Our Broken Planet: Community of Practice

We're bringing together museum practitioners across the UK interested in developing exhibitions and programming in response to the planetary emergency. 

Our Broken Planet: How we got here and ways to fix it

We are living in the age of humans, a time referred to by many as the Anthropocene. Our species has caused huge changes on our planet, including global warming and rapid biodiversity loss. To explore this and inspire solutions, the Natural History Museum developed the experimental Our Broken Planet exhibition and public programme.

Our Broken Planet was successful in sparking dialogue and debate, going on to be shortlisted for the United Nations SDG Action Awards. It brought together scientists and policy makers and empowered young people to be advocates for the planet.

We have ambitious plans to grow the programme. Our aim is to reach the widest possible audience and inspire action across four key themes – food, materials, energy, and health.  To enable this, we're building a Community of Practice to support museums to develop local displays and explore how the content could engage younger and more diverse audiences across the UK. 

What is a Community of Practice?

This programme was shaped from the responses to a survey of over 70 UK institutions who told us about their interests, needs and existing expertise in addressing the planetary emergency. As a result, this Community will become a place to interact, learn, and collaborate, fostering knowledge exchange among museum teams, scientists, researchers, youth engagement experts, and cultural practitioners. By participating, you can:

  • Enhance your expertise in developing innovative exhibitions that explore human impacts on our environment.
  • Learn to connect climate-related issues with local contexts and collections, incorporating contemporary science research.
  • Develop skills to effectively engage youth through meaningful dialogue and debate.
  • Connect with like-minded peers, engage in regional events, share valuable resources, and collaborate on climate-focused engagement strategies.
  • Gain access to potential funding and resources to translate learning and ideas into impactful practices.

A two-year programme of knowledge exchange and collaboration:

Year One: September 2023 – May 2024

The first year is designed to spark inspiration, knowledge sharing, and meaningful connections. Here's what you can expect:

  • Online 'Bitesize' Talks: a series of dynamic online talks that delve into contemporary science research on OBP themes. We'll explore effective strategies for communicating this research through programming and displays. These talks are the ideal platform to gain insights from experts across the Museum sector, including curators, researchers, PhDs, and engagement specialists
  • In-Person Networking Events: five in-person gatherings designed to foster informal networking and the exchange of best practices. It's a chance to connect with fellow professionals who share your passion for environmental engagement and conservation.
  • Announcing Funding Pots: We'll be unveiling small funding opportunities dedicated to the development of Our Broken Planet-related displays and programming. We hope to collaborate with you to bring innovative ideas to life and contribute to the ongoing dialogue around the planetary emergency.

Year Two: June 2024 – May 2025

As we move into the second year, our collaborative efforts will continue to flourish. Here's a glimpse of what's in store:

  • Fostering collaborations on the development of regional displays and engaging youth programs focussed on Our Broken Planet's core themes.
  • Carrying forward our community of practice activities tailored to address the specific needs identified throughout year one, ensuring that our efforts remain effective and relevant.
  • Frequently asked questions

    Who is the Community of Practice for?

    The Community of Practice is primarily for museum professionals based in the UK. Other people from relevant organisations are also welcome to join, however, priority for our in-person events will be given to museum professionals.

    Can more than one person from our museum join the network?

    There’s no limit on the number of people from your organisation that can join the Community of Practice.

    Will you provide resources that we can use for our own exhibitions and displays?

    We’re in the process of developing both online and touring resources based on the Our Broken Planet: How We Got Here and Ways to Fix It exhibition. The resources will cover the four key themes of energy, food, fashion and health and will be developed in a way that enables them to be adapted for local contexts.

    We can’t travel to the in-person events, can we access these online instead?

    At present, our in-person events are workshop-based and designed to connect regional museums and experts for networking, capacity building and sharing. We find this format works most effectively in-person so we don’t currently offer a hybrid option. We’ll continue to gather feedback on how best to support the community and adapt our offer as we go. Our current online offer includes bitesize  webinars with time allotted for a community forum and a six-weekly newsletter, with the addition soon of our online resources, which are currently in development.

Sign up now

Register using the form below and we'll send you monthly email newsletters with details of upcoming webinars and events and updates from the network and Our Broken Planet programme.