by large national museums in Europe and North America. Museums of all types and sizes, across the continents of the globe, are producing touring exhibitions for their audiences using innovative touring and business models. The benefits for museums are not merely financial. Museums receive wider exposure and reach new audiences when touring their collections or receiving a touring exhibition. Successful and sustainable partnerships are also key to the long-term benefits of developing collaborations beyond touring exhibitions.
Following the same trajectory as the museum boom in China is an increasing interest in touring exhibitions. In this participatory MuseumNext workshop delegates had the opportunity to:
- Explore the motivations, benefits and challenges of touring to and from China for museums of all sizes.
- Share their experience of touring exhibitions to and from China and learn from other participants.
- Consider and develop successful strategies for touring to and from China.
- Debunk some of the myths about touring to and from China.
- Take away practical advice for touring to and from China.
Workshop participants will have an opportunity to learn through case studies of touring exhibitions to and from China, but not just the blockbuster exhibitions that are more widely known about. Instead participants will learn about:
- Why regional museums in the UK and China are touring their exhibitions.
- Innovative touring and business models for touring exhibitions to and from China.
- The non-financial motivations and benefits of international touring.
- The myths and realities of touring to and from China.
- How to develop new networks and contacts in China.
- Available resources, advice and information on international touring exhibitions.
Introductions (10 mins) Why do Chinese museums want to work internationally and what models are used? (20 mins) Why do UK museums want to work with China and what models are used? (20 mins) Facilitated interactive session (30 mins) Feedback to the group and discussion (15 mins) Signposting to further resources and information (5 mins) Questions (5 – 10 mins)
850,000 visitors in 2007
Freelance museum and gallery consultant, trainer and project manager specialised in international projects, strategies, and touring exhibitions. I live between Barcelona and the UK, and I work with clients in the UK and internationally.
I have over 16 years of experience and before going freelance I worked for the British Council Visual Arts Department, the Hayward Gallery and Hayward Touring, and the V&A’s Exhibitions Department on national and international touring exhibitions, and exhibitions at South Kensington, where my last role was Deputy Head of Touring Exhibitions.
I’ve been fortunate enough to work directly on a number of projects with Chinese partners over the years, including Antony Gormley’s Asian Field in China, the China Now programme at the Hayward Gallery, Xu Bing’s Travelling to the Wonderland installation at the V&A, the V&A’s Vivienne Westwood exhibition in Hong Kong, and Decode: Digital Design Sensations at CAFA Art Museum in Beijing.
I currently work on a freelance basis for a number of clients, including ICOM UK as their part-time Executive Director, for the Touring Exhibitions Group as a trainer and mentor, and for ICOM’s International Committee for Exhibitions and Exchanges on their pre-conference workshop in Puerto Rico this October.
Quelque 120 musées chinois accueillent plus de 1 million de visiteurs chaque année (un rapport d’évaluation du SACH) Exemple : Le Palace Museum a accueilli 16 millions de visiteurs en 2016. Depuis juin 2016, le nombre de visiteurs est plafonné à 80 000 au quotidien.
there are 1,297 private museums, accounting for 26.6 percent of the country's total
Why more and more museums? Branches of existing museums: Palace Museum, Long Museum City governments look to the “Bilbao model”, expecting to attract tourists with new cultural landmarks. New archaeology discoveries leading to the establishment of site museums. Trade or industrial museums being opened by (former) state-owned enterprises. A boom in private museums Increasingly specialized museums being opened, for example, science and technology, natural history, (contemporary) art, ethnology, folk art, industrial heritage, 21st century heritage, intangible heritage, etc. The museum boom was also supposed to draw the Chinese middle-class population to museums, an affluent and well-education population more attracted to arts and culture and seeking ways to get back to their roots.
Sans compter… le Palace Museum, le musée national et le NAMOC (le musée de beaux-arts national)
(représentant pour l’instant 10% du revenue global des musées) Exemple : Palace Museum a généré 1 milliard de yuan de chiffre d’affaires en 2016 avec des lignes de 8,700 produits dérivés
From south-west China to north-central Europe in fifteen days by land, instead of forty by sea. This is the new railway, 8000 kilometers long, which will allow freight trains of 80 containers, to move from Chengdu to Rotterdam, the largest port in Europe, that is trying to definitely oust Hamburg and Antwerp. + Partenariat public-privé Construction et gestion des centres culturels dans les cantons Développement des parcs archéologiques Construction des musées Conservation (ou muséification) des villages
the second most visited show in the history of the the British Museum, It is understood China has agreed to loan the items as part of a cultural exchange with Britain, which has seen the British Library loan key items, the Royal Shakespeare Company translate plays for Chinese audiences, and numerous institutions sharing their expertise. It is also intended in part to honour the large Chinese community in Liverpool, the oldest in Europe.
