Culture without Borders: Dialogues with Contemporary Cultural Leaders including our Head of School, Professor Robert Mull.

Professor Robert Mull has been invited to Moscow to give a prestigious lecture at The State Tretyakov Gallery. The Gallery, with the support of the Vladimir Potanin Charitable Foundation, will be opening a series of discussions on the theme of Culture without Borders. Dialogues with Contemporary Cultural Leaders one of whom is our very own Head of School.

Recognising the power of art and its influence on the ideas and motivations of a society, politicians are increasingly using the tools of culture to manage public consciousness. Modern art is becoming more politicised. But where is the line between politics and art in the media age? Is there a moral obligation for cultural leaders to seek to influence international and domestic political contexts? What role do museums play in this?

We increasingly hear the question: does culture unite or separate people? Is there such a thing as universal humanitarian values? Is culture a universal language and a basis for the rapprochement of different peoples? Culture and art have played a key role in the formation of national consciousness, as have cultural institutions like The State Tretyakov Gallery in Russia, for example. But what do we mean by national culture and national identity in the era of globalism? Does a national culture develop over time or seek to preserve itself once it is formed? How much can politicians and artists do to change a nation’s image of itself? What role do cultural leaders play in this process?

Is culture powerless? This was a question asked by Alexander Arkhangelsky to the Director General of the British Council, Sir Ciaran Devane, and the Special Representative of the President of Russia on International Cultural Relations, Mikhail Shvydkoy, during our first public discussion in May 2016. “Culture is never powerless”, replied Sir Ciaran, “but today we do not see cultural leadership at an international level. We see a tendency of isolation and we know what it can lead to, today we understand that our civilisation is very fragile”.

Speaking of intercultural dialogue in this case actually means the interaction and relationships between people belonging to different cultures: so it is very exciting that Robert Mull has been invited alongside outstanding cultural figures from Russia, Europe and America to reflect on these issues.


Other speakers include

Vladimir Urin, director general of the Bolshoi Theater, Moscow, Russia

Richard Armstrong, director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, New York, USA

Michael Govan, director of LACMA, Los Angeles, USA

Laurence Des Cars, president of the Musée d’Orsay and Musée de l‘Orangerie, Paris, France

Evgeny Mironov, actor, head of the Theater of Nations, Moscow, Russia

Alexander Sokurov, film director, St. Petersburg, Russia

Eike Schmidt, director of the Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy


The program is designed to benefit cultural professionals: the heads of cultural institutions, curators, producers, critics, as well as specialists in international relations.

This project is part of the Museum without Borders philanthropic programme, which supports the Potanin Foundation’s activities to enable specialists and organisations capable of making museums publicly open and creating centres for education and innovation.

For more information  and prior booking for this programme of public discussions – 8 events from March to September 2018 see website: