IMA Annual Conference

2022 Irish Museums Association Annual Conference

Part of the Solution. Supporting Environmental Sustainability in Museums

24 October, Dublin

  • Programme, 24 October 2022

    10:00: Doors open, President's Hall, Law Society of Ireland, Smithfield, Dublin

    10:30 – 10:45: Welcome, Audrey Whitty, IMA Chair. 

    10:45 – 11:15: 

    Mary Frances Rochford, Programme Manager, Climate Change and Circular Economy, Environmental Protection Agency. Climate Change in the Irish Mind

    11:15 – 11:45: 

    Dr Cathy Daly, Senior Lecturer in Conservation at the School of History & Heritage at the University of Lincoln, U.K. Managing change or changing to manage? 

    11:45 – 12:15: Coffee/Tea/Refreshments

    12:15 – 13:30: Chaired by Brian Crowley, Curator, Kilmainham Gaol Museum

        Shane Clarke, CEO Garden-City-Culture. Nano Nagle Place – Reflections on a sustainable museum

        Paolo Viscardi, Deputy Keeper of Natural History, National Museum of Ireland. Climate research using collections: Understanding the past to shape the future 


    13:30 – 14:15:   Lunch (included)

    14:15 – 15:30: 

    Museums in Brief Panel. Chaired by Dr Gillian O'Brien, author and Reader in Modern Irish History, Liverpool John Moores University. 

       Eithne Verling, Director, Galway City Museum.

       Claire Walsh, Assistant Curator: Collections, IMMA (Irish Museum of Modern Art)

       Johnathan Dalzell, Director, Northern Ireland Museums Council 

       Ruža Leko, Co-founder & Creative Director, StudioSuss

    15:30 – 17:00: 

    Henry McGhie, Founder and CEO of CuratingTomorrow. Workshop: Action for Climate Empowerment/Mobilising museums for climate action.


    17:30: Social: Hendrick's Hotel Bar

  • Speakers Bios

    Mary Frances Rochford is the Programme Manager of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Change and Circular Economy Programme. Her area of responsibility includes the National Waste Prevention Programme, which plays an important role in fostering the circular economy in Ireland through supporting innovation and partnering with other organisations and the production of Ireland’s National Waste and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Statistics.


    Dr Cathy Daly is Senior Lecturer in Conservation and Programme Leader for MA Heritage Conservation at the University of Lincoln in the UK and research consultant with Carrig. Her research expertise is in climate change and cultural heritage, including assessing vulnerability, monitoring impacts and adaptation planning. She was lead researcher and author of Ireland’s Climate Change Adaptation Sectoral Plan for Built and Archaeological Heritage (2019) for the then Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and, in her work with Carrig, is currently assisting the Department in the implementation of the plan. Cathy is a bureau member of the International Working Group on Climate Action of ICOMOS and a lead author on the Future of our Pasts report (2019); is the Climate Heritage Network, WG4 co-lead of HiCLIP project (2019- ); a founding member of Irish National Blue Shield Committee (INCBS) (2011-2019); and former treasurer (2001-2004) of the Irish Professional Conservators and Restorers Association (IPCRA).


    Shane Clarke runs Garden-City-Culture, a consultancy that specialises in “creating flourishing places”. From 2016 to 2022 Shane was the CEO of Nano Nagle Place – a museum, heritage destination and community development hub in Cork City. In 2022 Nano Nagle Place was awarded the prestigious Council of Europe Museum Prize 2022: “an exemplary place of caring that provides long-term sustainable cultural and social services, directly connected to the core museum story of innovative education and care of the poor and excluded”. Prior to that Shane has over 15 years of urban regeneration experience in London. He holds an MSc Urban Design, MRes Humanities & Cultural Studies and is currently studying with the Oxford Nature Based Solutions programme.


    Paolo Viscardi is Deputy Keeper of Natural History at the National Museum of Ireland (NMI), with previous curatorial roles in the UK at the Grant Museum of Zoology and the Horniman Museum & Gardens. He has over 20 years’ experience of working with natural history collections to support research, teaching and public engagement. Paolo currently sits on the boards of the National Biodiversity Data Centre and National Museum of Ireland and is on the steering committee of the UK-based Subject Specialist Network Consortium after chairing the Natural Sciences Collections Network for seven years.


    Eithne Verling is Director of Galway City Museum. Eithne has been working in the area of cultural infrastructure for 20 years, eight of which were spent with The Heritage Council of Ireland as museums officer. Her work has also included the Housing the Arts in Galway project which saw the establishment of the Town Hall and the Black Box Theatres; the development of the Heritage Council’s successful Museum Standards Programme; and membership of the Greenfort Cultural Planning Working Group with Sligo County Council; and is coordinator of Galway’s Cultural Strategy 2025.


    Johnathan Dalzell is director of the Northern Ireland Museums Council (NIMC). He joined the NIMC from the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, where as head of branch he had a remit including expert input to national policy, stakeholder engagement and advocacy. Prior to that he was a senior lecturer and director of education at Queen's University Belfast, where he coordinated and taught undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes, and led an independent research team. Dalzell is a current member of the National Trust NI’s Regional Advisory Group and has served as trustee for a number of national and international learned societies. He has fulfilled editorial roles for a range of international research publications, and has consulted for organisations including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and UK Research and Innovation.


    Ruža Leko is co-founder and creative director of Studio Suss. She specialises in strategy, concept, and design, and asks the tough questions, while embracing clarity and eliminating the noise. She has extensive design experience in the science, art and education sectors. Prior to Studio Suss, Ruža worked as a lead designer at Science Gallery Dublin, designing over 20 exhibitions, numerous events and educational programmes. 


    Claire Walsh is Assistant Curator: Collections at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin. Prior to this she was Curatorial Assistant at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh and Guest co-editor at MAP Magazine. Recent curatorial projects include IMMA Collection: Ghosts From the Recent Past; Archive 1990s – From Edge to Centre, and IMMA’s 30th Anniversary exhibition showcasing newly acquired performance works as part of a museum-wide presentation of the Collection. 


    Henry McGhie founded Curating Tomorrow in 2019 to help museums and their partners enhance their contributions to creating a sustainable future. He recently published guides for museums that include Action for Climate Empowerment and Mobilising Museums for Climate Action. Henry was involved in getting museums recognized as key sites for climate change education and action in the workplan for the Paris Climate Change Agreement in 2018 and is a member of the ICOM Sustainability Working Group, the IUCN Commission on Education and Communication, and the Education, Communication and Outreach Stakeholders recognized by UNFCCC. 

  • 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.