` Can museums promote regional revitalization?

Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III), Kawarazaki Gonjuro as Watonai, Edo period, 1863, woodblock print, Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales

Can museums promote regional revitalization?

Museums can play an important part in transforming local areas, helping to rejuvenate towns and cities by creating new jobs, boosting local tourism efforts, engaging in outreach programme and changing the image and atmosphere of an area. Numerous museums have had this positive effect, including the Guggenheim in Bilbao and the Benesse Art Site Naoshima. Yet how do museums contribute to revitalization efforts? Can all museums have this effect?

To answer these questions, David Anderson, Director of Amgueddfa Cymru (National Museum Wales), and Professor Yoshi Miki, curator of the Kizuna: Japan | Wales | Design exhibition, will use the Kizuna: Japan | Wales | Design exhibition as a case-study. They will explain how they involved local communities in the project and how it has contributed to regional revitalization, and will suggest how this model can be applied to other cities in the future.

About the contributors

Professor Yoshi Miki oversees the project “Research and actual use of overseas Japanese artefacts and documents” in the UK at the National Museum of Japanese History. The project aims to raise the profile of Japanese collections locally, increase the amount of information about artefacts, develop interpretational programmes, and train museum staff so that visitors can learn more about the history between Japan and the UK. Yoshi has worked with museums in the US, Canada, Japan and the UK as a curator, museum educator, and exhibit consultant. The institutions he has worked at include: the Boston Children’s Museum, Seattle Art Museum, the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, the Kyushu National Museum, and the Canadian Museum of Civilization. In the UK, he has worked with the National Museum Wales as a guest curator, Glasgow Museums, Durham University, National Museums Scotland, and the National Trust.

David Anderson is Director General of Amgueddfa Cymru. He joined the museum in 2010, moving from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. He has overseen the transformation of St Fagans Museum to become the National Museum of History for Wales, and the development of new programmes and research on the role of museums in society, including initiatives to redress the impact of poverty through cultural participation. While working at the V&A, from 2004 he was Co-Director of the Exhibition Road Cultural Group, a partnership of museums, universities and cultural institutions in London that transformed the area to become London’s first cultural quarter. He is a Board member of Creative and Cultural Skills UK and a member of the Advisory Committee of British Council Wales. He has written many articles on museums and cultural policy, a UK government report on museums and learning, and two children’s books.

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