Today’s Guest Post is by Henry McGhie*, Head of Collections and Curator of Zoology at Manchester Museum
Hello, I’m looking for your views please.
The Science Centre World Summit will be in Tokyo in November. At the meeting, a Tokyo Protocol will be discussed and ratified, which reaffirms the potential and commitment of global museums and museum networks to support the UN sustainable development agenda, to transform our world by 2030, for the benefit of people, and nature, everywhere.
This programme is based on 17 sustainable development goals; these are just brilliant for museums to connect with, whether locally, globally, or locally and globally. More information can be found here
If you click on the icons you get more information, and detailed targets. So, for museums with natural heritage collections, for example, some obvious links would be:
- 4.7 – By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development
- 11.4 – Strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage
- 12.8 – By 2030, ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature
- 13.3 – Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning
Any museum could find something to connect with among the 135-odd targets, and indeed it could be very fruitful to connect different types of museums and networks together to create new opportunities for people to explore sustainable futures.
The full Protocol can be found here
I’m interested to hear people’s initial responses to this. Is this the kind of thing you and your museums are interested in supporting/connecting with? Beyond time and money, what support would you need to do so ?
I’m doing a couple of talks at the summit and it would be great to hear that at least some people are on board with this, or that this is something that they would be interested in progressing, or what concerns would need to be addressed. No names or organisations would be mentioned in the presentations, and just a very short reply will be fine.
My personal feeling, beyond being very, very supportive of the initiative, is that
it’s important to recognise that most people don’t think scientifically (yes, it’s true) – and that while the evidence and information may be derived from science, transferring that into action will not be achieved by more and more facts, depressing information, or telling people what they should do. We need to connect the science with what people care about themselves, what motivates them and inspires them.
This isn’t about diluting the science, but deploying it effectively to help people always move forwards.
If inspiration is the feeling that moves us to action, our job is to help people feel (and hold onto) that feeling, and enable them to act on it beyond our four walls.
Some aspects of the Tokyo Protocol:
- Investigate how to engage even more effectively with local communities and increasingly diverse audiences, and keep the focus on gender differences in engagement.
- Continue taking actions that have a positive global impact and that will make people everywhere more aware of the opportunities that science and technology hold for the sustainable advancement of humankind.
- Draw the attention of decision makers and the media to the essential role of public engagement with science and technology by setting up high-profile global activities.
- Endeavour to leverage the position of science centres as “trusted” places to introduce the public to new technological solutions and sustainable technologies, and to broaden the potential use of these solutions.
- Take the lead in developing the best methods for engaging learners and optimizing their education in both formal and informal settings using appropriate technologies in widely varying contexts.
- Engage the public more directly with research, using this engagement to help empower people, broaden attitudes and ensure that the work of universities and research institutions is relevant to society and to wider social concerns on a global scale.
- Work together in a creative celebration of the International Science Centre Year 2019, encouraging people throughout the world to take part in shared experiences relating to science and technology and society.
* Henry McGhie is Head of Collections and Curator of Zoology at Manchester Museum, part of the University of Manchester. He wants to find ways for museums to effectively support people to engage with the natural environment, and to create opportunities to discuss and shape the future we want for ourselves and others.