Posted by: henrymcghie | May 22, 2017

Manchester Museum and Manchester Climate Change Agency present at the United Nations

I had a fantastic experience last week, talking at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 5th Dialogue on Action for Climate Empowerment, in Bonn, last Monday. The presentation was done jointly with Jonny Sadler of Manchester Climate Change Agency. The talk was about ‘Cities and Museums Fostering Climate Change Education and Empowerment’. I focussed on the great potential that museums offer: they reach large numbers of people, who come with a curiosity about the world and their place in it; their collections span human and environmental history, and they can promote critical thinking and reflection.

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Me, Adriana Valenzuela Jimenez (UNFCCC) and Jonny Sadler (Manchester Climate Change Agency) at the World Conference Centre in Bonn

I wanted to emphasise that museums can choose to do things differently, and use their venues, exhibitions and events as sites for people to express what matters to them, find out what matters to other people and to promote collective action. I spoke about our Climate Control exhibition, which we held in 2016, as an example of how museums can focus on inspiration and empowerment rather than simply conveying information (which can just be depressing). With a starting point that ‘we can’t change the past but we can change our future’, we provided lots of opportunities for people to take part, described in earlier posts. Reaching nearly 100,000 visitors in our months, and with 73% of people telling us, and one another, that they care that the climate is changing, and giving people lots of opportunities to find out what actions they could take towards climate action, I hope we managed to demonstrate that civic institutions such as museums can play a really important role in encouraging and empowering people that they can do something about climate change, if only on a personal level. By creating opportunities that bring exhibitions, policy/strategy, and the latest research together, we hope that this is how we can truly play a role in society.

5th dialogueParticipants in the 5th Dialogue on Action for Climate Empowerment

 

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