Autumn Equinox Newsletter -2022

This quarterly newsletter comes to you at the Autumn Equinox, a moment of pause and preparation before the challenges of winter. This is an uncertain time for the UK. As a new PM and Cabinet announce pro-wealth climate-denying measures, an energy – or cost of living – crisis now looms, following a summer of extreme heat and drought.

Planned climate actions have been cancelled due to the Queen’s death, but we look forward to seeing action now with the upcoming Global Climate Strike this week on Friday 23rd September, and Just Stop Oil swinging into action from October 1st.

Read on for more on what we have been getting up to, and for information on our own upcoming events and campaigns.


Advocacy for radical action

As an experimental museum, a key aspect of our work is working with professionals in the cultural sector on training and advocacy. We’ve delivered training sessions for 100s of people in the past few months, for example, for Museums Galleries Scotland (MGS), Tullie House and Museum of the Home, as well as many conferences in Europe and the UK.

We have the last of our free sessions with MGS coming up on 18th OctoberCultural Change in a Changing World.

We are also contributing to a campaign to be launched in October by a joined-up Alliance of Declarers, convened by Culture Declares Emergency. Please email culturedeclares@gmail.com for more information or to get involved with the Alliance of Declarers.

We’re pleased to see the Museums Association launch their Climate Justice campaign with a special issue of their journal dedicated to this vital issue. This includes an article by our new co-director, Lorraine Finch.


Emerging Practitioners programme update

We’re applying for funding for a scheme of training, networking and funded work placements for young and emerging practitioners interested in the intersection of climate / ecology, heritage and community arts. Katherine Dick has been developing this programme, consulting and inviting people to get involved. See more in this blogpost.

If you’re interested in hosting a placement, come to a briefing meeting on 26th September 3-4.30. Email us on climatemuseumuk@gmail.com to get details.


Pilot for Emerging Practitioner placement

Artwork by Megan Bowyer

Image: One of Megan’s many artworks, from creative research in the natural history, geology and cultural collections of Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery, Carlisle.

We have been collaborating with Tullie House in Carlisle on Once Upon a Planet, a community engagement project with their collections to explore climate links in creative ways. Megan Bowyer was recruited as our Emerging Practitioner (or Young Associate) to carry out this work, to be mentored and trained by us, and to join us in the future as an associate.


Possible Places

As a distributed museum, there’s a danger we could be spread too thin, and be just a light wrapper for individual practitioners working on their own. We’re looking to create more structure, such as the Emerging Practitioners network, but also local clusters for place-based work. One is emerging in Norfolk, where we have emerging plans for a local space for activation, Possitopia Norwich.

We invite existing and new associates to form collaborative clusters in their places. To support this, we’re developing a set of resources and local case studies for place-based work.


We Breathe Together

We delivered three workshops at the Horniman Museum & Gardens on Saturday 17th September, part of an activity-packed day curated by Invisible Dust, all about air pollution. We invited participants to explore links around air pollution to get a holistic view of the Earth crisis, using a display of handling objects. Then we invited them to collage their visions and actions for a safe, just and green world.


Associate updates

In Norwich, Bridget is collaborating with Culture Declares East of England on a live event on October 12th (and an online Offer to come) on Words, Wisdom and Truths about the Earth crisis, including Rupert Read and Norwich Writers Rebel. See details

We’ve been hosting a summer work placement by Phoebe Thomson, who visited and reviewed Greener & Cleaner Bromley.

Kevin Davidson, Bridget McKenzie and Caroline Bray are working with Goldsmiths (University of London) on action research into arts-based participatory methods for engaging young people with the Earth crisis, empowering them to start creative conversations with their peers. Kevin is embarking on a youth consultation to prepare for this.

Amy Scaife and hubRen. hubRen is a mobile hub of community resilience, helping us to imagine and create together the beautiful, regenerative future that is possible. See here for the continuation of Amy’s activities in Waltham Forest.

Genevieve Rudd through her not-for-profit organisation Under Open Sky has been leading Coasters, a coastal nature-connection pilot project for adults in Great Yarmouth this September. The group has been exploring a range of arts- and science-based ways to connect with the coastal landscape. This has included partnering with Precious Plastic East CIC to transform beach-combed plastic into usable materials, and mindful creativity on the shoreline.

Collected coastal objects are scattered on the sand, surrounded by drawings, drawing materials and seaweed ID guides. At the top and right of the frame, the legs of group participants can be seen, as they draw the objects.
Image description: collected coastal objects are scattered on the sand, surrounded by drawings, drawing materials and seaweed ID guides. At the top and right of the frame, the legs of group participants can be seen, as they draw the objects.

And finally

This newsletter is dedicated to Permaculturist, educator and mentor Alan Charlton who died on Sunday. He was a great supporter of our work, attending events, offering challenges and encouragement. We thank him for all his support over the years.


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