Museums and Galleries Responding to the Climate and Ecological Crisis

Conference 2022, hosted by NMDC and the Whitworth

The Whitworth Art Gallery, view of the gallery and park

Photo by Alan Williams 

Watch day two of the conference on the LIVESTREAM free on the Whitworth YouTube Channel here, from 9am, Tuesday 8th March.

Following COP26 and the release of NMDC’s report ‘Green Museums: Tackling the Climate Crisis’, NMDC is convening a conference hosted at the Whitworth, University of Manchester, to explore the role of museums and galleries in combatting the climate and ecological crisis.

Museums and galleries have a unique perspective as institutions that take a long-term view with their mission to preserve collections and stories for the future. But how can they do so with the existential threat of the climate crisis? How can museums combat climate change and biodiversity loss? The conference will provide a forum to consider two key questions:

  • What can museums do to reduce their environmental impact?
  • How can museums inspire positive action?

Watch the livestream of the conference on the Whitworth's YouTube channel.

Monday 7th March 

11:30 - Welcome by Maria Balshaw, Director of Tate and Chair of NMDC

11:45 - Keynote: Henry McGhie, Curating Tomorrow: Climate Action is Not Just for COP

12:30 - Panel session: Engaging the Public as Active Citizens 

Chair: Jenny Waldman, Art Fund 

Panellists: Clare Matterson, Natural History Museum, Nick Merriman, the Horniman Museum and Gardens, Francine Hayfron, the Whitworth

13:45 - Lunch 

14:30 - Panel session: Planning to Reach Net Zero 

Chair: Sara Kassam, V&A 

Panellists: Naomi Garnett, Quaker Tapestry Museum, Craig Bentley, Science and Industry Museum, Simon Branson, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios 

15:30 - Break out discussion: the Road to Net Zero 

16:30 - Afternoon break

16:45 - Keynote: Carly McLachlan, Professor of Climate and Energy Policy, Director of Tyndall Manchester 

18:00 - Evening reception 

Tuesday 8th March 

09:00 - Online contribution: Zehra Ahmed & Jenny Newell, the Australian Museum: Taking Action on Climate Change & Sustainability at the Australian Museum

09:30 - Keynote: Heath Lowndes and Greg Hilty, Gallery Climate Coalition 

10:00 - Coffee break 

10:20 - Panel session: Mitigation, Adaptation and Resilience  

Chair: Lisa Ollerhead, Association of Independent Museums 

Panellists: Reyahn King, York Museums Trust, Justin McGuirk, the Design Museum, Simon Curtis, Manchester Arts Sustainability Team 

11:35 - Breakout discussion: Accelerated Action

12.45 - Lunch 

14:00 - Keynote: Richard Piacentini, Phipps Conservatory, Pittsburgh: Cultivating Climate Leadership: Evolving an Institution to Address Climate Change and Helping Others to Do the Same 

14:40 - In conversation: Next Steps in Climate Leadership  

Facilitated by Esme Ward, Manchester Museum 

Panellists: Hilary Jennings, The Happy Museum, Bridget McKenzie, Climate Museum UK, Ben Twist, Creative Carbon Scotland

15:30 -Afternoon break

15:50 - Plenary discussion 

16:15 - Conference ends 

The full conference programme, including further details on speakers and the Carbon Literacy Lounge, can be found here.

The event will be livestreamed with links below:

Day 1:

Day 2:

Ticketing details 

The conference will be at the Whitworth, Manchester, on 7th and 8th March. There will be a small charge of £35 to cover the costs of catering with a limited number of discounted tickets available for freelancers, volunteers and smaller organisations and some free tickets available for students.

Tickets are available here: Museums and Galleries Responding to the Climate and Ecological Crisis Tickets, Mon, Mar 7, 2022 at 11:30 AM | Eventbrite

Recordings of the conference will be made available after the event.