Metropolitan: five examples of the terracotta warriors from Qin Shihuangdi’s mausoleum complex, along with eight nearly life-size earthenware horses pulling two chariots (modern replicas of Qin originals). Since more than 7,000 life-size terracotta warriors were first discovered in 1974 in three burial pits less than a mile from the funerary compound of the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang (reigned 221-210BC), they have surprised and dazzled the world.
More examples of Silk Road exhibition
Silk Road: a major exhibition - that already was displayed in 13 provinces around China with 20 million visitors and combines collections in museums in five province-level administrative regions in Northwest China - is being planned for an expanded worldwide tour. "We expect higher-level international cooperation on cultural heritages along the Silk Road,"
Silk Road Museum Alliance
According to China’s international strategy, as exemplified by the “One Belt, One Road” initiative, cultural and economic cooperation are both seen as methods for strengthening relationships between countries. Just as in the 1970s, when China dispelled international hostility through pingpong diplomacy and the exchange of cultural artifacts, the country’s current international archaeological projects can be seen as a form of “archeological diplomacy,” using the science to raise China’s cultural profile in the cooperating countries, as well as its international standing.
Pictures of exhibitions for festival de croisements
In addition, to commemorate the 45th anniversary of the normalization of Sino–US relations, 31 heritage collection units from 13 provinces (cities) will display 283 pieces of cultural relics witnessing "the civilization of the Qin and Han dynasties" in 164 sets at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, starting late March, 2017.
Seven years in the making, the exhibition is the Met’s latest programming organized in collaboration with 32 cultural institutions from China.
Itinérance aux 15 municipalités aux alentours entre mai 2013 etdécembre 2014 L’expo a voyagé aux 32 musées en Chine entre 2015 et fin 2016 Même audio-guide sur WeChat disponible pour tous les étapes
Not only big national museums working with China - We’re starting to see a broader range of museums, galleries and other organisations working with partners in China, and in different ways.
More national touring within China - Yu to comment on this.
Chinese-produced or themed exhibitions taking place in the UK (and elsewhere) - As greater understanding and long-term partnerships develop, we’re starting to see a slight increase in exhibitions outside of China comprised of Chinese collections or exhibitions aimed at engaging local Chinese audiences abroad.
More long-term partnerships - Some national museums and larger organisations are working on long-term partnerships that comprise of exhibitions, advice and consultancy services, and other forms of partnerships.
Different collaboration/ partnership models
Reality check re: opportunities, resources, costs etc. -
Missed opportunities - Yu to comment on this.
So looking at the post-it notes from earlier, there are some common motivations for touring to China [draw on post-it notes to make comments]
In this slide I have collated the top reasons that UK museums and galleries want to work with partners in China. - Raise the profile of their organisation internationally and nationally - Attract new and diverse audiences - Develop and share skills, knowledge and expertise - Bring a different perspective to collections, an organisation, or shared heritage - Develop long-term international partnerships - Share/ spread costs and risks - Enhance the benefits of producing an exhibition
I have three short case studies to share with you. Now, I have to say that not all of these are about touring to China. The reason for this is that I wanted to highlight the different ways that UK museums are working with China, and some of these interesting collaborations and partnerships have not followed the typical touring exhibitions model of producing an exhibition and then touring it to China. There is plenty of information inside and outside the sector press an publications about blockbuster touring exhibitions from large national museums in the UK and elsewhere travelling to China, so I want to use this workshop to highlight lesser-known examples. For those of you who do not know Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery is in Carlisle near the England-Scotland border. In 2011 it transferred from being under local city government control to an independent charitable trust. It has diverse collections covering fine and decorative art, human history and natural sciences and in addition to its permanent galleries, hosts a changing programme of exhibitions and events. Tullie House has significant Roman Collections (they are not far from Hadrian’s Wall) which are displayed in their own gallery that includes loans from the British Museum. Tullie House is part of the Cumbria Museum Consortium that receives funding from Arts Council England but the Museum & Art Gallery also relies on generating its own income through ticket sales, commercial hire, and fundraising. So why is a