Climate Change and the Museum

Decolonizing and Decarbonizing Parallels and Consequences

in Museum Worlds
Author:
David C. Harvey Associate Professor, Aarhus University, Denmark

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Abstract

Recent years have seen an increasing prominence of anthropogenic climate change issues within museums. While climate change itself has become a central theme for many exhibitions, some museums are, themselves, under threat from climate change. Within many industrial museums, however, there has been surprisingly little critical self-reflection, leaving themes of climate change both central and unsaid. Developing cases studies of Ironbridge Gorge (Shropshire, UK) and Heartlands (Cornwall, UK), this essay explores how certain museums have celebrated, often uncritically, the capacity for humans to alter the climate. Drawing parallels with how postcolonial theory has prompted critical self-reflection, the article examines how the climate crisis provides an imperative for museums both to explore their role in climate injustice and to seize a critical opportunity to make a contribution towards sustainable decarbonization. The article, therefore, calls for contemporary museum ambitions towards decolonization to be matched by activities that have an ambition towards decarbonization.

Vignette: Surviving the Storm—New Realities in the Anthropocene

December 2013: A storm surge in Roskilde Fjord, Denmark, inundated the world-famous Viking Ship Museum. Dramatic photographs circulated on national and international media as sea water swamped through the museum café, boatyard, and surrounding buildings. The water level rose more than two meters higher than usual, overcoming the barricades and sandbags placed to protect the main ship gallery. The lower windows cracked, sea water leaked in, but as pumping teams worked through the night, the tenth century Viking ships were saved. In the days following, the museum's director, Tinna Damgård-Sørensen, outlined the challenge facing the museum, describing the work needed “to secure the building against climate changes that can come in the future.”

January 2022: As Storm Malik hit Denmark from the northwest, forecasts predicted that the area around the Viking Ship Museum would be affected by water levels not seen since the 2013 event. Emergency Plan 4 was put into action. As Tom Nicolajsen (leader of the museum's Emergency Planning Group) explained: “This time, we're putting out watertubes the whole way round the Museum Island, around the Viking Ship Hall, and out towards the Fjord. We'll be using two layers of watertubes.” The new system worked, as a press release from Environment Solutions ApS (the company that owns the NoFloodTM technology) reported: “The deployment was successful, as no damages were reported.”

On the face of it, museums are increasingly under pressure to protect valuable heritage assets from the threat of anthropogenic climate change. Heritage, in this sense, usually refers to physical objects that are ascribed value deemed worthy enough to invoke a societal desire to pass on to future generations. Concomitantly, climate change is usually seen as an external factor, which threatens heritage to a degree that causes concern that valuable heritage might be lost unless something is done to protect it. Put simply, “for the sake of our children and grandchildren” (to use an oft-coined phrase of politicians) we, as a society, need to safeguard physical heritage that is vulnerable to ongoing climate change. Technical solutions must be found and adaptations made to save heritage from existential threat. The Roskilde Viking Ship Museum has the task of protecting the remains of the Viking ships in a building that is vulnerable to coastal flooding. The museum deployed NoFlood™ technology, in the form of water-filled tubes, to protect the priceless heritage artifacts from the external threat of climate change.

When one digs a little deeper, however, one finds that the relationship between heritage and climate change is a little more complex. As David C. Harvey and Jim Perry (2015: 3) note, while the threat to heritage sites, artifacts, and ways of life from climate change are clear and pressing, we should also recognize heritage as a critical issue for climate change. Scientific, policy, and popular understandings of climate change develop through experiences, memories, and reconstructions of past events filtered through contemporary institutional and societal contexts. An array of climate facts and models are constructed, interpreted, and deployed in the context of a growing sense of responsibility for our past and ongoing actions, alongside a perceived obligation to future generations—to take care of the connections between past, present, and future “for the sake of our children and grandchildren.” Climate change policies and attitudes, therefore, implicitly operate through a perceived impression of the past, which shapes a contemporary agenda that is geared towards sustaining certain (climate and other) conditions so as to protect valued sites, artifacts, and ways of life for future generations. In simple terms, “all human relationships with climate change operate through a lens of heritage” (Harvey and Perry 2015: 8).

If we accept that popular, scientific, and public policy awareness of climate change is channeled through notions of heritage, and that the human apprehension of climate change itself has a heritage, then this suggests that museums have a larger role to play than simply protecting vulnerable heritage assets from the external threat of climate change (Cameron and Neilson 2014; dal Santo et al. 2023; Hebda 2007). Both in terms of the societal understanding of climate change processes and also through informing public debates to shape a future that is far from certain, therefore, museums have an opportunity to lead debates and make critical interventions. Although it is clear that many museums are taking this opportunity (perhaps a responsibility) forward, developing research, exhibitions, and other public engagement activities, the essential relationship between climate change and museums requires further critical reflection. In particular, while there have been several high-profile controversies with museums accused of involvement in greenwashing, museums also have to deal with certain existential contradictions whereby the carbon economy lies at the heart of so much heritage and museum practice. Although “decarbonization” is often interpreted simply as a practice through which to minimize the direct environmental impact of an institution such as a museum, this article argues that a broader—and more critical—interpretation is required. Paralleling efforts towards “decoloniality,” I would argue that an ambition towards decarbonization ought to go beyond a focus on the minimization of carbon footprints and, instead, should unpack the economic, social, and environmental relations that lie behind the discussions and measurements of carbon footprints.

Drawing on notions of heritage as a present-centered and future-orientated processing of a sense of the past, this article explores the relationship between climate change and museums. While climate change issues are becoming ever more central to museum practices, policies, and exhibitions, the relationship is multifaceted. Museums need to address issues of adaptation and mitigation through which society as a whole can become more resilient within our so-called Anthropocene age, especially within the industrial museums that seem to be so central in the story of the rise of capitalism, but which often somehow sidestep many of the issues of colonialism, reparation, and restitution that are in the public eye (cf. Adley 2023).1 Notwithstanding the encouraging efforts of individual museums, this article argues that a further step is required, that while climate change continues to be framed as an external threat, there is a lack of critical reflection on the politics of climate change and the role that heritage and museums play within this unfolding climate catastrophe.

Using industrial heritage sites as an analytical lens, including Ironbridge Gorge (Shropshire, UK) and Heartlands (Cornwall, UK), the article examines how museums continue to celebrate, often uncritically, the capacity for humans to alter the climate. While Heartlands is a small museum-cum-heritage center (opened in 2012) with a local focus and framing, Ironbridge Gorge is effectively the UK's “national” industrial museum, with about 600,000 visitors per year across its 10 connected museum sites around the eponymous town of Ironbridge in Shropshire. Reflecting on the consequences of perceiving the relationship between museums and climate change as a complex nexus of power, I draw encouragement from parallel debates on the relationship between museums and colonialism to explore the possibilities for museums to become truly critical spaces for open debate, interventions, and activism. While some efforts towards “decoloniality” can sometimes be critiqued as a shorthand metaphor for issues that are only tangentially connected to decolonization (see Tuck and Yang 2012), I feel that the challenges that such an ambition heralds can provide a productive field of investigation. Drawing from Bruno Soares and Anna Leshchenko (2018: 62), we need to acknowledge the ongoing coloniality of power and knowledge alongside a discussion of the legacies of European colonialism in different fields of academic production. Thus, the article underlines how efforts of decarbonization must go hand-in-hand with broader ambitions of decoloniality.

