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Big City: Big Ideas – Cities, Museums and Soft Power

Museums are the sleeping giants of cities – fast becoming a major urban force, helping cities
to attract people and investment, and address challenges such as inequality, social exclusion
and sustainability.

This is the Big Idea from internationally renowned cultural planners Gail Lord and Ngaire
Blankenberg, in their new book Cities, Museums and Soft Power. Join them to discuss how
and why museums and cities can work together to activate their soft power – influence through
attraction, persuasion and agenda-setting.
• Museums occupy (and create) some of the most prestigious real estate in the city;
• They are city place-makers;
• They are public and trusted spaces, attracting and bridging diverse people around
common interests.

In their talk, Lord and Blankenberg will also touch on the soft power opportunities for Toronto,
a city that hovers at the edge of global leadership.

Thursday, April 30, 2015
5 pm – 6 pm reception and cash bar
6 pm – 7:30 pm lecture and discussion
7:30 – 8 pm book sale and signing


Gail Dexter Lord is Co-President of Lord Cultural Resources – the world’s largest museum
and cultural planning consultancy, which she founded with Barry Lord in Toronto in 1981. Lord
Cultural Resources has completed more than 2,100 assignments in 55 countries on 6
continents. Gail’s clients have included the Toronto International Film Festival, Toronto’s
Luminato Festival, Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Museo Guggenheim Bilbao, Tate
Britain and Tate Modern, Louvre Lens, The Smithsonian Institution, Los Angeles County
Museum of Art, The Lowry in Salford, the Museum of the African Diaspora, and the Chicago
Cultural Plan. In 2014, Gail was appointed Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters by the
Minister of Culture of France.

Ngaire Blankenberg is a Principal Consultant at Lord Cultural Resources. She has been a
youth worker, jazz poet, cartoonist, documentary-maker, television producer, and is
co-founder, with Stephanie Nolen, of the Museum of AIDS in Africa. She has advised clients
such as the Canadian Museum of History, the National Museum of African American History
and Culture, the Parlamentarium, the Nigerian National Museum, Constitution Hill
(Johannesburg), the King Abdulaziz Centre for World Culture (Dharhan), National Museum of
New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, WTown Beijing, the Historic District of Dubai and
Barangaroo, Sydney. Ngaire grew up in Winnipeg, Harare and Christchurch, and has lived and
worked in Johannesburg, Toronto, Paris and Barcelona.

Location / The Gardiner Museum
Terrace Room
111 Queen’s Park
Toronto M5S 2C7
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#BCBI #softpowercities