relatively small regional museum working with China, with how, and how? The initial contact was initiated by the Zhou family, owners and operators of the Imperial Decree Museum in Xuzhou and the No. 1 Scholar Museum in Suzhou, both of which are private museums. The contact came about because the UK representative of the museums based herself in the Cumbria region because of family links. When tasked with finding opportunities to work with UK museums and galleries, she started her search locally. This highlights the importance of personal connections for working internationally. After Mr Zhou and his team visited Tullie House in 2014, engagement was identified as an area of museum practice that the Imperial Decree Museum wanted to explore further (rather than the initial idea of exchanging exhibitions). Both Tullie House and the Imperial Decree Museum wanted to deliver something tangible that was of practical benefit to both organisations. The parallels between the Roman collection at Tullie House and objects relating to the Han Dynasty at the Imperial Decree Museum were a key link between the two museums. In 2015 the, at the time, Head of Collections & Programming (now the Director) and the Learning and Engagement Manager went to China to deliver handling sessions with Roman objects from their handling collections. This was to demonstrate how handling collections could be used to educate and inspire young people. For Chinese museums it would provide an insight into engagement and learning techniques and for Tullie House it would provide the opportunity to use their collection in a completely new and innovative way, as well as gauge the interest of Chinese museums and audiences in a key area of their collection. The Chinese students took part in a range of activities, including handling objects such as pottery, jewellery, coins and glassware. They also explored Latin and Roman writing using real and replica wooden writing tablets, and had a go at writing in Latin and comparing the results with English and Chinese characters. Lastly the children investigated Roman costume, handling real Roman footwear and dressing up in replica costume. The students then created their own role play about daily life in Roman Carlisle using the objects they had handled during the session as inspiration. The children found the experience of object handling incredibly inspiring: none of the pupils had ever handled genuine historical artefacts before, and the added factor of them being from a country thousands of miles away was of considerable excitement. Feedback from children, teachers and staff at IDM was universally positive. The teachers were very impressed with the session and were keen to take part in workshops like this at IDM on a regular basis. This was the first time museum staff had seen this kind of engagement activity and observing it directly was an invaluable experience for them as this is something they are now developing at their own venue. The session attracted considerable interest from Chinese media, with local newspapers and TV crews documenting the whole process, highlighting the unusual and innovative nature of this type of experience in China.
At this exchange had just been the start for Tullie House working with Chinese partners. They had hoped to bring over some objects from the Imperial Decree Museum, as spotlight loans, to then build a bigger display or exhibition around these. However, the museum in China is a private museum and it did not have experience of lending outside of China. As Tullie House had no experience of borrowing from China, the parties only realised quite late in the day that it would not be possible to lend the objects in time for Chinese New Year because of the export procedures and permissions that are more complicated for private Chinese museums than public museums. However, the partners were undeterred by this and Tullie House has continued to find ways to engage its local and UK-wide Chinese audiences through specific programming and events, translating key pages of its website into Chinese, and continuing to build a fruitful partnership with the Confucius Institute at near by Lancaster University. Although things may not have always gone to plan, I think Tullie House has not been deterred as they have taken a long-term approach to working with Chinese partners and engaging Chinese audiences. They have thought about the right type of activity for the partners involved, and not just jumped into trying to tour an exhibition to China as they had originally planned. They have taken the time to get to know their partners and have made the most of the opportunities that have come from working region-to-region between the UK and China, rather than aiming to work with only the most well-know and established museums in Beijing and Shanghai. As a regional museum, Tullie House doe not have a lot of staff and resources, but they have thought carefully about how they can work with their Chinese partners and local audiences to raise their profile in the UK and China, develop new and exciting programmes for the local audiences, and explore the opportunities for working in and with Chinese museums in the long-term and in a way that is sustainable and provides the most impact.
