Catherine Ince, Lucia Pietroiusti, Camilla Tham & Nick Merriman. Organised by Jessica Reynolds and Lily Jencks (Experimental Unit 13)
Culture in Climate Change: How should Museums act in the Environmental Emergency?
Date: Thursday 20 February 2020
Venue: AA Lecture Hall
The environmental emergency demands a total transformation of our culture. Museums and galleries are critical in instigating this new cultural discourse that responds to climate change, environmental emergency, and species extinction. How can the museum and art world evolve to cultivate these conversations and create long-term thinking about our future, catalysing us into collective action, guiding us towards a new cultural paradigm, and interrogating the ethical, social and political implications of the Anthropocene? Museums are amongst the most environmentally conditioned spaces that we design: climate controlled vitrines inside climate controlled gallery spaces inside climate controlled buildings. How can we rethink the museum so that it not only minimises its own environmental impact, but so that it also embeds ecological thinking deeply into its design, display and discourse?
This is a roundtable event, with speakers from London’s most high profile cultural institutions, including The Serpentine Gallery and the V&A East. They will debate the role of museums and art spaces in the environmental crisis, and discuss strategies both from a practical perspective - what real changes are being made to the way institutions are being designed and operated– and from a discourse perspective – through curatorial programming, research and educational outreach. This event is organised by Experimental Unit 13, led by Jessica Reynolds and Lily Jencks.
Catherine Ince is Chief Curator of the V&A East Project as part of the Victoria and Albert Museum, which comprises a new O’Donnell &Tuomey Architects-designed museum and a new Collection Research Centre by Diller, Scofidio + Renfro. V&A East will open in 2023 as part of East Bank, a major new cultural and education district planned for the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London. She previously worked at the Barbican Art Gallery, where she curated 'The World of Charles and Ray Eames' (2015) and 'Bauhaus: Art As Life' (2012). She regularly contributes to books, journals and online media about twentieth century and contemporary visual and material culture, and has lectured widely in the United Kingdom and internationally.
Lucia Pietroiusti is Curator of General Ecology at the Serpentine Galleries, London, as well as the curator of Sun & Sea (Marina), the Lithuanian Pavilion at the 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, awarded by the Golden Lion. At Serpentine, Pietroiusti founded and curates the long-term ‘General Ecology’ project for Serpentine (2018-ongoing) dedicated to the implementation of ecological principles throughout all of the Galleries’ exhibitions and programmes. Recent projects include The Shape of a Circle in the Mind of a Fish series (with Filipa Ramos) and Microhabitable (with Fernando García-Dory). Forthcoming publications include More-than-Human, co-edited with Andrés Jaque and Marina Otero Verzier.
Nick Merriman has been CEO of the Horniman since May 2018. He has refocused the organisation to take advantage of its position as the only museum in London where nature and culture can be seen together. Before that he was Director of the Manchester Museum, where he focused its mission on promoting understanding between cultures and working towards a sustainable world, and oversaw the refurbishment of most of the Museum’s permanent galleries. Previously Nick was Director of Museums and Collections, and Reader in Museum Studies, at University College London for eight years. The Horniman recently launched a Climate and Ecology Manifesto, outlining their platform for action to mitigate against the climate emergency by putting the environment at the heart of their mission, programming and collections.
Jessica Reynolds is a unit master of Experimental 13 at the AA. She is a director at London-based vPPR Architects, which investigates the continual crossover between art and architecture in residential and cultural projects. She is a founder of the Architecture Exchange, a platform that fosters debate between architecture and philosophy. She studied at Cambridge University and Princeton University.
Lily Jencks is a unit master of Experimental 13 at the AA. She is the founder of JencksSquared and LilyJencksStudio, which looks at how content-driven forms can create strong identities for meaningful public interaction through architecture, landscape and interior projects in the UK and abroad. She studied at Columbia University and holds a master’s degree in Architecture and Landscape Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania.
Image: Reflections of the Natural History Museum, by Lily Jencks
All lectures are open to members of the public, staff and students unless otherwise stated.