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Roots & Branches - Campaign to support Carbon Literate museums launches

17 Jan 2022

The first ever museum sector-specific Carbon Literacy toolkit will launch on 24 January 2022. This is a part of Roots & Branches, a unique environmentally driven partnership project between Manchester Museum, part of The University of Manchester, Museum Development North West and The Carbon Literacy Project.

Carbon Literacy Training launches for museum-sector

Over two years, 1,500 museum professionals and volunteers will participate in training and certify as Carbon Literate. This is foundational work supporting staff, volunteers and partners to build more understanding and awareness and take positive, informed climate action and decisions. The project will also see 300 museums developing organisational pledges to take action against climate change.

All museums in the UK will be able to access the toolkit for free from the 24 January via The Carbon Literacy Project website. For people working and volunteering in accredited non-national museums in England, there will be opportunities to attend free Carbon Literacy courses delivered by regional Museum Development providers. There will also be additional support to help museums roll out the training to staff through Train the Trainer workshops.

The launch of the toolkit follows the first-ever Carbon Literacy Action Day, organised by The Carbon Literacy Project, which coincided with the first day of the UN COP26 negotiations in Glasgow at the end of 2021.

Roots & Branches is supported with £136,750 of Arts Council England National Lottery Project Grant funding and aims to accelerate the museum sector’s ability to respond to the climate crisis.

The ‘branches’ of the project represents an environmentally aware and active museums sector, giving museums the tools to respond to environmental sustainability and climate change.

Manchester Museum will host the ‘roots’ of the project by creating a nationally significant co-working hub of cultural environmental action that will bring together museum staff, educators, environmentalists, artists, researchers, third sector organisations and students. This is being coordinated by an innovative new post, Environmental Action Manager, shared between Manchester Museum and The Carbon Literacy Project.

Esme Ward, Director of Manchester Museum:

“Sustainability has always been a core part of Manchester Museum’s work and we are proud to be the world’s first Carbon Literate museum. It is increasingly difficult to ignore the inequalities in our society, including those created by the climate crisis, and this unique partnership between Manchester Museum, MDNW and The Carbon Literacy Project is passionate about the role that museums can and should play in addressing this. The launch of this toolkit is critical in developing a museum sector that supports ecological thinking and action and inspires change and cooperation.”

Dave Coleman, Managing Director of The Carbon Literacy Project:

“Carbon Literacy helps cultural organisations unify their desire to act on climate, and their role as cultural institutions. Museums and galleries have become increasingly aware of their climate impacts within the climate crisis, but also increasingly aware of the huge opportunity they have to use their existing assets to communicate on climate as well as culture. Carbon Literacy is the first step on that journey, and the launch of the Carbon Literacy Toolkit for Museums and Galleries makes it even easier for cultural institutions to join in. The Carbon Toolkit is a catalyst for organisations that are already places of education and entertainment to deliver vital societal messages addressing climate change, at the same time as vital societal messages addressing culture.”