Museums and Climate Change: Protecting, Adapting, Informing, and Responding

The story of how the Roskilde Viking Ship Museum developed a plan through which early medieval Viking ships were protected from climate change seems like a fairly straightforward “good news” story. Certainly, the actions described at Roskilde accord to a range of research that has outlined how we should respond to the vulnerability of certain heritage sites, monuments, and artifacts to anthropogenic climate change, especially sea level rise (e.g., Colette 2007, 2009; Marzeion and Levermann 2014; Perry 2011; Terrill 2008). The problem with these approaches is that they tend to focus on iconic locations and World Heritage Sites (such as Roskilde or Venice, for example), often depending on expensive technological solutions (such as the NoFlood™ technology), and fail to recognize the heritage and climate change nexus in a more nuanced manner. Heritage is reduced to a set of physical attributes that require recording, protection, and even relocation or other remedial attention in the face of the external threat of climate change. According to Werner Krauss (2015: 57), this way of looking at things catalyzes a shift from the reality of heritage sites and artifacts to their virtual lives as symbols—examples of “culture” intended to serve a political argument, support practices of greenwashing, or display the good intentions of stakeholder institutions, such as museums. Drawing from the recent work of Janneke oud Ammerveld (2022), this fits into the heritage endangerment sensibility paradigm, whereby heritage is vulnerable to climate change, and institutions such as museums do not require a fundamental change in practice, but simply need to deploy resources that are necessary to enable a continuation of “business as usual.” Indeed, “business as usual” can even be enhanced through the increased publicity, cultural capital, and sponsorship value that comes with “savior” status.

Of course, many museums are engaging more deeply with the climate emergency than simply protecting their contents from the impending threat of climate change. Although in comparison with other socio-economic sectors, museums comprise only a tiny portion of blame for their direct climate impact, many museums are actively engaged in striving towards carbon neutrality, both in their day-to-day operation (cafés, buildings, and estates), and in their exhibition programming.2 Perhaps more importantly, however, the climate emergency itself is becoming more central as a topic of museum programming, education, and research (for example, Cameron and Neilson 2014).

The climate emergency is perhaps the defining topic of our time, and museums are trusted institutions that have a mission of public education and engagement (Cameron et al. 2013; Hebda 2007). Rather than merely protecting heritage resources, therefore, many museum practices actively seek to mitigate climate change through developing knowledge, changing attitudes, and enhancing societal efforts to address the crisis. In many ways, these museum practices should be recognized along a spectrum of effort, from the provision of basic information about climate change issues, through the endorsement of particular attitudes towards climate change, to the encouragement and championing of particular actions—and even activism—to combat climate change (Sandell and Janes 2019).

At one end of the scale, perhaps, is the British Museum's Arctic: Culture and Climate (2020–21), a temporary exhibition that explored Arctic cultures in a manner that placed climate change as a central threat to vulnerable ways of life.3 Impending climate change forms a central strand of this exhibition's contextualization with its focus on how Indigenous cultures that are in equilibrium with a difficult climate are now facing a new (external) threat to their resilience.4 For a more proactive—even didactic—approach to the topic, the Natural History Museum in London held a temporary exhibition to coincide with the COP26 IPCC Climate Conference, which was held in Glasgow (Autumn 2021). Entitled Our Broken Planet: How We Got Here and Ways to Fix It, this free exhibition comprised 40 selected objects to reveal some of “the consequences of our actions and examine some of the solutions that could help mend our broken planet.”5 Furthermore, London's Science Museum's permanent Energy Revolution gallery (2023) has a mission to “explore the latest climate science and the energy revolution needed to cut global dependence on fossil fuels and achieve the Paris targets to limit global warming to around 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.”6 While a positive ambition to make a small difference is palpable through these efforts, the sense of purpose is blunted through the seeming compromises that often accompany such exhibitions. The British Museum has had much ongoing criticism from activist groups such as “BP or not BP,”7 while the Science Museum has come under intense critical scrutiny following its decision to give Adani (a company that is a major operator of coal mines and coal fired power stations) the naming rights for its Energy Revolution exhibition (Kendall Adams 2021, see also Taylor 2022). Although the Science Museum's former director has resigned from the board and hundreds of school teachers plan to boycott the museum, the museum's present director, Ian Blatchford, advocates an engagement with fossil fuel companies such as Adani or Royal Dutch Shell (Taylor 2022). On the face of it, these connections appear to be a simple case of greenwashing, as museums that are under financial pressure are incorporated into the public relations programs of fossil fuel companies through neo-liberal funding regimes.8 Ian Blatchford of the Science Museum (quoted in Taylor 2022) argues that “the right approach is to engage and challenge companies … to make the global economy less carbon intensive,” but critics would argue that the Science Museum's moral authority and high level of public trust is being marketized as a form of cultural capital for the benefit of the carbon economy. Whichever viewpoint one takes, however, the idea of anthropogenic climate change being an external factor remains; museums should (or should not) engage in a critical conversation with fossil fuel companies, but the carbon economy, and the anthropogenic climate change that it represents, is seen as operating separately to activities across the museum sector. This situation is darkly ironic, considering that industrialization and the rise of the carbon economy is central at so many museums.

Anthropocene Heritage at the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site

Ironbridge Gorge, or “Coalbrookdale,” in the West Midlands (UK) was the first place in the world in which iron production using a blast furnace fueled by coking coal (rather than charcoal) was carried out on an industrial scale (Hayman and Horton 2009).9 Inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage list in 1986, Ironbridge Gorge has been given the Western-centric tagline of being The Birthplace of the Industrial Revolution.10 It was here, one could say, that the industrial revolution was literally forged. And so, it is here, one could argue, that the central heritage narrative of the anthropocentric capacity to affect climate is celebrated. Ironbridge Gorge is one of the world's key sites in the heritage of anthropogenic climate change, with its eponymous bridge, constructed in 1779, the world's first structure built entirely of iron (Hayman and Horton 2009: 21–41). The iron bridge is the direct grandparent of every bridge, skyscraper, container ship, and apartment block today (see Figure 1). This is the heritage of the carbon economy and the modern world system on display.

Figure 1.
Figure 1.

The Iron Bridge at Ironbridge UNESCO World Heritage Site, Shropshire, UK. Courtesy of the author.

