Museum and culture professionals across the UK participated in last Friday’s historic Global Climate Strike, when four million people around the world took to the streets to demand urgent action to tackle climate breakdown.
From London to Liverpool, Cardiff to Aberdeen, workers from institutions such as Tate, National Museums Liverpool, the Museums Association (MA) and many more took part in the walkout.
The Justice Museum in Nottingham acted as a starting point for the march in the city, giving hundreds of protestors access to its Make it Yours space to paint their banners and placards. The strike will shape and inform a co-produced exhibition at the museum next year.
The Peace Museum in Bradford set up a stall in the city park to help young people attending the strike make protest badges. Amgueddfa Pontypridd (Pontypridd Museum) hosted a banner-making workshop and interviewed protestors for its oral history collection. It is also planning to collect material from the strike when it’s no longer in use.
The ONCA Gallery in Brighton, which is hosting the Climate Museum UK's first ever exhibition as part of the MA conference next week, ran a number of workshops to tie in with the strike.
Amgueddfa Genedlaethol Caerdydd (National Museum Cardiff) became a focal point of the strike in the Welsh capital, with thousands of marchers gathering at its steps for a rally. Ahead of the strike, Amgueddfa Cymru (National Museum Wales) became the latest cultural institution to declare a global climate and ecological emergency.
Many museums changed their displays in solidarity with the strike. Manchester Museum’s T Rex, “Stan”, was cloaked in black for the day – inspired by Bristol Museum, which shrouded endangered animals in black veils to highlight mass extinction earlier this year.
Aberdeen University Museums highlighted the birds at risk of extinction in its exhibition of art by the US naturalist John James Audubon. The Museum of Cardiff placed protest signs among its displays drawing attention to mass extinction and rising sea levels.
The Global Climate Strike kicked off a week of action that comes to an end on Friday 27 September, when culture professionals in London are planning on staging another rally on Trafalgar Square co-organised by Culture Declares Emergency.
The Rally for the Imagination, which kicks off at 2pm, will hear from speakers including the Green Party MP Caroline Lucas and the environmental lawyer Farhana Yamin – who is also a keynote speaker at next week’s MA conference.
Culture Declares Emergency is organising the free Festival of Change at this year's Museums Association Conference & Exhibition. The festival takes place on 3 and 4 October at the Brighton Centre. Delegates can also visit Climate Talks, the Climate Museum UK's first ever exhibition, at the ONCA Gallery as part of the third-day tours on 5 October