I’m the founder of Climate Museum UK, and really excited that we’ve grown as a distributed network with projects and practice in various places of the UK. As an experimental museum, one aspect of this is being a distributed museum without a single base. I was delivering projects in London, where I lived for decades, as well as online and nationally. However, I’ve moved back home to Norwich in Norfolk, and I’m trying out approaches that are more face-to-face and ‘face-to-place’. It feels motivating to be focused on a place, and it’s a place full of heritage and future potential. There are also quite a few practitioners and CMUK partners in Norfolk.
So, I’ve launched it now with a project website, and a couple of pilot projects.
Possitopia Norwich is a programme for activation on the Earth crisis, to open imaginations to possible futures of the City, of its wider bioregion and the Earth systems we all depend upon.
- It is a project under the umbrella of Climate Museum UK.
- Starting with workshops and events, we aim to create a common space in Norwich that is inclusive and open to other organisations to use as a resource.
- It is Possitopian, which means opening to all possibilities, not being stuck in either despairing Dystopian or wishful Utopian positions, facing the dire state of the planet while generating active hope.
- It will offer opportunities for learning, conversation and planning for Norwich to become a regenerative City, tapping and reflecting its cultural heritage and its essence.
There is an appetite for creative programming and accessible public experiences to support local initiatives such as:
- the Norwich 2040 City Vision – to be creative, liveable, fair, dynamic and connected;
- the Norwich Climate Commission – to engage, guide and empower citizens, communities and businesses with the zero carbon journey and towards better sustainability;
- Climate UEA telling the story of 50 years of climate research and current world-leading collaborations;
- Norwich Research Hub, with world-leading research on food futures and agriculture
- Plans for a Norwich Eco Hub – to build a local economy with respect for the living world
- Norwich BID – with its Journey to Net Zero Expo
- An ecosystem of groups, retail spaces or projects such as many plant-based cafes; the Greenhouse Gallery; Transition Norwich; Norwich Upcycling Exchange; the Norfolk Green Care Network; active Green Party, Friends of the Earth and Extinction Rebellion presences; campaign against the Wensum Link; green housing projects; and Norwich Writers Rebel.
The vision: a programme of activation
- Programmes of public engagement with communities across and beyond the City, delivered by and for the City Council, Norwich Climate Commission, and Norfolk cultural and environmental organisations, to expand understanding of climate risks and ecocentric potentials. This will motivate people to work together for resilience to climate impacts and regenerative supplies of food and energy.
- Envisaging and mobilising visions such as: Norwich as the first Food Forest City, creating joined-up green corridors, enabling a local and sustained food supply with symbiotic benefits of a biodiversity habitat, as well as providing natural infrastructure for cooling shade and flood resistance
- Developing a consistent space for activation, with an experience that is museum-like, where visitors and partners can come to use the library of 250+ books, toolkits of games and handling objects, art installations and comfortable spaces for conversation. Building up collections of #ExtremeWeatherStories or Possitopian ideas for the future.
Activities to achieve the vision
- Creative assemblies and circle conversations: these might use frameworks like People Take Action, inspiring activism across eight pathways. Other events might focus on books, films or art projects, such as this past collaborative event with Culture Declares East, ‘Truth, Words and Wisdom in the Earth Crisis’. In 2023 we will contribute to creative assemblies in Norwich and Great Yarmouth on Growth, Degrowth, Regrowth, producing a template for wider use.
- Acts of Planet Kindness: Outdoor activities that link ecology & climate, to encourage empathy and care. Tree-planting ceremonies, eco-art workshops, or Wild Museum activities led by animal curators.
- Imagining Futures: What kind of positive future could be imagined for the human and more-than-human inhabitants in Norwich, and how can our creativity help? Workshops with young people that help them imagine futures through creative role play, giving them a sense of future direction and agency, and growing their understanding of climate and ecological impacts and solutions. We’re really pleased that we have funds from Festival Bridge to develop this offer, and to produce a toolkit. If you’re interested to volunteer or participate in the pilot event on February 10th, please get in touch.
- Walkshops’: seeing Norwich as a museum by creative acts of noticing with an ‘eco-lens’ tapping its heritage of textiles, rebellion, literature and verdant landscape. I’ve set up a pilot series of three walks and would love to see local people join in:
Take an active part in these walking-talking workshops that explore the past and future of Norwich from a planetary perspective. Use the evidence from the past to consider the interventions that will enable Norwich, our bioregion and our planet to be safe, just and healthy in future. Explore ideas of defence, enclosure, commons, sacredness, rebellion, deviance, flow and wildness, through prompted conversations around the City. You can book for the first, on 9 December, here.