Citation: Museum Worlds 11, 1; 10.3167/armw.2023.110106

One of the central messages of building a bridge made entirely of iron was to show human (and, crucially, British) ingenuity and growing mastery of the world.11 Indeed, the adjacent Tontine Hotel was built at the same time specifically to provide a touristic viewpoint of the awe-inspiring structure; to show off the new technology to prospective buyers and attract tourists who wanted to watch the construction of the iconic industrial triumph of the age. The Iron Bridge was built, therefore, with a specifically heritage purpose in mind and has been attracting tourists for almost 250 years. In other words, it was built to be a ‘heritage attraction’: a site through which to proclaim the transformative power of the industrial system in general, and British engineering in particular, as an inevitable rise towards a technological future. Its very being invokes us to celebrate the power of human action to alter the landscape and environment at will.

Humanity's possession of the shocking power to transform the world can be glimpsed through Philip James de Loutherberg's (1801) famous painting, Coalbrookdale by Night. Depicting the Madeley Hill Furnace (see Figure 2), situated on the hillside next to the bridge, the painting seems both to revel in and be reviled by the power of industrial might.12 Although he made a number of sketches when visiting the site, de Loutherburg's finished painting is (perhaps fittingly) largely a product of the imagination (Hayman and Horton 2009: 50).

Figure 2.
Figure 2.

Madeley Hill Furnace today. Courtesy of the author.

Citation: Museum Worlds 11, 1; 10.3167/armw.2023.110106

Ironbridge is a UNESCO site that is dedicated to the birth of the industrial revolution, which acts as the signal to the birth of the so-called Anthropocene era. It represents a heritage of the here-and-now—a heritage of total human-induced transformation. Through these processual terms, therefore, it is a heritage that prompts the sort of speculation into the future that is at the heart of much climate change science, policy, and popular concern (Harvey and Perry 2015). But such a concern for using the site to explore issues of climate change in a critical manner are almost totally ignored across the museums at Ironbridge. Rather, the tagline of being The Birthplace of the Industrial Revolution heralds a museum experience that is implicitly celebratory of the carbon economy.

At first sight, industrial heritage museums, such as those at Ironbridge, seem the opposite of places like the British Museum. Industrial museums champion the ordinary working lives and experiences of everyday people, people who are often marginalized and written out of the stories told in big museums with famous collections. Indeed, rather than focusing on expensive artwork and artifacts, “shiny jewels” and aesthetically pleasing collections, they tend to valorize mass-produced, cheap, and often ugly objects; showing visible signs of wear and tear, and embodying an authentic connection to ordinary working lives and the mundane (Atkinson 2008). Promoting a deep sense of community, these museums are very “located” (and “local”) in outlook and image (Dicks 2003; Smith 2006). Furthermore, there is some irony that the surge of governmental commitments to the environment has led to the closure of old carbon sites, thus increasing the supply of industrial heritage resources. Often located in areas where investment is much needed, such industrial heritage sites have been a mainstay of state-sponsored development rationale under the guise of social inclusion or “levelling up.” While there has been much critique of how such industrial heritage sites and museums have been used as resources for top-down social management by the state (Crooke 2010; Donnachie 2016; Waterton 2011; Waterton and Smith 2010; Watson and Waterton 2010), there has been comparatively little reflection on the centrality of the carbon economy that lies behind all such sites. Furthermore, drawing on Sharon Macdonald's (2013) notion of past-presencing—a cognitive process of articulating present-day values and hopes for the future, phrased in terms of the past—it is possible to trace how contemporary positive attitudes to the carbon economy can also be implicitly present at such sites. In other words, industrial heritage sites do not just celebrate the history of the carbon economy. Rather, they implicitly (and sometimes explicitly) yearn for a carbon-based future as well.

To take the case of heritage steam railways in the UK, they contribute about £400 million per year to the UK economy (2019), and pride themselves on their authenticity—not merely in terms of visitor experience. Supported by thousands of volunteers, heritage railways are a co-participatory exercise in affective living history, blurring consumer and producer, animating and celebrating the everyday, ordinary, and nameless workers and users of railways in a democratic fashion (HoC-APPGHR 2019). Heritage railways are a multisensory experience of sound, smell, and taste (cf. Cameron et al. 2013). In 2019, Heritage Railway Association (HRA) members used about 35,000 tons of coal per year, and they are concerned about their environmental impact. As a result, heritage railways are working hard to reduce their carbon footprint through a range of efficiency, mitigation, and offset mechanisms. In order to safeguard the future of the heritage railway sector, however, the HRA would also like the UK government to support planning applications by coal mining companies in the UK for extensions of operation as well as a clear statement that the heritage railway industry would be exempt from any environmental legislation that might restrict the use of coal.13 As the House of Commons All-Party Parliamentary Group on Heritage Rail's (HoC-APPGHR 2019: 7) Steaming Ahead report notes, “the railways are Britain's gift to the world.” Within a few lines of this report, therefore, we move from a description of democratic and collaborative community heritage, via a celebration of British historical industrial might, towards a call for maintaining the carbon economy into the future and a throwaway statement of contemporary colonial nostalgia in the euphemistic declaration that railways are Britain's gift to the world.

Notwithstanding either the tiny overall direct impact of heritage railways to anthropogenic climate change, or the ongoing efforts of the HRA to adapt, mitigate, and offset their carbon footprint, one has to recognize that the central theme and essential ingredient of heritage railways is the celebration of the carbon economy. Put plainly, all industrial heritage sites—whether in formal museums, heritage parks, tourist attractions, development initiatives, or simply in the form of preserved locations—are totally connected to anthropogenic climate change. Some sites might acknowledge this more than others, but recognizing the connection is essential, especially considering the ambitions, potential, and perhaps responsibility that the heritage sector has in saying something about the issue. Furthermore, however, I can't help thinking that the elephant in the room within these considerations about industrial/Anthropocene heritage is actually the inherent connection between the carbon economy and colonial pasts and presents. Any heritage sector effort towards decarbonization, therefore, is reliant upon an ambition towards decolonization. This can perhaps be seen in stark form at Heartlands, an industrial heritage site and museum, with World Heritage Site status, in west Cornwall (UK).

Celebrating Cornishness at Heartlands: The Heritage of Industrial Exploitation, Environmental Devastation, and Colonialism

Situated in the heart of the Redruth-Pool-Camborne former mining district of west Cornwall, the Heartlands Mining Museum and industrial heritage park opened in 2012 to celebrate Cornwall's heritage and culture in general, and its mining heritage in particular.14 Heartlands is “the fruition of a long held ambition in the community to redevelop the Pool area of West Cornwall which was left largely untouched following the demise of the tin mining industry and final closure of the mines in 1998, after nearly 400 years of activity.”15 The key moment in the redevelopment of the site was the recognition of the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006.16 Although the indoor soft play area, outdoor adventure playground, and Red River Café, together with it being a conference and wedding venue, are probably bigger audience draws in the 2020s, the mining museum, diaspora gardens, and broad heritage offer remains central to Heartland's self-image.

