Key takeaways from Museums Collaborating around Climate Change Workshop. Australian Museum, Sydney, 20 July 2017.


  • Attendees enthusiastic about working collaboratively
  • General consensus that enacting a collaboration is best done around a specific project – this will enable us to establish a working relationship. We can start small.
  • Some of the more sustained proposals for the small-scale concrete collaborative project:
    • developing an annual ‘International Climate Day’. Celebrated with programs, etc at each institution on the same day each year.
    • developing a touring exhibition
    • developing an online exhibition

Conversations have been continuing by email, especially in the lead-up to the next gathering: the ‘International Climate change and museums symposium’, Manchester Museum, April 2018.

A workshop, run by a set of participants in the July event, will advance the development of a ‘pop up’ climate change exhibition for anywhere – a digitally-available exhibition kit with panel templates and digital components that can be downloaded, localised and printed anywhere.  The kit includes some intro panels with global climate change information, and local content components with guidance on engaging with local communities to garner spoken word, video, and objects that can be incorporated in a range of low-cost ways into the exhibition.

To join the conversation, contact

List of attendees (onsite)

Fiona Cameron, Senior research fellow, Institute for Culture and Society, University of Western Sydney

Craig Donarski, Director, Casula Powerhouse, Sydney

Paul Flemons, Manager, Digital Collections and Citizen Science, Australian Museum

Stan Florek, Collections officer, Pacific collections, Australian Museum

Vanessa Low, Divisional co-ordinator, Programs, Exhibitions & Cultural Collections, Australian Museum
Jenny Newell, A/Director of Programs, Exhibitions and Cultural Collections, Australian Museum

Elizabeth Marshall, Public Arts Officer, Casula Powerhouse, Sydney

Miranda Massie, Director, The Climate Museum, New York

Kim McKay, Director and CEO, Australian Museum

Logan Metcalfe, Pacific collections, Australian Museum

Cameron Muir, Sydney Environment Institute and National Museum of Australia, Canberra

Luiz Alberto Oliveira, Chief Curator, Museum of Tomorrow, Rio de Janeiro

Dean Peterson, Head of Science, Te Papa Tongarewa, New Zealand

Ricardo Piquet, President, Museum of Tomorrow, Rio de Janeiro

Fara Pelarek, Head of Lifelong Learning, Australian Museum

Libby Robin, Professor, Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University

Sue Saxon, Creative producer, Programs, Australian Museum

Joseph-Zane Sikulu, Pacific (Australia)

Cameron Slatyer, Head of Natural Science collections, Australian Museum

Mathew Sloane, Education officer, Australian Museum

Louise Teteris, Touring Exhibitions Co-ordinator, Australian Museum

Thelma Thomas, Pacific hip-hop soul artist, Pacific Youth Programs officer, Australian Museum

Angela Tiatia. Multimedia artist, Sydney

Thom Van Dooren, Assoc. Prof. of Environmental Humanities, Deputy Head of School of Arts and Humanities (Research) School of Humanities University of New South Wales

Kirsten Wehner, Central St Martins, London

Mariko Yoshida, PhD candidate, Anthropology, Australian National University, Canberra

Participating off-site:

Emma Burns, Curator, Natural Science, Otago Museum
Henry McGhie, Head of Collections and Curator of Zoology, Manchester Museum
Chris Rapley, Professor of Climate Science, UCL (former Director, Science Museum), London
Martha Sear, chief curator, People and the Environment, National Museum of Australia
Jay Sterling Gregg, Copenhagen

Jennifer Woodcock-Medicine Horse, PhD candidate, Montana State University

Video of Workshop: Museums Collaborating around Climate Change. Australian Museum, Sydney, 20 July 2017.

The 2017 Museums & Climate Change Network workshop is published below:

Session One:

Session Two:

The aim of the July 2017 workshop at the Australian Museum is to establish effective ways for museums around the world to collaborate on engaging hearts and minds, creating climate-active citizens, and influencing policy around climate change.  Museums and Climate Change Network members were invited.

This was a participatory, roll-your-sleeves-up workshop. The day had plenty of time for small group work directed at sharing and growing ideas and establishing clear steps forward. Numbers were kept low to keep the discussion moving.

There were presentations from several local and international speakers, including Miranda Massie, Director of The Climate Museum, New York.

