In my experience, cultural and climate sectors can at times, feel impenetrably exclusive. Are you educated enough, expert enough, activist enough? Probably not and, as I quickly realised, you don’t need to be.
With no previous climate experience, I’ve had quite the climate journey over the last two years - sparked into action with an accidental ticket to the Museums Association Conference in Brighton in 2019. Activism was in the air.
Two sessions stood out. The Cornwall Museums Partnership discussed a selection of manageable, collaborative actions taken to reduce carbon impact and waste across their museums. The other session delivered by Historic Environment Scotland and National Trust for Scotland, shared how technology was transforming conservation work on Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Hill House at Helensburgh. Both sessions demonstrated the power of partnerships.
Inspired, Museums Galleries Scotland (MGS) prioritised the development of climate partnerships with those already active in the space. Pluckily pitching in with limited climate expertise, but a clear understanding of our strengths and what we could bring to these collaborations, has enabled MGS to participate and fund some fantastic climate activity.
This includes the Climate Beacons for Cop26 project with Creative Carbon Scotland and Creative Scotland, and, more broadly, our evolving role advocating for the power of culture in climate action with other publicly funded cultural organisations in Scotland as part of the Scottish National Culture for Climate Group.
Aligning with the MA Climate Campaign, the group is working together to identify and bring visibility to resources in Scotland’s cultural climate "toolbox", amplifying our voice and the role of Scotland’s museums in climate action.
Rachael Rowley is head of resources at MGS and a member of the MA’s climate advisory group