Emerging Practitioners Programme

By Katherine Dick

Supporting the creation of a generation of cultural practitioners critically engaging with and talking about the Earth Crisis.

I joined Climate Museum UK in November, after hearing Bridget McKenzie deliver a presentation about her organisation at Goldsmiths, University of London. Since then, I have been helping to develop an Emerging Practitioners Programme for the organisation. 

I had been thinking about the intersection of climate communications, contemporary art, and museum studies for a while. It had been these pressing topics and their convergences that had led me to Goldsmiths to complete an MA in Art and Politics. 

I had heard about CMUK once before, in my experience of visiting the Re-imagining Museums for Climate Action exhibit at the COP26 (The United Nations Framework on Climate Change) Green Zone, the area open to the public, in Glasgow in the fall of 2021. Created by Harrison & Sterling, the exhibition and corresponding publication highlighted projects globally that are working to re-imagine museums to assist in the present political moment of climate breakdown. A conversation between multiple CMUK associates was included in the publication that shared their approach to re-imagining a museum. 

Climate Museum UK is an experimental museum that generates and curates creative responses to the Earth crisis

Climate Museum UK is a distributed museum made up of creatives from around the UK, each with their own distinct practice. They align in their goals to engage people with climate and ecological crises through co-learning and conversation. They use objects to activate re-generative thinking and future building. They challenge what a museum can be and in doing so, are developing a new field of practice. By joining together, they are also pooling resources and benefiting from funding opportunities. 

As an emerging practitioner, I am keen to assist in building this strand of the organisation, a programme for younger career-stage individuals that would build onto CMUK’s already established associate network. The importance of developing an emerging practitioners network responds to the growing urgency of the Earth crisis and corresponding popularity of the topics of climate and ecology to be explored in museums and contemporary art institutions

This network and programme will provide funding, training, work, and support for young individuals eager to critically explore the potential for ‘eco-social art’ to create a re-generative culture. 

The programme has been devised to provide emerging practitioners with opportunities to: 

  • Network with like-minded individuals
  • Receive and participate in structured training featuring guest speakers
  • Connect with more established practitioners, providing possible mentorship opportunities
  • Access resources and opportunities for funding 
  • Apply for paid-work opportunities with CMUK partner institutions 

The goals of this programme are influenced by findings from a focus group hosted at the University of Goldsmiths in 2022, and students on placement with CMUK from 2020-22. We accept feedback on the proposed program from emerging practitioners on an ongoing basis. 

While the network would provide support in developing individual practices and opportunities for collaborative projects, the program would also provide short-term work experiences to a few members of the network with partners of CMUK, including heritage sites, galleries, and museums. 

By providing placements, CMUK will provide opportunities for emerging practitioners to gain experience working with cultural institutions on projects that focus on engaging audiences with the topics of climate and ecology. In doing so, possibilities to critically evaluate how best to communicate with audiences and local communities about these urgent and complex topics will emerge. The pilot project for this programme is currently ongoing by artist Megan Bowyer at Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery in Carlisle, UK.

The project will allow for diverse practitioners to engage communities through creative learning to build just and regenerative futures. The scheme will provide networking opportunities, training, and paid placement opportunities to join and influence our self-organised network.

If you’re an emerging practitioners, sign up to join the network through the form linked below. If you’re a cultural partner that could host a placement please get in touch and attend our meeting on 26th September from 3-4:30 pm.

https://forms.gle/C7zsoKB4s8tHrrL89

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