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Curating Climate

How can we exhibit climate – a phenomenon far removed from human perception? The Curating Climate collaboratory explores the dynamic and transgressive field of the ‘climate museum’.

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How can we exhibit climate – a phenomenon far removed from human perception? How do we narrate climatic change in a museum environment and initiate dialogue across its stakeholders and that locates it within the landscape of the UN’s Agenda 2030 Transforming our World? Various institutions have recently taken up this challenge. 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.

This collaboratory will explore the dynamic and transgressive field of the ‘climate museum’. It will trace a unique and highly interdisciplinary space of encounter that connects the sciences and the humanities, academic and public spheres, research and action.


In the current environment disenchantment with the forms and channels used to communicate the challenges of climate change is growing. The scientific debate is often criticized for failing to provide a narrative able to relate to the lived experiences of a larger public. The mere distribution of facts is increasingly questioned in its ability to overcome complacency and to encourage change.

Museums in contrast provide communication rather than information, engaging in translation rather than simple transmission. They are also widely perceived as impartial actors with established patterns of transnational cooperation, an essential requisite for meeting the inherently global challenges climate change. However, museums must also be prepared to relinquish some of their more cherished notions, such as full curatorial authority and exclusive control over their own spaces. They will have to 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.

Core participants

  • Dominik Collet (PI), is a climate historian at UiO. He led cross-disciplinary research groups spanning the sciences and the humanities, cooperated extensively with museums both academically and practically and co-organised several exhibitions.

  • Brita Brenna, is a museologist at UiO. She has worked on natural history collections, from 18th century to present day. She is responsible for the group Heritage and sustainability in the Heritage Experience Initiative at UiO and has long standing experience in critical museology and museum collaboration. 

  • Torkjell Leira, is a geographer at the Natural History Museum Oslo. He has worked on biodiversity and climate change impacts in the Amazon. He is the project leader of the upcoming Klimahuset Oslo.

  • Morien Rees, is a curator at Varanger Museum on Norway’s Arctic coast. He has worked widely as a practitioner in the museum sector since 1994 and is the chair of the ICOM working group on Museums and Sustainability.

  • Bergsveinn Thorsson, is museologist at UiO. He has worked in Iceland’s museum environment for ten years before coming to Oslo for his PhD on museums, the environment and anthropocenic things.


International workshop: Curating Climate -  Museums as ‘contact zones’ of climate research, education and activism.

Date: 28/29th October 2019

The workshop explored the emerging, dynamic and transgressive field of the ‘climate museum’, by bringing together people working in the museum and heritage sector, researchers, artists, activists and policy makers. The workshop was hosted by Oslo’s new Klimahuset under the umbrella of Oslo Green Capital 2019. The event was co-funded by OSEH, HEI, the Naturhistorisk Museum and UiO:Energy.



The collaboratory is open for interested participants. To join our discussions, please contact:

Published Jan. 31, 2020 12:57 PM - Last modified Jan. 31, 2020 1:59 PM