Again, this is not an exhibition that is touring from the UK to China. It is an exhibition that will open in Nottingham in the UK early next month that has an interesting partnership model. Dinosaurs of China is a one-time only world exclusive exhibition of dinosaurs, which will be coming to the UK for the first and only time this summer. Taking place from 1st July to 29th October 2017, the exhibition will be held at Wollaton Hall and Lakeside Arts and it will be the only time that visitors can see this vast selection of fossils and skeletons outside of Asia. The exhibition will bring to life the history of how dinosaurs evolved into the birds that live alongside us today and will feature some of the biggest dinosaur skeletons in existence. The exhibition is a collaboration between Nottingham City Council (Wollaton Hall is a natural history museum run by the City Council), The University of Nottingham (Lakeside Arts is the university’s gallery) and the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing. The collection coming to Nottingham is from the Paleozoological Museum of China, Shandong TianYu Museum, and the Dinosaur Museum of Erlianhaote in Inner Mongolia. The Nottingham Confucius Institute is also a partner, and particularly supporting community engagement aspects of the exhibition. The exhibition not only enables people in the UK to see some of the world’s best-preserved dinosaur discoveries from China, but also creates a great opportunity to inspire young minds and generate interest in science. So how did this exhibition come about and who are the partners? I think it is worth noting that, unlike other large scale exhibitions that come from China to the UK that often have government level support, this exhibition is a result of a UK-China regional partnership. That said, as with many other exhibition projects, the idea started through personal academic connections between university staff in Nottingham and China in 2011. But it was able to be realised on this scale because of long-standing relationships between Nottingham and China. Nottingham University has had a full-scale campus in Ningbo, China for 12 years, which is also the site of a research hub. The City Council’s museums, although well established in the region, would not have been able to produce an exhibition of this scale without the partnering with the university. So why bring this exhibition to Nottingham? In addition to the long-standing connections between China and Nottingham through the university, the City Council felt that although Woolaton Hall had amazing natural history collections of national and international significance, they did not have a high profile, were under appreciated, and lacked visibility with local audiences. A major exhibition could help raise the profile of the museum and its collections locally an internationally, increase and diversify visitors, and boost the local economy.
I’d like to highlight some of the steps and considerations that were key to realising the exhibition. The exhibition had to underpin the strategies of the UK partners, and getting buy-in at the right level across all of the partners was absolutely key. There were about 6 months of negotiations to reach the stage of signing an agreement between all of the parties. And it’s worth noting that sometimes it is more challenging reaching agreement with your UK partners than your international partners. Universities and City Councils have a lot of layers of processes and procedures that may make working with Chinese partners seem quick and easy by comparison. The personal and institutional relationships formed during the planning process have been key to resolving any arising issues and challenges. The exhibition required significant investment on both the UK and Chinese side in terms of time and resources. Staff resource on the UK was a particular challenge but the wide variety of skills and experience brought by the university staff was a really useful addition to the technical and specialist experience and knowledge of the museum staff. The exhibition is ticketed, which will not cover all of the costs of the exhibition but will help off-set the upfront investment made. It was absolutely essential that the exhibition had a strong scientific curatorial narrative, and that public learning and engagement with scientific research was one of the key outcomes for the exhibition. This is definitely not a generic dinosaurs touring exhibition with little or no museum objects and only models and animatronics. Having clear objective and outcomes agreed by the partners at the start of the project has been key to the planning and delivery of the exhibition, and we will see in due course if these are met when the exhibition opens to the public on 1 July.
The final case study is an exhibition I worked on directly when I worked at the V&A. Decode: Digital Design Sensations was an exhibition of digital art produced by the V&A that was primarily comprised of loans from artists and commercial galleries. The V&A has not always been the most tech-forward organisation, so this exhibition, although only about 350 sq metres at the V&A, was a big undertaking. Touring a digital art exhibition with all of the AV equipment is another presentation in itself. Instead I want to focus on some of the unique challenges of touring this type of exhibition to a university museum in China. Staff from CAFA had been part of visiting delegations to the V&A and the exhibition was offered to them as part of the venue finding process for the exhibition. Although the exhibition production and tour followed a standard model, Decode was the first international touring exhibition for which the V&A secured UK sponsorship. SAP, the sponsors of the exhibition in London, agreed to sponsor a three-venue tour. So the first challenge was balancing working with a new venue and a new sponsor, to put appropriate agreements and sign-off procedures in place, and to ensure all parties were appropriately involved in decision making and sign-off. The V&A had toured exhibitions in China before but not to a university museum. This wasn’t as complicated as we thought it might be because it was a government supported university with a track record of international collaborations and with a high-spec gallery space with all necessary facilities. The main challenges were the exhibition publication (produced without V&A sign-off), including works that utilised data from social media channels prohibited in China (although we’d been informed by the director during the recce visit that this would be no problem), import/export procedures for AV equipment, and differences in health & safety regulations that we saw when the technical team built an in-door pond to install one of the exhibits when they decided it could not go outside.
