Developing a major museum exhibition on ‘animals on the move’ with SOTM participants: connect the public with your research to advance biodiversity conservation and climate resilience.

Henry McGhie, Senior Manager and Senior Curator
Rachel Webster, Mid-Career Curator
Amanda Bamford, Senior Career Academic


Manchester Museum, the largest university museum in the UK, is committed to building understanding between cultures, and a sustainable world’. The Museum has a long track record of exhibitions and events connected with environmental sustainability and climate change, and has worked with e.g. UNFCCC so that museums will be formally recognised as key sites for climate change education, empowerment and action at the next COP. The Museum is part of international networks with museums, museum networks and researchers working to enhance environmental education and action to address the Paris Agreement and SDGs. The Museum is currently developing a new Exhibitions Hall.

For the opening exhibition, in 2021, the Museum is developing an exhibition on the theme of ‘animals on the move’, and we are currently building a case for support for this in terms of funding. The exhibition is intended to be a vehicle for critically informed activities for the public, related policy actors, and supporting public/civic action in support of a wide range of policy objectives and high-level strategies (post CBD, SDGs, etc). The development of the content for the exhibition is to be led by H McGhie, who has extensive experience in this area (e.g. developing a climate change themed exhibition that won a Leading Cultural Destinations Award in 2017, and working with UNFCCC). He wants to incorporate broad input from SOTM researchers as leading academics working in the field of climate change impacts on the distribution of species, and associated/resulting impacts on ecological communities and human communities.

The objectives of the present submission are:

  • to run a workshop at SOTM to draw on participants’ research to begin to develop the exhibition and programme content.
  • to support researchers to develop their research impact through contributing to the development of the exhibition and accompanying programmes
  • to develop excellent public events that are critically informed both in terms of science, policy, and diverse experiences of climate change impacts
  • to develop a collaborative network of interested academics, policy workers and site/species managers to raise awareness of, and promote constructive engagement with, climate change impacts and actions
  • to explore the development of a global/distributed/international exhibition or series of exhibitions that could be staged simultaneously or consecutively, for maximum reach and impact.


The format would be a workshop where participants were invited to summarise their work, and to consider how their work could be communicated through diverse media. The aims are to generate the research base for the development of the exhibition, and to draw on diverse perspectives in terms of how science could be communicated to non-scientific audiences and/or in highly impactful ways, for example through theatre, performance, song, digital and VR.

The workshop would last no longer than half a day.

Species on the Move

An International Conference Series

The conference brings together scientists and natural resource managers working in the disciplines of global change, biogeography and evolution, and relevant in contexts of natural resource management, biodiversity management and conservation, and theoretical ecology.

Species responses to climate change is a rapidly evolving research field, however, much of our progress is being made in independent research areas: e.g. understanding the process vs responding to the implications, terrestrial vs marine ecosystems, global meta-analyses vs in depth species-specific approaches. This interdisciplinary conference develops connections between these parallel streams, and across temporal and spatial scales.

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