Workshop: Curating climate - Museums as ‘contact zones’ of climate research, education and activism

How do we narrate climatic change in a museum environment and initiate dialogue across its stakeholders? How can museums become ‘contact zones’ where science and education, activism and entertainment, debate and tourism interact productively?

Architects rendering of planned new climate house, sunny with kids playing in front of the building.

The workshop took place at The Natural History Museum, the site of the new Climate House (Klimahuset).The event is organized by the Curating Climate Collaboratory funded by Oslo School of Environmental Humanities as a long-term collaboratory research project. The international workshop has received additional support from UiO Energy and Heritage Experience Initiative.

The workshop explored the emerging, dynamic and transgressive field of the ‘climate museum’, tracing a unique and highly interdisciplinary space of encounter that connects the sciences and the humanities, academic and public spheres, research and action. The international workshop hosted four keynote speakers and six different sessions with total of over 20 presenters. 

For enquiries please contact Bergsveinn Thorsson.

Description

How do we narrate climatic change in a museum environment and initiate dialogue across its stakeholders? How can museums become ‘contact zones’ where science and education, activism and entertainment, debate and tourism interact productively? Various cultural institutions have recently taken up the challenges of communicating climate change and engaging with their communities. They range from established museums to new, emerging and experimental spaces. All attempt to promote debate and tell the stories we desperately need to connect scientific results to human lifeworlds.
Climate change is a complex phenomenon that crosses the register of nature and culture. Its ecological, cultural and technological impacts connect the global and the local. The importance of addressing climate breakdown in a global perspective reflecting the different challenges facing different regions makes museums revisit their collections, exhibition designs and expert networks as well as develop their cross-societal appeal. Under these challenging terms, they could provide a readymade infrastructure for climate change communication and co-creation as spaces for the intersection of climate research, dissemination and activism.

What are the competences museums need to develop in order to engage with the multiscalar and complex phenomenon? Do we need new institutions or are established museums capable of rethinking their approaches and use their resources to foster understanding and action to engage with the global environmental crisis? Should the focus be on the sustainable development goals, the Agenda 2030, climate change or even the Anthropocene?

 

Organizer

Prof Brita Brenna (University of Oslo), Prof Dominik Collet (Oslo School of Environmental Humanities), Torkjell Leira (Klimahuset Oslo), Morien Rees (ICOM’s working group on sustainability), Bergsveinn Thorsson (University of Oslo).
Tags: Museums and Museology, Climate Change, OSEH
Published July 8, 2019 1:44 PM - Last modified Oct. 16, 2020 2:52 PM