As one approaches the main buildings from the car park, there is a small artificial channel on the right, lined with red bricks, with an information board imploring the visitor to “Get involved in this interactive water feature representing the river turned red by mine waste” (see Figure 3). It might seem strange to celebrate the heritage of toxic industrial pollution, but as a child, I remember the local rivers running red in the 1970s and 1980s, so for many local people, conjuring the image of a river “turned red with mine waste” is a highly effective and affective means to tap into nostalgia for an industrial past. Being reminded of a time when Cornwall was a major industrial center with a global prominence is further underlined within the Diaspora Gardens, where an information board relates “the poignant story of the Cornish people and their influence on the lands to which they travelled.” Rather than white settlers and colonialists, the Cornish, who travelled around the world developing mining activities for tin and diamonds and gold, are always described simply as a “diaspora,” a people who “rooted happily in foreign lands.” Alongside pictures of much industrial devastation run the words of a poem, which for the section on South Africa, reads: “Offered free passage they prospered; made fortunes mining the Rand gold reef. In many ways, the lack of shame over the scale of environmental and colonial exploitation seems to be underlined in the accompanying information board, which notes that “much of the money earned here was sent home, taking well over a million pounds (vast wealth around 1900) from the South African economy each year” (see Figure 4).

Figure 3.
Figure 3.

View of Heartlands Heritage Site. The ‘Red River’ attraction is on the right. Courtesy of the author.

Citation: Museum Worlds 11, 1; 10.3167/armw.2023.110106

Figure 4.
Figure 4.

Information board. South Africa section of the Diaspora Garden, Heartlands. Courtesy of the author.

Citation: Museum Worlds 11, 1; 10.3167/armw.2023.110106

The essential connection of the carbon economy developing hand-in-hand with the colonial project is further underlined within the indoor exhibition. In one caption, it is noted that “Cornish mineworkers encountered people from many races, ethnicities, faiths and cultures, as the global mining industry expanded alongside Britain's ascendancy as the world's preeminent power,” further declaring that “as the light infantry of British capital and the aristocracy of mine labour, the Cornish, accused of being clannish, imposed their system of mining and aspired to be in positions of authority” (emphasis in the original). This authority is underlined by a picture of Cecil Rhodes on a visit to a gold mine in Mashonaland, which was managed by a Cornishman, James Morrish. Although one caption vaguely notes how the Cornish “confronted slavery” on some South American and Caribbean mines, the means through which the Cornish maintained their status is clearly recognized within a caption of a photograph, which reads; “Cornish rock drill operator with his two ‘boys,’ 2000 ft underground … Transvaal, c.1905. Cornishmen resisted plans to permit black miners to operate rock drills. This forced white men into supervisory roles, which the Cornish argued reduced their competence and ability as ‘practical all-round miners’” (emphases and expressions as in the original). Thus, the central role that Cornish miners took in the development of the Apartheid system in South Africa is nodded to by implication, as a seemingly natural desire not to lose the cultural capital that comes with the reputation of being a proper miner.

When explaining the indelible connection between museums and colonialism, Claire Smith (2005: 424) notes how colonial discourse informs the design of museum exhibits through classification, through labelling and through the authority of the metanarrative. Even where museum exhibitions attempt to provide a critical explanation or exposure of colonial histories, and proclaim a commitment to “diversity” and “inclusion,” the legacies of European colonialism remain central to museum practice (Kassim 2017: 1). I would argue that in their determination to celebrate the past efforts of industrial endeavor in Cornwall—an area that continues to be marginalized and disadvantaged within the UK—Heartlands exhibits a worrying sense of what Sumaya Kassim (2017) notes as forgetfulness and fantasy with respect to colonialism.

Heartlands is full of heritage paradoxes. In celebrating the historic ingenuity of the local mining population, the heritage site and museum recount a nostalgic view of how global industrialization and the carbon economy happened. Alongside a certain level of romanticization of industrial blight and pollution, the narration is both deeply located within this vicinity of west Cornwall, and globally networked through stories of diaspora, trade, and, unavoidably, colonial exploitation. Despite the presence of a heritage resource that might be used to explore how uneven power relations, local and global inequalities, and environmental imbalances developed and continue to effect precarity within the Anthropocene, there is actually very little critical reflection within the site, which currently seems to be struggling for a sense of purpose beyond being a state-sponsored development project helicoptered in. Ironically, the strongest sense of purposeful “future making” activity at Heartlands is found in a temporary exhibition about the ambitions of present-day mining companies in Cornwall who are looking to expand their operations. Mirroring Macdonald's (2013) ideas of past-presencing, this installation provides a space for various ongoing projects that “follow on from the Duchy's incredible mining history, and are using new, forward-thinking technologies and innovations to make the industry great again.” Among the companies that are seeking to Make Cornwall Great Again (my emphasis) are Cornwall Resources (Redmoor), Cornish Metals (South Crofty), Cornish Lithium (United Downs), and British Lithium (Roche); each explains how much they are inspired by the heritage of metals mining in Cornwall and the story of how Cornish mining conquered the world to develop their mining operations into the future, both in Cornwall and overseas (and to apply for state funding to support their noble endeavor).

Museums, Colonialism, and the Carbon Economy

When reflecting on the experiences and relationships between the museum sector and the carbon economy, it is difficult not to perceive certain parallels with the museum sector's troubled relationship with colonialism in recent decades (for example, Caradonna 2022; Hall 2005; Kassim 2017; Smith 2005; Soares and Leshchenko 2018; Witcomb 2015). It has long been recognized that museums as they developed in the nineteenth- to twenty-first-centuries are rooted within the same paradigms, assumptions, and framings of power and knowledge that are at the heart of colonialism (Bennett 1995; Hall 2005). While certain moments, such as the bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade in the UK, brought the issue into clearer focus (Smith et al. 2014), the ongoing struggle in many museums across the world having to deal with issues of restitution, for example, have continued to shape the relationship (for example, Hicks 2020). Critical scholarship in recent years has placed colonialism at the heart of modernity; “coloniality is constitutive of modernity” (Quijano 2007: 172). Indelibly connected to modernity, through the colonial project, was the development of the museum, which collected and categorized expropriated knowledge and material as a systematic means of repression (Bennett 1995; and Quijano 2007). “In the beginning, colonialism was a product of systematic repression,” writes Quijano, “while at the same time, the colonizers were expropriating from the colonized their knowledge, especially in mining, agriculture, engineering, as well as their products and work” (Quijano, 2007: 169). Thus, drawing from decolonial thinkers, such as Walter Mignolo and Nick Shepherd, there is no modernity without colonialism.

Just as we see a spectrum of exhibition responses in the way that museums have engaged with climate change—from “education” to “activism”—so we can see a similar spectrum with regard to how museums engage with colonialism. In both cases, therefore, museums have increasingly engaged in difficult subject matter through changing collection strategies and exhibition programming, from paying lip-service to a seemingly fashionable issue, through to supporting critical and purposeful participatory work. Indeed, an increasing public appetite, together with an imperative to engage with issues that are central to humanity's form and future, has increasingly led museums to address issues of both climate change and colonialism within and beyond their walls.17 In both cases, there have been many public controversies and accusations of hypocrisy and double standards. In both cases, there has been a range of responses with varying degrees of success, and an increasing determination to engage in participatory work, and to give voice to those who are deemed marginalized. Rather than a simple story of “equivalence” between the two relationships, however, I can't help thinking that it is colonialism that really lies at the heart of it all, together with an entrenched assumption that museum activity can be disentangled from it.

