Going Neutral? Institutions and Climate Change

20 June 2022


Last week's panel discussion at Art Basel on "Being neutral? Institutions and Climate Change" with Miranda Massie, Director of the Climate Museum in New York; Mami Kataoka, Director of the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, and President of CIMAM, and Suhanya Raffel, Director of the M+ Museum in Hong Kong and moderated by András Szántó, author and cultural strategy consultant, highlighted the urgency of implementing sustainable practices in museums to mitigate the effects of climate change. Unfortunately, this reality is already drastically affecting many regions of the planet.

Miranda Massie underlined the unbreakable binomial between climate progress and climate justice, while Suhanya Raffel defended the strategy followed at M+ to present an accessible, inclusive and diverse museum, announcing that part of the museum's funding is linked to SDG's KPIs.

Mami Kataoka, for her part, stressed the need to continue to hold exhibitions in museums with the aim of co-producing them regionally, sharing costs, and making them tour even in large areas such as Asia and the Pacific.

Miranda Massie concluded the talk by calling for museums to be inclusive spaces for civic climate action.

Contribute to CIMAM's survey on How Modern and Contemporary Art Museums are Acting to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals?

Watch the conversation here.

What choices are available to museums wishing to address the urgency of climate change while also needing to consider their financial resilience in 2022 and beyond? In a time of intensified geopolitical conflict and displacement, how can they ensure that culture and climate change remain on the agenda? From infrastructure to programming, how can institutions best respond?

The directors of the Mori Art Museum, the Climate Museum, and M+ gather to reflect on current and planned actions in the museum sector that involve investing in a greener and fairer future.

Miranda Massie directs NYC’s Climate Museum, the first climate-dedicated museum in the US. Through its public programming, the Museum creates an activist, cultural approach to community engagement with climate, recognizing that most Americans are worried about the crisis but are unsure how to take meaningful action. The Museum’s free, accessible exhibitions, events, and youth programs have broadened the climate movement with an emphasis on community, justice, equity, and inclusion. Miranda is active within several global coalitions focused on climate-oriented work in museums and speaks frequently on the need for a cultural shift toward civic action on climate.

Mami Kataoka is Director at Mori Art Museum. She joined the Mori Art Museum in 2003, taking on the role of Director in 2020. Beyond Tokyo, Kataoka has held positions at the Hayward Gallery in London, where from 2007 to 2009 she was the institution’s first International Curator; she has also acted as Co-Artistic Director for the 9th Gwangju Biennale (2012), Artistic Director for the 21st Biennale of Sydney (2018) and is currently Artistic Director for the Aichi Triennale 2022. Kataoka has been serving as a Board Member of CIMAM (International Committee for Museums and Collections of Modern Art) (2014-) and currently the President of CIMAM.

Suhanya Raffel is the Museum Director of M+ Hong Kong, at the West Kowloon Cultural District since her appointment in 2016. M+ is the first global museum of modern and contemporary visual culture in Asia. Previously, she was the Deputy Director and Director of Collections at the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), Sydney (2013–16) Australia, and held many senior curatorial positions, including Deputy Director of curatorial and collection development from 2010 and Acting Director in 2012 at the Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane (1994-2013) Australia. Ms Raffel is on the Board of CIMAM (2016 ongoing). She is also a member of the Bizot Group (2021 ongoing). She is a Trustee of the Geoffrey Bawa Trust and the Lunuganga Trust, Sri Lanka (1994 ongoing). She was awarded the 2020 Republic of France Chevalier dans l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres and is the 2022 Sydney University Alumni Achievement Awardee for Cultural Contribution, Sydney, Australia.

András Szántó Ph.D. advises museums, foundations, educational institutions, and corporations on cultural strategy and program development, worldwide. His writings have appeared in The New York Times, Artforum, Artnet, and The Art Newspaper, among other publications. His most recent book is The Future of the Museum: 28 Dialogues (Hatje Cantz, 2020).