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Jay Sterling Gregg, a senior researcher and lecturer at the Technical University of Denmark in the Climate Change and Sustainable Development program, created Climagination as a platform for engaging people in the climate issue by inspiring them to get in touch with their imagination and creativity. The ultimate goal is to create a climate museum in Copenhagen.


How can the heritage sector engage the mainstream public? Webinar

Webinar: Climate change – how can the heritage sector engage the mainstream public? – 25 July 2017, 3pm BST

An interactive webinar with George Marshall from Climate Outreach, hosted by Sara Penrhyn Jones from Bath Spa University was held in July 2017. George’s most recent book, ‘Don’t Even Think About It: Why Our Brains Are Wired To Ignore Climate Change’ (Bloomsbury US, 2014), explores the psychology of climate change, and was written for a general public audience. In this webinar, he will bring his expertise on climate communication very specifically to the heritage sector.

How can we use our resources and skills to play a useful, educational role on climate change? Most importantly, what kind of climate narratives are proven to be compelling and effective? This may involve some radical rethinking of old assumptions, as we consider, more consciously, the kind of language and strategies that we use.

Comments or questions?

Email us: Sara Penrhyn Jones (discussion moderator):

Tweet questions to the moderator in advance, or as part of the live webinar: @saraPjones. Or just use the hashtag: #heritage4climate.

Interested, but can’t make it? Let us know, and we’ll send you a link to the uploaded webinar later on. You can still send in comments or questions in advance!

This webinar is part of a collaboration between an academic team and other partners researching heritage in times of climate change: Bath Spa University; Kings College London; University of Exeter; Manchester Museum; National Trust; International National Trusts Organisation; Newport Restoration Foundation; National Museum of World Culture, Gothenburg and Climate Outreach. This work follows on from a project called ‘Troubled Waters’, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council UK. It is happening because the UK heritage sector has expressed a desire to communicate climate change with the public, but also a need for more support, dialogue and advice. For more information, see: and

‘The Gathering Storm’: Marshall Islands brace for rising seas | Produced by Al Jazeera America

A gathering storm of climate change looms over Marshall Islands.

Severe droughts, massive flooding and dying coral mark realities of climate change on remote Pacific islands

As climate change becomes a growing global concern, the Marshall Islands, a collection of atolls spread across 357,000 square miles in the Pacific Ocean, offer a snapshot of what may be to come. On the main island of Majuro, seasonal high tides combined with storm surges and a rising sea combined to render more than 1,000 people homeless last year. The outer atolls have also been hit hard, first by droughts and now by increasingly common flooding. The floods have gotten so bad that the residents of Kili, home to hundreds of descendants of the nuclear refugees from Bikini Atoll, have petitioned the United States government for help relocating to higher ground in the U.S. And rising sea temperatures have caused massive coral bleaching in the Marshall Islands’ world-renowned reefs. As Sheila MacVicar reports in this excerpt from Compass, residents remain optimistic and defiant in the face of the rising seas.

Watch an excerpt from the video here:

Originally aired on Jun 28, 2015.  A report from Compass with Sheila Macvicar.

“Extinction: A Radical History” by Ashley Dawson


Some thousands of years ago, the world was home to an immense variety of large mammals. From wooly mammoths and saber-toothed tigers to giant ground sloths and armadillos the size of automobiles, these spectacular creatures roamed freely. Then human beings arrived. Devouring their way down the food chain as they spread across the planet, they began a process of voracious extinction that has continued to the present.

Headlines today are made by the existential threat confronting remaining large animals such as rhinos and pandas. But the devastation summoned by humans extends to humbler realms of creatures including beetles, bats, and butterflies. Researchers generally agree that the current extinction rate is nothing short of catastrophic. Currently, the earth is losing about a hundred species every day.

This relentless extinction, Ashley Dawson contends in a primer that combines vast scope with elegant precision, is the product of a global attack on the commons, the great trove of air, water, plants and creatures, as well as collectively created cultural forms such as language, that have been regarded traditionally as the inheritance of humanity as a whole.

This attack has its genesis in the need for capital to expand relentlessly into all spheres of life. Extinction, Dawson argues, cannot be understood in isolation from a critique of our economic system. To achieve this we need to transgress the boundaries between science, environmentalism and radical politics. Extinction: A Radical History performs this task with both brio and brilliance.

130 pages • Paperback ISBN 978-1-682190-40-1 • E-book 978-1-682190-41-8