The inherent connection between colonialism and Anthropocene climate change has been identified for some time (Malm 2013, 2016a, 2016b; Malm and Hornberg 2014). While the Anthropocene narrative portrays the Earth System as being detrimentally affected by the ability of humanity to manipulate global climate, the work of Malm and others has noted how the invocation of a global “humanity” has tended to gloss over the politics and power geometries behind these basic anthropogenic processes. Plainly stated, “the fossil economy was not created nor is it upheld by humankind in general” (Malm and Hornborg 2014: 62). An appeal to an ideal of universalism—of humanity-as-a-whole—has often been used as an excuse by powerful Western museums not to return stolen artifacts, and, so, perhaps it is not surprising that we see the same humanity-as-a-whole becoming a useful straw man on which to blame the current climate crisis. Humanity-as-a-whole avoids the need to ask more difficult questions and can allow business as usual. Thus, while much of the increasingly high-profile scientific writing on the Anthropocene, together with the popular protest movements associated with the climate crisis, tends to accuse people in general, Malm (2016a, 2016b) points the finger squarely at capitalists and colonialists as the ones who really should be in the dock. As oud Ammerveld writes:

Humans have brought about global warming by locating, removing and setting fire to fossil fuels, and that has not happened through somnambulism or haphazard forays: it has been a persistent project through the past few centuries, driven by an everyday agency inscribed within existing social relations and reproducing them anew. (oud Ammerveld, 2022: 62)

In other words, while the climate crisis can be placed at the door of humanity, we need to interrogate the unequal power relations in order to uncover what lurks behind this dark heritage. The implications of Malm's work for museums is that, wherever the Anthropocene is invoked as a topic for an exhibition, it is the broader carbon economy and its umbilical connection to colonialism that must be positioned at the center. In parallel with recent debates over colonialism and postcolonialism, therefore, ambitions towards adaptation to conditions that are perceived to be external, or an appeal towards ideas of mitigation, do not add up to a truly decolonial (or decarbonizing) practice.

Conclusion: Decarbonization and Decoloniality

The projects of decolonization and decarbonization are completely intertwined. While it is easy to be critical of a national players like the British Museum or Science Museum, and a sponsorship deal with a big coal or oil company, however, it is also necessary to look at the more everyday activities, especially at museums where the stories of local communities seem to be central. Indeed, the demands that are implied here, at first sight, appear to be particularly difficult for any museum that specifically celebrates the carbon economy—the industrial museums that often cherish working class and marginalized cultures. While many such museums have traditionally shied away from dealing with inherent colonial legacies, however, perhaps the present climate crisis, and a language of Anthropocene realities, might provide a means through which an imperative towards decarbonization can be allied with a deeper and ongoing decolonial commitment. Rather than merely “protecting heritage from (external) climate change,” this imperative requires us to think through what heritage (and climate change) are and what they do, and opens up a route through which interventions can be made across a broader base. Museums have an undertaking to preserve stuff, and humanity's concern with climate change is completely connected with a sense of responsibility to future generations, but what are the consequences of this?

Colonialism and the carbon economy are two sides of the same coin. Indeed, with specific respect to museums, I would not be surprised if the technological expertise and funding that is required to protect “universal heritage” from anthropogenic climate change will be deployed in the near future as a further reason why certain museums will seek to keep stolen artifacts. Consequently, in recognizing the position of museums within issues and debates on climate change, the centrality of colonialism becomes ever clearer. Museums correspond to a network of responsibility, through which publics are actively engaged rather than just “informed,” and where a sense of locality is deepened through understanding the global connections that underlie that sense of place (Massey 2005).

Clearly, it is a case that museums need to respond to the climate crisis. I would argue, however, that the implications of this reach beyond the ambition towards educating the public about climate change issues and even beyond the active cultivation of more environmentally friendly attitudes of the public. As positive as each of these practices are, all of them are predicated upon an assumption that museums can somehow stand separately from the climate emergency. Rather than merely protecting treasures from sea level rise or promoting measures to reduce carbon footprints as mitigation against climate change, museums need to explore how it is that their very being is founded upon the carbon economy—and that this carbon economy is inextricably connected to coloniality. In other words, wholly written through the relationship between museums and climate change is the specter of colonialism. It all comes back to colonialism.

Responding to a need to give voice to the marginalized, and support efforts for social justice, therefore, there is an imperative for museums to address issues of climate change through critical exhibitions and public engagement (such as through the Reimagining Museums for Climate Action initiative), but this must always be wholly connected with efforts towards decoloniality. Drawing from Nick Shepherd's (2020) work on the “grammar” of decoloniality, there is an imperative to think “from elsewhere,” to “learn how to unlearn,” and to go against the grain in a world that has space for other forms of knowledge. With regard to industrial heritage sites, perhaps we need to re-think what “progress,” “technology,” “trade,” and “industry” (and especially the industrial revolution) actually mean.18 While industrial heritage sites and museums might seem to be in a difficult situation with regard to their relationship with anthropogenic climate change, I believe that they also have an opportunity—dare I say a responsibility—to address these central concerns in a creative manner. Indeed, rethinking adjectives such as local, marginalized and working class, when they are connected to the word “community,” might open up a space that can be open to both decarbonization and decolonialisation.

Notes

1

By “industrial museum,” I am referring to museums connected with the political-economic and social changes associated with the “industrial revolution” of the modern era, focusing on (for example,) mining, metalworking, transport, automotive, and energy (oil, coal, gas) sectors. Industrial museums sit amidst a constellation of (urban) planning, architectural, conservation, and development discourses (Oevermann and Mieg, 2015).

2

Notwithstanding the fact that many museums around the world have signed up to ambitious targets of carbon reduction, I am sure that spacious exhibition halls must have a relatively large carbon footprint, especially in connection with “blockbuster” shows, which also often involve large-scale logistical exercises. Many museums also have the added complication of being housed within a “heritage building” that might well be difficult to make carbon neutral.

3

British Museum website: Exhibitions https://www.britishmuseum.org/exhibitions/arctic-culture-and-climate (accessed 22 June 2023).

4

See the curator's introduction: “Artic culture and climate,” British Museum website: https://www.britishmuseum.org/exhibitions/arctic-culture-and-climate#explore-arctic (accessed 22 June 2023). Some museums have become wholly dedicated to delivering a message of environmental sustainability in the context of the Anthropocene—see, for instance, Catalonia's science museum Cosmo-Caixa: https://cosmocaixa.org/es/ (accessed 22 June 2023).

5

“Our Broken Planet,” Natural History Museum London website: https://www.nhm.ac.uk/visit/our-broken-planet.html (accessed 22 June 2023).

