IMA Annual Conference

2022 Irish Museums Association Annual Conference

Part of the Solution. Supporting Environmental Sustainability in Museums

24 October, Dublin

  • Abstracts

    Climate Change in the Irish Mind

    In 2021 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) embarked on a new project with Yale University’s Programme on Climate Change Communications (YPCCC) to research the attitudes, behaviours, policy preferences and beliefs of the Irish public to climate change. The results of this research are now being made public with the release of the 'Climate Change in the Irish Mind' Report.  This provides a range of fresh insights into the attitudes of the Irish population which will be of benefit to museums in understanding the underlying psychological and cultural factors that influence the public and identifying barriers and obstacles to action. With growing awareness of the role of the museum in framing key messages and harnessing collective action for climate justice, along with the growing need for improved environmental education;  it will help build on cross-sectoral environmental efforts to identify opportunities to link with policy makers and identify opportunities to engage the public. 


    Managing change or changing to manage? 

    Climate change is a global issue that will impact on all sectors of society and one which requires a response at every level. Climate Action includes both adaptation to the effects of climate change and measures to mitigate or reduce greenhouse gas emissions (in an effort to minimise the rate and scale of that change). This presentation will look at both adaptation and mitigation to climate change in terms of how they intersect with the day-to-day business of museums and cultural organisations. Societal transformational change is needed to address climate change, and this may be particularly challenging for a sector where preservation of values and the management of change are a raison d’etre. The presentation will seek to highlight the significant opportunities for the culture and heritage sector to contribute to this vital journey, and hopes to initiate discussion on how this can best be achieved.


    Nano Nagle Place – Reflections on a sustainable museum

    Shane Clarke will consider what museums can bring to the sustainability agenda in relation to built heritage, community engagement and asset management through his experiences in urban regeneration and as former CEO of Nano Nagle Place in Cork. 

    Taking the concept of the “The greenest building is the one that already exists”, Shane will explore how this translates to areas such as multi-generational asset management, reputational leverage and strategic planning, and - ultimately - the museum as a civic forum with a vital role to play in furthering community engagement.  


    Climate research using collections: Understanding the past to shape the future

    The reality of human-induced climate change has overwhelming consensus in the scientific community, based on multiple independent lines of research. Since 2019 the Irish government, the European Union and a host of other nations and states have declared a state of climate emergency. What this means in real terms has yet to be fully understood, despite the fact that the impact is already being felt. Much of what we predict about the likely impacts of climate change comes from modelling, but real life observations are required in order to test those models if we are to gain a better understanding of specific impacts. Museum collections can make significant contributions to refining our understanding about the impact of climate change on biodiversity and the human systems that depend on it, including food security and emerging diseases. Apart from playing an active role in supporting research, museums can also provide a unique role in educating and engaging the public about our changing environment.


    Museums in Brief

    This panel session brings together representatives from museum organisations to discuss some of their actions in support of building awareness around climate change: exhibitions and programming, community participation, and museum development. Following introductions, it will be an opportunity for wider discussion and delegate participation as we explore the museum's role in building awareness, promoting key messages, and incorporating actions into their own practice. 


    Action for Climate Empowerment/Mobilising Museums 

    This workshop will be led by Henry McGhie who, following a short introduction, will group delegates with the aim of exploring how we can support the six parts of the Paris Agreement (education, training, public awareness, access to information, participation, co-operation), and how participants can strengthen the four new aspects: effective policies, co-ordinated action, tools and support, monitoring and communication.