One of the questions posed to the attendees was the notion about sharing how museums and galleries operate sustainably and the type of information shared with the public. Most organisations represented had sustainability policies, however far fewer had a document or information that can be viewed. If I could pick one thing to take back to my line managers is how we share our sustainability policies at work with visitors; to encourage positive dialogue and engender support for the way we work.
Sharing sustainable practice. Sustainable Exhibitions for Museums.
Zoe Louizos, Exhibitions Manager, V&A and Nadine Loach, Registrar, Science Museum Group
SEFM (Sustainable Exhibitions For Museums) began in early 2000s as a collaborative network and a proactive think tank promoting sustainable practice. Collaboration was a prominent feature and it was was so useful to get perspective of two organisations with Nadine and Zoe giving an engaging and interactive presentation.
Environmental sustainability in a museum should extend through all the organisations activities and is everyones responsibility. It should also hold equal power when making decisions for an organisation.
It is about creating high quality exhibitions whilst reducing the carbon footprint and impact upon the environment from climate control to exhibition build. I liked the questions being asked of us in terms of what does sustainability mean to you personally, for your role and the organisation you work for.
Public knowledge and opinion is well formed and this should influence the way we work, in striving to improve our carbon footprint and also the relevance of museums in society today and in the future.
A very interesting blog “Curating Tomorrow” by Henry McGhie is well worth checking out and he has literally today as I type just published a post with some great signposts to further information as well as lessons learnt by the sector: https://curatingtomorrow236646048.wordpress.com/2020/02/21/getting-ready-for-cop26-lessons-learnt-and-best-practices-by-global-museums-addressing-climate-change/
Also this week, a meeting was held to re-launch SEFM, although I wasn’t able to attend, I’m really excited to hear about the outcomes of the meeting. The network has a website: www.sustainable-exhibitions.co.uk It’s worth taking a look at and long term will be a vital component for sharing information across the sector.
The challenge is to look at how we can gain maximum benefit from the networks support in creating the momentum essential for positive debate and generating practical solutions. As a sector, I think we need to be quite daring in our actions and I believe the support of SEFM and museum colleagues is crucial to individual organisations. The means by which the information is disseminated is also critical. There is the potential to extend beyond a Museum and London centric focus and I think to achieve this would broaden the range of organisations, increasing the benefit to the environment.
The overarching theme of sustainability has really hit home for me as an individual. I thought I was a pretty green person, recycling where I can. Post meeting I feel that simply doesn’t go far enough and we have both individual and collective responsibility to do more, think and act differently.
Contact details for Nadine and Zoe:
Nadine Loach, Registrar, Science Museum Group [email protected]
Zoe Louizos, Exhibitions Manager, V&A [email protected]