6

“Energy Revolution: Adani Green Energy Gallery,” Science Museum London website: https://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/see-and-do/energy-revolution-adani-green-energy-gallery (accessed 22 June 2023).

7

BP or Not BP website: https://bp-or-not-bp.org/ (accessed 22 June 2023). This group has led several occupations and allied activities in criticism of the British Museum's attitude to sponsorship.

8

Greenwashing is a phrase used to describe how some institutions and companies develop a narrative of supposedly environmental (“green”) credentials in order to promote themselves more generally, or perhaps to avert attention away from unscrupulous practices. Whether hypocritical or simply connected to seeking a commercial advantage, heritage narratives are often central in such messaging (Miller 2018).

9

“About us: World Heritage site,” Ironbridge website. https://www.ironbridge.org.uk/about-us/world-heritage-site/ (accessed 3 July 2023). The blast furnace is from 1709 and the eponymous Iron Bridge was built in 1779.

10

UNESCO World Heritage list: www.whc.unesco.org/en/list/371 (accessed 22 June 2023).

11

Interestingly, the bridge is basically built using principles and skills of carpentry (a “wooden” bridge made of cast iron), since without knowledge of solder or rivets, no one knew how to build an iron bridge.

12

The Madely Hill Furnace was also known as the ‘Bedlam Furnace’, a knowing reference to the gates of Hell, to chaos and madness.

13

Paragraphs 81 and 86 of the Steaming Ahead Report (HoC-APPGHR 2019).

14

Heartlands Cornwall website: https://www.heartlandscornwall.com/ (accessed 22 June 2023).

15

Heartlands Trust website: https://doit.life/organisation/5261/profile (accessed 22 June 2023). Around £35 million was raised in total, £22 million from Big Lottery Fund, with the remainder mostly from European and County Council funds.

16

Cornish Mining website: https://www.cornishmining.org.uk/; UNESCO World Heritage list: https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1215/ (accessed 22 June 2023).

17

For instance, the connection between climate change and coloniality emerged as a theme within the Reimagining Museums for Climate Action initiative. See: Museums for Climate Change website: https://www.museumsforclimateaction.org/ (accessed 22 June 2023).

18

See, for instance, David Graeber and David Wengrow's (2020) suggestion to re-think terms like “agriculture” (and especially “agricultural revolution”) within a prehistoric context.

References

  • Adley, Esther. 2023. “British Museum Ends BP Sponsorship Deal After 27 Years.The Guardian, 2 June. https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2023/jun/02/british-museum-ends-bp-sponsorship-deal-after-27-years.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Atkinson, David. 2008. “The Heritage of Mundane Places.” In Ashgate Research Companion to Heritage and Identity, ed. Brian Graham and Peter Howard, 381395. Aldershot: Ashgate.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bennett, Tony. 1995. The Birth of the Museum: History, Theory, Politics. London: Routledge.

  • Cameron, Fiona R., Robert Hodge, and Juan F. Salazar. 2013. “Representing Climate Change in Museum Space and Places.” WIREs Climate Change 4 (1): 921.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cameron, Fiona R. and Brett Neilson, eds. 2014. Climate Change and Museum Futures. London: Routledge.

  • Caradonna, Vittoria. 2022. “‘All the Things Happening Outside the Museum Push Me Back In’: Thinking Through Memory and Belonging in Amsterdam's Tropenmuseum.” International Journal of Heritage Studies 28 (1): 5973.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Colette, Augustin. 2007. Climate Change and World Heritage: Report on Predicting and Managing the Impacts of Climate Change on World Heritage and Strategy to Assist States Parties to Implement Appropriate Management Responses. Paris: UNESCO World Heritage Centre.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Colette, Augustin. 2009. Case Studies on Climate Change and World Heritage. Paris: UNESCO World Heritage Centre.

  • Crooke, Elizabeth. 2010. “The Politics of Community Heritage: Motivations, Authority and Control.” International Journal of Heritage Studies 16 (1–2): 1629.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dal Santo, Raul, Nunzia Borrelli, and Peter Davis, eds. 2023. Ecomuseums and Climate Change. Milan: Ledi Publishing.

  • Dicks, Bella. 2003. “Heritage, Governance and Marketization: A Case-Study from Wales.” Museum and Society 1 (1): 3044.

  • Donnachie, Ian. 2016‘Anything You Want It To Mean?’ Scotland's Changing Heritage Landscape.” In Heritage and Tourism in Britain and Ireland, ed. Glenn Hooper, 145160. London: Routledge.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Graeber, David and David Wengrow. 2020. The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity. London: Allen Lane.

  • Hall, Stuart. 2005. “Whose heritage? Unsettling ‘the heritage’, re-imagining the post-nation.” In The Politics of Heritage: the Legacy of Race, ed. Jo Littler and Roshi Naidoo, 23-35. London: Routledge.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Harvey, David C. and Jim Perry. 2015. “Heritage and Climate Change: The Future Is Not the Past.” In The Future of Heritage as Climates Change: Loss, Adaptation and Creativity, ed. David C. Harvey and Jim Perry, 321. London: Routledge.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hayman, Richard and Wendy Horton. 2009. Ironbridge: History and Guide. Stroud, Gloucestershire: History Press.

  • Hebda, Richard J. 2007. “Museums, Climate Change and Sustainability.” Museum Managament and Curatorship 22 (4): 329336.

  • Hicks, Dan. 2020. Brutish Museums: The Benin Bronzes, Colonial Violence and Cultural Restitution. London: Pluto Press.

  • HoC-APPGHR (House of Commons All-Party Parliamentary Group on Heritage Rail). 2019. Steaming Ahead? Heritage Railways, Coal and the Future of Steam Locomotives in the United Kingdom. House of Commons, UK. https://stickssn.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/APPGHR-Coal-Report.pdf (accessed 3 July 2023).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kassim, Sumaya. 2017. “The Museum Will Not Be Decolonised.” Media Diversified. https://www.mediadiversified.org/2017/11/15/the-museum-will-not-be-decolonised/ (accessed 3 July 2023).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kendall Adams, Geraldine. 2021. “Coal Giant Adani to Sponsor Science Museum's Green Energy Gallery.Museums Journal News—Sponsorship, 19 October. https://www.museumsassociation.org/museums-journal/news/2021/10/coal-giant-adani-to-sponsor-science-museums-green-energy-gallery/.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Krauss, Werner. 2015. “Heritage and Climate Change: A Fatal Affair.” In The Future of Heritage as Climates Change: Loss, Adaptation and Creativity, ed. David C. Harvey and Jim Perry, 4361. London: Routledge.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Macdonald, Sharon. 2013. Memorylands: Heritage and Identity in Europe Today. London: Routledge.

  • Malm, Anders. 2013. “The Origins of Fossil Capital: From Water to Steam in the British Cotton Industry.” Historical Materialism 21 (1): 1568.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Malm, Anders. 2016a. Fossil Capital: the Rise of Steam Power and the Roots of Global Warming. London: Verso Books.

