Rainbow collage by Bridget McKenzie

About this post

It’s more than a post! It’s an experiment in contemporary collecting, responding to the emerging Covid-19 pandemic. As a collaborative and evolving document about a current issue, it is helping inform our enquiry into Digital Commons Collecting. Although published in March it was regularly updated until August 2020, and some additions are still being made.

We in the Climate Museum UK team are sharing our findings and inviting your contributions as we consider: what is the relationship between the Covid-19 pandemic and the climate & ecological emergency?

This is a summary of what we’ve achieved and what there is still to do, through our Stories of Extraction project, enabled by the Activist Museum Award. The call is out for the second year of this Award, and we wish the next awardees the best of luck. It has been a pleasure working with the University of Leicester, and the fellow awardees. We’d also like to offer respect and gratitude to Bob Janes for initiating and supporting this award. Thank you!

First, who are we?

We are Climate Museum UK, a very new mobile and digital museum stirring & collecting responses to the…

Labelling our nation’s heritage

This is an attempt to take a red pen to the whole of Oliver Dowden’s piece in the Telegraph, We Won’t Allow Britain’s Heritage to be Cancelled, published on 15th May 2021. Oliver Dowden is secretary of state for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and plays a lead role in an attack against pluralist and decolonising moves in the Cultural sector.

I am proud of our nation’s heritage.

An assertive start, which immediately rankles if you think pride is a sin (and in Christianity, the main faith of our nation’s heritage, it’s the deadliest). …

Flow’s Three Lenses (2021 version)

This is a bird’s eye view of current drivers for change, to inform future planning for any organisation. It uses our Three Lenses framework as a tool for looking at the context in which your work happens.

We produced this full analysis of future drivers for change in early 2020. This below is a summary that takes into account COVID-19 and other drivers for change in 2021.

Environment: Breached planetary limits

  • Zoonotic pandemics

COVID-19 now, with emerging variants. More pandemics are possible in future.

See this substantial collection of points on how COVID-19 is part of the ecological crisis

  • Biodiversity loss

See UN report…

At a recent Museums Association seminar on how museums could respond to the climate emergency, Miranda Massie, of The Climate Museum (New York), talked about how if we fully processed the realities of the emergency we would be so adrenalised all the time that we wouldn’t be able to communicate without aggression. She believes that in order to carry out evidence-based hope, or truth-telling for change, we have to build community. Bonds, rituals and beneficial processes are vital between people to allow us to process what is unfolding.

I found this really helpful. It raises questions for museums and other…

This is a reflection on my experience of the enlightening and practical course, Tools for a Regenerative Renaissance.

Kenau Simonsdochter Hasselaer en haar metgezellen

TFRR is run by Phoebe Tickell (whose work on Moral Imaginations is inspiring for mine on Possitopian futures) and Stephen Reid (a co-operative technologist and cultural changemaker). The course stood out amongst the welter of online offers responding to the planetary crisis variously through culture, care, technology, science, practical work and activism, because it promised to bring all these together. It certainly delivered, or at least provides masses of raw material for learning to emerge if participants continue to use the material…

What are eco-capacities, and why are they so important? What do they have to do with separation and reconnection?

I recently wrote this piece about Future-facing Vocations, concluding that the existential threat to young people and future generations should drive all decision-making, and so therefore young people should be involved in genuine ways and empowered to contribute to system change to sustain life on the planet. This means, at root, helping them to develop the capacities to be adaptive system changers, and giving them agency to reject the status quo.

Now this piece offers a framework for how we might…

What do you do after declaring a climate and ecological emergency?

What can cultural organisations and practitioners do that will make a difference?

In Climate Museum UK, we were one of the first organisations to sign up to Culture Declares Emergency, and I’ve been involved since the start in crafting its resources and messages. As part of this work I’ve proposed a framework called Culture Takes Action. This is like a menu for a broad and balanced action plan for declaring organisations, and it’s also a collecting project for our museum. If the whole international declaring community pools their stories and data, we can produce a dashboard of change. Declaring emergency…

This year time has stretched out like elastic to make this the longest year in memory, yet seen from another angle has sprung back to make it feel as short as three months. I thought I would go back over that elastic year and put some pins in it to get a proper grasp on how it felt, what happened and what I achieved. It could be a tale of two years, the one that actually happened and the one that was supposed to happen, but I think I’ll focus on the reality.


In my role with Flow Associates, I…

I’ve been thinking about how the education system — formal and informal — needs to seriously rethink how to prepare young people for an increasingly uncertain future. It’s been clear for a long time that the Earth crisis should be a major driver for some essential shifts in education, training and vocational pathways. The view is starting to sharpen up.

The zoonotic pandemic, as a symptom of Earth crisis, has come as an incredibly disruptive driver this year, creating an opportunity to review our frames of normal. For example, if we can and must work from home why don’t we…


Director of Flow & Climate Museum UK: cultural consultant, researcher, creative curator, educator. Green, European, Climate activist, Eco-feminist, Anti-racist.

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