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Manchester Museum partnership launches first ever sector-specific Carbon Literacy toolkit

Climate Control exhibition, Manchester Museum 2016. Photograph by G Gardner

The Carbon Literacy toolkit – launching on 24 January 2022 – is part of Roots & Branches, a unique environmentally driven partnership project between Manchester Museum, part of The University of Manchester, Museum Development North West (MDNW) and The Carbon Literacy Project.

Its launch 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.

The project will provide the opportunity over the next two years for 1,500 museum professionals and volunteers to participate in training and certify as Carbon Literate.

It will also include 300 museums developing organisational pledges to act against climate change. The foundational work will be supporting staff, volunteers and partners to build more understanding and awareness and take positive, informed climate action and decisions.

Access to toolkit

All museums in the UK will be able to access the toolkit for free from 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.

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 – starting in March – shared between Manchester Museum and The Carbon Literacy Project.


“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,” said Esme Ward, Director of Manchester 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.”

Arts Council-supported

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.

“Carbon Literacy helps cultural organisations unify their desire to act on climate, and their role as cultural institutions,” said Dave Coleman, Managing Director of The Carbon Literacy Project.

“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.”

Places for the launch can be booked on eventbrite.

About the author – Adrian Murphy

Adrian is the Editor of MuseumNext and has 20 years’ experience as a journalist, half of which has been writing for the cultural sector.

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