Because we often only share the challenges, I also want to share some of the positives from this experience. The museum supplied more than enough technical staff for the exhibition installation with the variety of skills and experience we needed. This was in addition to the two AV technical contractors we brought from the UK. This meant the exhibition was installed and desintalled in record time (WAY quicker than in London). As there was a clear ‘chain of command’ so to speak, with an English speaking exhibition manager and an English speaking technical manager, we didn’t have any problems managing such a big team. They were just so efficients that sometimes we had trouble keeping up with them as we had to condition check some works while others had a series of technical processes the British technicians had to complete. Of course, health & safety in China is slightly different from the UK. We were amazed as the team built a waterproof pond in the middle of the gallery for one of the installations, including lining it with some kind of waterproofing toxic smelling sealant. We stayed away in a another part of the gallery while they did this work and although we offered them masks, we were conscious of seeming to be interfering or patronising but we were concerned about them inhaling toxic fumes! Of course, we were told not to worry and stay in the other part of the gallery. The import and export of AV equipment was not at all easy and we really relied on the expertise of the UK and Chinese transport agents to guide us through the process. Basically, every single cable and item had to be clearly documented (description and photo) and we had to ensure at the deinstallation that every single cable when back in the right slot in the right box in order to pass the customs inspection and not hold anything up. Fortunately, it all went ok but it certainly required more paperwork than usual and the knowledge and experience of the agents was invaluable. And one things that really sticks in my mind about this project is how young the exhibition and technical managers were and how they worked, literally, around the clock. This was evident before the exhibition arrived in Beijing when we would receive emails from the team at any hour of the UK day, even though Beijing is seven hours ahead of London. During the deinstall, we all went for dinner at the end of the day, only for the CAFA staff to go back to work afterwards (to work on the next exhibition coming in). And this was on top of long commute to and from work each day. I honestly don’t know how they did it but they explained to us that it was perfectly normal for them. It was over dinners like this that we got to know the team better, and get used to more informal but important group dining, so that we were better prepared for dinners with more senior staff. These, quite formal dinners, are an important part of doing dinner in China. And quite hard work if you are a vegetarian like me trying to save face while declining most of the food at the table. I learnt to make sure that my hosts knew in advance about my dietary requirements in order not to not embarrass those who had invited me.
So before we move on to working in groups, we thought we would have some fun looking at some facts, myths and stereotype about touring to and from China. If we are to find the most relevant, innovative and impactful ways of working together then we need to work around or get over some of the cultural and working practice differences. I will pose a series of questions and I’d like all of you to say if you think they are a FACT, MYTH OR STEREOTYPE and say why.
Import and export procedures for touring exhibitions and cultural material - There are quite complex import and export regulations regarding cultural objects, and temporary exhibitions in and out of China, which can also feasibly change during the life of a multi-venue tour. Make sure you get up to date advice from an experienced transport agent in your country or China.
Language and potential for cultural misunderstanding - If you don’t have any Chinese speaking staff in your organisation you may need to contract these services or find partners who can do this for you. It will also save you time and ensure better working relationships if you take the time to research and understand the culture of doing business in China. This information is readily available online and from colleagues in the museum community.
Working with centralised government agencies - Depending on how many venues you will tour to or borrow from in China, you may need to work through a centralised government agency. In general, it is much harder to build up relationships with these agencies than directly with museums but you may have no other option.
Time and money required to build up relationships through face-to-face meetings - Don’t forget about the upfront investment in building relationships, or the cost of face-to-face meetings over the course of an exhibition project, and a clear agreement about who will pay for these.
Working with non-government and university venues - Working with non-government and university venues can throw up additional issues in terms of getting the required permissions and paperwork for the import and export of objects and exhibitions in China.
Differing expectations of fees and cost-share models for touring - In some ways we might say that Chinese museums are becoming more accustomed to typical western international touring exhibition models in terms of fees and additional costs. However, regulation is changing and some Chinese museums now have a cap on how much they can spend on an international exhibition.
Different approaches to storytelling - Yu to comment on this
Lack of market research - Yu to comment on this.
Have a clearly defined strategy on why and how you want to work with China
Allow plenty of time to build relationships with contacts and potential partners – be patient as China is a ‘slow burn’
Be open and flexible to different ways of working
Know who the decision makers are
Understand the hierarchy of objects as much as people
Consider translating key pages of your website into Chinese and have clear contact details listed - Tullie House example of key pages translated into Chinese. Larger museums do this but less so for regional and smaller museums. University students may be able to help if cost and time is an issue.
Be aware of cultural practices – gifts, saving face, photos, guanxi etc.
Slides will be emailed as a PDF to everyone after the conference and also published on LinkedIn, so don’t worry about writing everything down.
We don’t have time to go through each of the resources in detail, but we will give you an overview and highlight any that are particularly useful or that need explaining.
Confucius Institute: Benefiting from the UK, France, Germany and Spain's experience in promoting their national languages, China began its own exploration through establishing non-profit public institutions which aim to promote Chinese language and culture in foreign countries in 2004: these were given the name the Confucius Institute. In addition they have become a platform for cultural exchanges between China and the world as well as a bridge reinforcing friendship and cooperation between China and the rest of the world and are much welcomed across the globe. You can search for your nearest institute via the website.