  • Malm, Anders. 2016b. “Who Lit This Fire? Approaching the History of the Fossil Economy.” Critical Historical Studies 3 (2): 215248.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Malm, Anders and Alf Hornberg. 2014. “The Geology of Mankind? A Critique of the Anthropocene ‘Narrative’.” Anthropocene Review 1 (1): 6269.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Marzeion, Ben and Anders Levermann. 2014. “Loss of Cultural World Heritage and Currently Inhabited Places to Sea-Level Rise.” Environmental Research Letters 9 (7).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Massey, Doreen. 2005. For Space. London: Sage.

  • Miller, Toby. 2018. Greenwashing Culture. London: Routledge.

  • Oevermann, Heike and Harald A. Mieg. 2015. “Studying Transformation of Industrial Heritage Sites: Synchronic Discourse Analysis of Heritage Conservation, Urban Development, and Architectural Production.” In Industrial Heritage Sites in Transformation: Clash of Discourses, ed. Heike Oevermann and Harald A. Mieg, 1225. London: Routledge.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • oud Ammerveld, Janneke J. 2022. “What Does Climate Change Change? Understanding Climate Change in the Work of Heritage Government Authorities in England and Sweden” (PhD diss., University College London).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Perry, Jim. 2011World Heritage Hot Spots: A Global Model Identifies the 16 Natural Heritage Properties on the World Heritage List Most at Risk from Climate Change.” International Journal of Heritage Studies 19 (7): 709727.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Quijano, Aníbal. 2007 “Coloniality and Modernity/Rationality.” Cultural Studies 21 (2–3): 168178.

  • Sandell, Richard and Richard Janes, eds. 2019. Museum Activism. New York: Routledge.

  • Shepherd, Nick. 2020. “The Grammar of Decoloniality.” In Colonial and Decolonial Linguistics: Knowledges and Epistemes, ed. Ana Deumert, Anne Storch and Nick Shepherd, 303324. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Smith, Claire. 2005. “Decolonizing the Museum: The National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC.” Antiquity 79 (304): 424439.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Smith, Laurajane. 2006. The Uses of Heritage. London: Routledge.

  • Smith, Laurajane, Geoffrey Cubitt, Kalliopi Fouseki, and Ross Wilson, eds. 2014. Representing Enslavement and Abolition in Museums: Ambiguous Engagements. London: Routledge.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Soares, Bruno B. and Anna Leshchenko. 2018. “Museology in Colonial Contexts: A Call for Decolonisation of Museum Theory.” ICOFOM Study Series 46: 6179.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Taylor, Matthew. 2022. “Hundreds of Teachers Boycott Science Museum Show over Adani Sponsorship.The Guardian, 15 July. https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2022/jul/15/hundreds-of-teachers-boycott-science-museum-over-adani-sponsorship (accessed 3 July 2023).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Terrill, Greg. 2008. “Climate change: how should the world heritage convention respond?.” International Journal of Heritage Studies 14 (5): 388-404.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Tuck, Eve and K. Wayne Yang. 2012. “Decolonization Is Not a Metaphor.” Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education and Society 1 (1): 140.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Waterton, Emma. 2011. “In the Spirit of Self-Mockery? Labour Heritage and Identity in the Potteries.” International Journal of Heritage Studies 17 (4): 344363.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Waterton, Emma and Laurajane Smith. 2010. “The Recognition and Misrecognition of Community Heritage.” International Journal of Heritage Studies 16 (1-2): 415.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Watson, Steve and Emma Waterton. 2011. “Heritage and Community Engagement: Finding a New Agenda.” In Heritage and Community Engagement: Collaboration or Contestation, ed. Emma Waterton and Steve Watson, 111. London: Routledge

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Witcomb, Andrea. 2015. “Thinking About Others Through Museums and Heritage.” In The Palgrave Handbook of Contemporary Heritage Research, ed. Emma Waterton and Steve Watson, 130143. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.

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Contributor Notes

DAVID C. HARVEY is an associate professor in critical heritage studies at Aarhus University, Denmark, and an honorary professor of historical and cultural geography at the University of Exeter. His work has focused on the geographies of heritage, and he has contributed to some key heritage debates, including processual understandings of heritage, extending the temporal depth of heritage, the outlining of heritage-landscape and heritage-climate change relations, and the opening up of hidden memories through oral history. His recent works include The Real Agricultural Revolution: The Transformation of English Farming 1939–1985 (with Paul Brassley et al., 2021), which won the Joan Thirsk Prize (2022); Creating Heritage: Unrecognised Pasts and Rejected Futures (edited with Tom Carter et al., 2020); Commemorative Spaces of the First World War: Historical Geography at the Centenary (edited with James Wallis, 2018); and The Future of Heritage as Climates Change: Loss, Adaptation and Creativity (edited with Jim Perry, 2015). He is on the editorial board of The International Journal of Heritage Studies, and co-edits the Berghahn Book Series Exploration in Heritage Studies. In his spare time, David cycles a lot, plays a bit of football, and struggles to learn Danish.

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Museum Worlds

Advances in Research

  • Figure 1.

    The Iron Bridge at Ironbridge UNESCO World Heritage Site, Shropshire, UK. Courtesy of the author.

  • Figure 2.

    Madeley Hill Furnace today. Courtesy of the author.

  • Figure 3.

    View of Heartlands Heritage Site. The ‘Red River’ attraction is on the right. Courtesy of the author.

  • Figure 4.

    Information board. South Africa section of the Diaspora Garden, Heartlands. Courtesy of the author.

  • Adley, Esther. 2023. “British Museum Ends BP Sponsorship Deal After 27 Years.The Guardian, 2 June. https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2023/jun/02/british-museum-ends-bp-sponsorship-deal-after-27-years.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Atkinson, David. 2008. “The Heritage of Mundane Places.” In Ashgate Research Companion to Heritage and Identity, ed. Brian Graham and Peter Howard, 381395. Aldershot: Ashgate.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bennett, Tony. 1995. The Birth of the Museum: History, Theory, Politics. London: Routledge.

  • Cameron, Fiona R., Robert Hodge, and Juan F. Salazar. 2013. “Representing Climate Change in Museum Space and Places.” WIREs Climate Change 4 (1): 921.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cameron, Fiona R. and Brett Neilson, eds. 2014. Climate Change and Museum Futures. London: Routledge.

  • Caradonna, Vittoria. 2022. “‘All the Things Happening Outside the Museum Push Me Back In’: Thinking Through Memory and Belonging in Amsterdam's Tropenmuseum.” International Journal of Heritage Studies 28 (1): 5973.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Colette, Augustin. 2007. Climate Change and World Heritage: Report on Predicting and Managing the Impacts of Climate Change on World Heritage and Strategy to Assist States Parties to Implement Appropriate Management Responses. Paris: UNESCO World Heritage Centre.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Colette, Augustin. 2009. Case Studies on Climate Change and World Heritage. Paris: UNESCO World Heritage Centre.