Any questions before we say thank you and wrap up?
More than British Landscapes
& Terracotta Warriors:
Innovative Touring Models To & From China
Yu Zhang & Dana Andrew
28 June 2017, Rotterdam
• Why do Chinese museums want to work internationally and what models are
• Why do UK museums want to work with China and what models are used?
• Facilitated interactive session
• Feedback to the group and discussion
• Signposting to further resources and information
• “China's terracotta
army to invade
British Museum”, The
• “Terracotta Army:
Warriors march into
• “Terracotta warriors
tear down British
YU ZHANG, MUSEUM CONSULTANT, CHINESE MUSEUMS ASSOCIATION / TIANYU CULTURAL GROUP
MUSEUMNEXT EUROPE, ROTTERDAM, 28 JUNE 2017
WHY DO CHINESE MUSEUMS WANT TO
AN INCREASING NUMBER OF MUSEUMS AND A
GROWING ARCHAEOLOGICAL COLLECTION
• China’s “museum boom” explained in facts and in figures
• As of 2016, there are 4,873 registered museums in China, 363 more than the previous
• Museums totaled 900 million visitors, up by 8.7% from the previous year;
• Some 30,000 temporary exhibitions were held in museums and cultural institutions,
exceeding government goal of 2020;
• There is one museum per 330,000 inhabitants, exceeding government goal of 2020;
• 11 805 expositions sont organisées chaque année dans les musées chinois (objectif
fixé pour 2020 : 30 000 expositions annuellement).
HOW MANY MUSEUMS ARE THERE IN CHINA
8 147 21 214 349 407
1215 1397 1548
1905 1937 1949 1965 1978 1980 1991 2000 2004 2005 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Number of museums
Number of museums
Source: State Administration of Cultural Heritage
INCENTIVES RELATED TO PUBLIC FUNDING –
CHINA’S MUSEUM SYSTEM IN THREE GRADES
• A system introduced in 2009 to rank museums in three grades
• Museums are evaluated according to quantitative criteria related to general
management, facility, collection management, research, exhibitions and public
• A re-evaluation every 4-5 years
• Annual government funding depends on the rank of the museums
• In 2012, there w ere100 museums ranked first-grade, 222 second-grade et 438 third-
grade. According to the lastest evaluation in 2016, there are currently130 museums
ranked first-grade (4 were downgraded in 2013 and 34 were promoted to first-grade).
THE “8 + 3” MOST IMPORTANT MUSEUMS IN
Hunan Provincial Museum
Shaanxi History Museum
Hubei Provincial Museum
Chongqing Three Gorges
Source: a 2009 policy introduced by Ministry of Finance and
the State Administration of Cultural Heritage for the public
funding and evaluation of museums. The 11 museums were
announced in two batches.
DIVERSIFICATION OF RESOURCES: A MUSEUM ACT
IN EFFECT SINCE 2015
• Incoming temporary exhibitions to attract
visitors and to boost museum product sales
Example: an Egyptian exhibition at Nanjing
5.4 million yuan of ticket sales (190,000 visitors
over three months) and 1.03 million yuan of
museum product sales (vs. 3.3 million in
• Outgoing touring exhibitions: toward a way to
CHINA’S SOFT POWER AND CULTURAL DIPLOMACY
• One Belt One Road, China’s new Silk Road
• A strategy initiated by President Xi Jinping in 2013
• Geopolitical issues but also related to China’s soft power
• Silk Road enlisted as World Heritage Site (China, Kazakhstan, and
Kyrgyzstan at the beginning to 14 member countries)
• New museums, joint archaeological missions, new exhibitions, festival,
etc. among the priorities of the Silk Road Fund (an investment fund
created in 2014 with 40 billion USD) and in the 2016-2020 action plan of
Chinese Ministry of Culture
TOURING EXHIBITIONS FROM CHINESE MUSEUMS
• In 2015, 51 exhibitions were organised by Chinese museums overseas and 19
international exhibitions were hosted by Chinese museums (an annual increase of
16.7%). Ongoing exchanges are ongoing with 32 countries and regions and
countries in Asia remain the main partners.
Source: Art Exhibitions China, ICEE China
• 10 terracotta warriors plus 110 other objects from various museums in Shaanxi,
because according to national law, the number of level-1, the most important,
objects cannot exceed 10% of the exhibition.
• Exhibition space of at least 800m2.