  • Crooke, Elizabeth. 2010. “The Politics of Community Heritage: Motivations, Authority and Control.” International Journal of Heritage Studies 16 (1–2): 1629.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dal Santo, Raul, Nunzia Borrelli, and Peter Davis, eds. 2023. Ecomuseums and Climate Change. Milan: Ledi Publishing.

  • Dicks, Bella. 2003. “Heritage, Governance and Marketization: A Case-Study from Wales.” Museum and Society 1 (1): 3044.

  • Donnachie, Ian. 2016‘Anything You Want It To Mean?’ Scotland's Changing Heritage Landscape.” In Heritage and Tourism in Britain and Ireland, ed. Glenn Hooper, 145160. London: Routledge.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Graeber, David and David Wengrow. 2020. The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity. London: Allen Lane.

  • Hall, Stuart. 2005. “Whose heritage? Unsettling ‘the heritage’, re-imagining the post-nation.” In The Politics of Heritage: the Legacy of Race, ed. Jo Littler and Roshi Naidoo, 23-35. London: Routledge.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Harvey, David C. and Jim Perry. 2015. “Heritage and Climate Change: The Future Is Not the Past.” In The Future of Heritage as Climates Change: Loss, Adaptation and Creativity, ed. David C. Harvey and Jim Perry, 321. London: Routledge.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hayman, Richard and Wendy Horton. 2009. Ironbridge: History and Guide. Stroud, Gloucestershire: History Press.

  • Hebda, Richard J. 2007. “Museums, Climate Change and Sustainability.” Museum Managament and Curatorship 22 (4): 329336.

  • Hicks, Dan. 2020. Brutish Museums: The Benin Bronzes, Colonial Violence and Cultural Restitution. London: Pluto Press.

  • HoC-APPGHR (House of Commons All-Party Parliamentary Group on Heritage Rail). 2019. Steaming Ahead? Heritage Railways, Coal and the Future of Steam Locomotives in the United Kingdom. House of Commons, UK. https://stickssn.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/APPGHR-Coal-Report.pdf (accessed 3 July 2023).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kassim, Sumaya. 2017. “The Museum Will Not Be Decolonised.” Media Diversified. https://www.mediadiversified.org/2017/11/15/the-museum-will-not-be-decolonised/ (accessed 3 July 2023).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kendall Adams, Geraldine. 2021. “Coal Giant Adani to Sponsor Science Museum's Green Energy Gallery.Museums Journal News—Sponsorship, 19 October. https://www.museumsassociation.org/museums-journal/news/2021/10/coal-giant-adani-to-sponsor-science-museums-green-energy-gallery/.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Krauss, Werner. 2015. “Heritage and Climate Change: A Fatal Affair.” In The Future of Heritage as Climates Change: Loss, Adaptation and Creativity, ed. David C. Harvey and Jim Perry, 4361. London: Routledge.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Macdonald, Sharon. 2013. Memorylands: Heritage and Identity in Europe Today. London: Routledge.

  • Malm, Anders. 2013. “The Origins of Fossil Capital: From Water to Steam in the British Cotton Industry.” Historical Materialism 21 (1): 1568.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Malm, Anders. 2016a. Fossil Capital: the Rise of Steam Power and the Roots of Global Warming. London: Verso Books.

  • Malm, Anders. 2016b. “Who Lit This Fire? Approaching the History of the Fossil Economy.” Critical Historical Studies 3 (2): 215248.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Malm, Anders and Alf Hornberg. 2014. “The Geology of Mankind? A Critique of the Anthropocene ‘Narrative’.” Anthropocene Review 1 (1): 6269.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Marzeion, Ben and Anders Levermann. 2014. “Loss of Cultural World Heritage and Currently Inhabited Places to Sea-Level Rise.” Environmental Research Letters 9 (7).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Massey, Doreen. 2005. For Space. London: Sage.

  • Miller, Toby. 2018. Greenwashing Culture. London: Routledge.

  • Oevermann, Heike and Harald A. Mieg. 2015. “Studying Transformation of Industrial Heritage Sites: Synchronic Discourse Analysis of Heritage Conservation, Urban Development, and Architectural Production.” In Industrial Heritage Sites in Transformation: Clash of Discourses, ed. Heike Oevermann and Harald A. Mieg, 1225. London: Routledge.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • oud Ammerveld, Janneke J. 2022. “What Does Climate Change Change? Understanding Climate Change in the Work of Heritage Government Authorities in England and Sweden” (PhD diss., University College London).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Perry, Jim. 2011World Heritage Hot Spots: A Global Model Identifies the 16 Natural Heritage Properties on the World Heritage List Most at Risk from Climate Change.” International Journal of Heritage Studies 19 (7): 709727.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Quijano, Aníbal. 2007 “Coloniality and Modernity/Rationality.” Cultural Studies 21 (2–3): 168178.

  • Sandell, Richard and Richard Janes, eds. 2019. Museum Activism. New York: Routledge.

  • Shepherd, Nick. 2020. “The Grammar of Decoloniality.” In Colonial and Decolonial Linguistics: Knowledges and Epistemes, ed. Ana Deumert, Anne Storch and Nick Shepherd, 303324. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Smith, Claire. 2005. “Decolonizing the Museum: The National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC.” Antiquity 79 (304): 424439.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Smith, Laurajane. 2006. The Uses of Heritage. London: Routledge.

  • Smith, Laurajane, Geoffrey Cubitt, Kalliopi Fouseki, and Ross Wilson, eds. 2014. Representing Enslavement and Abolition in Museums: Ambiguous Engagements. London: Routledge.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Soares, Bruno B. and Anna Leshchenko. 2018. “Museology in Colonial Contexts: A Call for Decolonisation of Museum Theory.” ICOFOM Study Series 46: 6179.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Taylor, Matthew. 2022. “Hundreds of Teachers Boycott Science Museum Show over Adani Sponsorship.The Guardian, 15 July. https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2022/jul/15/hundreds-of-teachers-boycott-science-museum-over-adani-sponsorship (accessed 3 July 2023).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Terrill, Greg. 2008. “Climate change: how should the world heritage convention respond?.” International Journal of Heritage Studies 14 (5): 388-404.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Tuck, Eve and K. Wayne Yang. 2012. “Decolonization Is Not a Metaphor.” Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education and Society 1 (1): 140.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Waterton, Emma. 2011. “In the Spirit of Self-Mockery? Labour Heritage and Identity in the Potteries.” International Journal of Heritage Studies 17 (4): 344363.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Waterton, Emma and Laurajane Smith. 2010. “The Recognition and Misrecognition of Community Heritage.” International Journal of Heritage Studies 16 (1-2): 415.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Watson, Steve and Emma Waterton. 2011. “Heritage and Community Engagement: Finding a New Agenda.” In Heritage and Community Engagement: Collaboration or Contestation, ed. Emma Waterton and Steve Watson, 111. London: Routledge

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Witcomb, Andrea. 2015. “Thinking About Others Through Museums and Heritage.” In The Palgrave Handbook of Contemporary Heritage Research, ed. Emma Waterton and Steve Watson, 130143. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation

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