• Coordinated by the cultural bureau of Shaanxi Province, not only at Qinshihuang
Mausoleum Museum initiative
• Recent itinerary:
• October 2015 – February 2016 at Tokyo National Museum in Tokyo, Japan (480,000 visitors)
• March – June 2016 at National Museum of Kyushu in Fukuoka, Japan (190,000 visitors)
• July – October 2016 at National Museum of Art in Osaka, Japan
• March 2016 – January 2017 at Field Museum in Chicago, US
• April - September 2017 at Pacific Science Center in Seattle, US
• September 2017 – March 2018 Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, US
• Currently there is one in Kazakhstan and another one in the Metropolitan Museum of
GOVERNMENT-BACKED EXAMPLES OF CHINESE
• Twinning / bilateral partnerships-enabled exhibitions
• French May / Festival de Croisements
• 45th anniversary of the normalisation of Sino-US relations
• UK-China P2P
• Terracotta Warriors to Liverpool’s World Museum in 2018 and Shakespeare exhibition to the
National Library of China in 2017
SOME NOTABLE EXAMPLES OF CHINESE
TOURING EXHIBITIONS – TOWARD THE
TRAVELLING EXHIBITION “A STORY OF LANTING”
FROM SHAOXING MUSEUM
• Shaoxing Museum, a city museum in Zhejiang Province.
• It started with the 15 municipalities close to Shaoxing, in the same province from
May 2013 to Dec. 2014.
• It then continued to other provinces and expect and has so far reached more than
30 museums. Objective: 100 museums by 2020.
• Audio-guides via WeChat are added to the exhibition when it began its national
tour in 2015.
• In 2017, it toured to Italy.
HUNAN PROVINCIAL MUSEUM: COLLECTIONS ON
TOUR IN CHINESE MUSEUMS AND SCHOOLS
• Hunan Provincial Museum, whose ongoing expansion work (since 2012)
prompted the museum to tour its collection to other institutions around China,
and also to bring its collection as a “mobile museum” to secondary schools in the
Touring to Shanghai Museum,
Inner Mongolia Museum, etc.
Touring to and from China: where are we now?
• Not only big national museums working with China
• More national touring within China
• Chinese-produced or themed exhibitions taking place in the UK (and elsewhere)
• More long-term partnerships
• Different collaboration/ partnership models
• Reality check re: opportunities, resources, costs etc.
• Missed opportunities
Why do UK museums want to work with China?
• Raise the profile of their organisation internationally and nationally
• Attract new and diverse audiences
• Develop and share skills, knowledge and expertise
• Bring a different perspective to collections, an organisation, or shared
• Develop long-term international partnerships
• Share/ spread costs and risks
• Generate income
• Enhance the benefits of producing an exhibition
Case Study 1: Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery
• Working with the Imperial Decree Museum,
Xuzhou and the No.1 Scholar Museum, Suzhou
Case Study 1: Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery
• Resulted in a Memorandum of
Understanding between Tullie House
and the Imperial Decree Museum
• Exploring options for spotlight loans to
come from China to Carlisle
• Tullie House continuing to engage
Chinese audiences and local community
through Chinese language website,
Chinese New Year activities, China Café
(culture and language), exhibition by
local Chinese artist
• Enabled building of partnership and
support from Confucius Institute at
Case Study 2: Dinosaurs of China (Nottingham)
Wollaton Hall / Lakeside Arts, Nottingham. 1 July – 29 Oct 2017
University of Nottingham (including the gallery)
Nottingham City Council (museums are part of the council
Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology
Paleozoological Museum of China
Shandong TianYu Museum
Dinosaur Museum of Erlianhaote in Inner Mongolia
Case Study 2: Dinosaurs of China (Nottingham)
Image credit: Dinosaurs of China
• MoU was important and carried
significant weight with Chinese
• Exhibition underpinned existing
• Buy-in at the right level across all
partners was important
• Chinese speaking staff, and staff
with varied experience, was vital
• Scientific rigour in the curation
of the exhibition
Case Study 3: Decode (V&A)
• 20 Oct – 21 Nov 2010, CAFA Art
• V&A produced exhibition that
toured to CAFA Art Museum in
• CAFA galleries much bigger than
V&A Porter Gallery
• First UK-sponsored V&A
international touring exhibition
• Digital art exhibition that toured
with AV equipment
• Particular import/ export
procedures for AV equipment
Image credit: CAFA Art Museum, Beijing
Case Study 3: Decode (V&A)
Image credit: CAFA Art Museum, Beijing
• Extremely efficient (sometimes overly so)
• Experienced transport agent
• Museum staff available around the clock
• The importance of dining and socialising
Fact, myth or stereotype?
• Everything will happen at the last minute
• Chinese museums only want to exchange exhibitions
• Chinese museums only want international blockbuster exhibitions
• Museums outside of China only want to show highlights/ Grade 1
• No professional staff
• No high quality exhibitions produced in China
• Courier trips need to include scheduled shopping time
• Business decisions are often made over, or after, dinner
• “No problem!” means there is no problem
> STEREOTYPE / FACT
> FACT / MYTH
Challenges of touring to and from China
• Import and export procedures for touring exhibitions and cultural
• Language and potential for cultural misunderstanding
• Working with centralised government agencies
• Time and money required to build up relationships through face-to-
• Working with non-government and university venues
• Differing expectations of fees and cost-share models for touring
• Different approaches to storytelling
• Lack of market research
Top tips for working with China
• Have a clearly defined strategy on why and how you want to work with China
• Allow plenty of time to build relationships with contacts and potential partners
– be patient as China is a ‘slow burn’ but also be prepared for last minute
• Be open and flexible to different ways of working
• Know who the decision makers are
• Don’t take communications for granted
• Be aware of cultural practices – gifts, saving face, photos, guanxi etc.
How could touring to China work for us?
1. In your groups, read the given organisation, background, and exhibition information.
2. Nominate one person to write notes and one person to briefly feedback to workshop participants
at the end of the session.
3. Using the given information, and the questions as prompts, discuss what kinds of touring strategies
might work best for the organisation you have been given today in terms of touring to China.
Brainstorm your ideas as you go along on the paper provided.
4. Take your ideas and notes and complete the following sentences on the paper provided:
a) My organisation’s top three motivations for touring to China are…
b) Touring to China would bring the following benefits to my organisation… because…
c) My organisation might face the following challenges when touring to China… because…
6. Each group will be asked to state the organisation they were given and summarise their answers.
Further information & resources
Chinese Museums Association Exhibition Exchange Platform http://en.chinamuseum.com/
Museums in China Scoop.it! http://www.scoop.it/t/museums-in-china
Presentations from WIRP Workshop: Working with China (ICOM UK resources)
• Zhang Zikang, Deputy Director, National Art Museum of China (NAMOC)
• Alex Gao, Director, Today Art Museum
• Andrew Mackay, Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery
• Rui Pang, International Centre for Chinese Heritage and Archaeology (ICCHA) at UCL
• Working with China: Opportunities, Challenges, Solutions, Linda Rosen, China-Britain Business Council (CBBC)
• Shipping to and from China: How to Avoid Hitting a Great Wall, Julie Prance, Momart
• Ying Tan, Centre for Contemporary Chinese Art (CFCCA)
Further information & resources
China Resources on ICOM UK website http://uk.icom.museum/resources/useful-contacts/asia-resources/
• Presentation Connecting Audience at the Heart of China’s Museum Boom
• China-Britain Business Council (CBBC)
• UK-China Connections Through Culture (CTC)
• Fit for China Digital Showcasing Project
• Museums in Britain with Chinese Collections
China Now online resource https://chinanow.britishcouncil.cn/
Chinese Museums Association / ICOM China http://www.chinamuseum.org.cn/index.html
Case Study: Design in Time: "Geneva at the Heart of Time" by Capital Museum, Beijing, Museum of Art and
History, Geneva & Vacheron Constantin
Further information & resources
Case Studies http://uk.icom.museum/resources/case-studies/
• Chinese Tour of Towards Modernity: Three Centuries of British Art
• Visiting China to develop a touring exhibition (MMU Special Collections)
• Tullie House Goes East: Bringing the Romans to China
Guidance Articles http://uk.icom.museum/resources/guidance-articles/
• Top Tips: working with museums in China
• Partnership Agreement Example
• Developing international projects as a partnership or consortia
• Managing risk to people/ reputation/ objects
• International loans in and out
• International tourism toolkit
Further information & resources
Templates and resources on International Touring Exhibitions on ICOM UK website
• Template International Touring Exhibitions Agreement
• Fees and economic models for UK exhibitions touring internationally
• A Wealth of Treasures, a guide to UK collections for international partners
• Presentations from British Council workshop Write Better International Touring Contracts
• Presentations from British Council workshop International Touring Exhibitions: A Beginners Guide
- Developing an International Touring Strategy
- Financial Planning
- Finding Partners
- Recce Trips
- Transport & Logistics
• List of international touring exhibition companies (commercial)
谢谢 / thank you
Yu Zhang, Museum & Cultural Heritage Consultant
Dana Andrew, Museum & Gallery Consultant, Trainer & Project Manager