New free resource: ‘Mainstreaming the Sustainable Development Goals: a results framework for galleries, libraries, archives and museums’

I’m very happy to announce a new, freely available guide for galleries, libraries, archives and museums (the ‘Glam sector’), released during the time of COP26, in Glasgow.

Why? Because sustainable development needs significantly greater understanding, attention and action in all sectors and across society; the GLAM sector can play a significant role; and it needs to know how to do it.

This resource builds on the framework I introduced in Museums and the Sustainable Development Goals (2019), and expands upon it to help you plan, deliver, monitor and communicate sustainable development action.

In Museums and the Sustainable Development Goals, I set out a framework of Seven Key Activities that have the potential to contribute effectively to 1/3 of all 169 SDG targets. This new Mainstreaming guide aims to help with mainstreaming, meaning:

  • empowering everyone who works in galleries, libraries, archives and museums to connect their work to the Sustainable Development Goals, and to use them as they are intended to be used
  • empowering everyone who makes use of galleries, libraries, archives and museums to take part in sustainable development and the SDGs
  • directing existing and new actions towards the SDGs, by embedding them in policies and plans, and removing trade-offs and any activity that impedes sustainable development
  • focusing on real results that help achieve the SDGs and a better future
  • fostering a culture of transparency, that directs activity towards sustainable development, and reports and communicates progress, and challenges, open and honestly to a wide range of stakeholders
  • working effectively with others, including other GLAM, GLAM networks, external partners, NGOs, community groups, and people as individuals
  • strengthening coherence, including vertical coherence for participation, planning and reporting purposes, and horizontal coherence between individuals, departments, GLAM, and with other sectors, to align GLAM activity to support sustainable development more effectively

The resource is based around ‘sustainability statements’, to help you understand what particular sustainable development challenges mean for GLAM. These sustainability statements can help you to:

  1. Understand the social, environmental and economic challenges in your context (community, place and/or topic area), and ask how you can help address them.
  2. Ask yourself what your organisation is committed to, and understand those commitments in sustainable development terms, and how they align with the Sustainable Development Goals and targets.
  3. Set concrete goals and plan impactful actions to support sustainable development more effectively.
  4. Increase ambition, to secure a sustainable future.
  5. Identify strengths, weaknesses and capacity gaps in terms of how you support sustainable development.
  6. Have discussions among staff on how individuals and teams contribute to sustainable development and the SDGs, both positively and negatively.
  7. Align management decisions and the allocation of resources (whether money, staff or time) to support sustainable development and the Sustainable Development Goals.
  8. Build activity that supports sustainable development and the Sustainable Development Goals into institutional, team and individual work programmes, plans and reviews.
  9. Identify partnership opportunities to support sustainable development.
  10. Monitor and evaluate your commitments, and communicate your activity: the statements can help you develop plans and monitor progress; and tell your story to stakeholders, in sustainable development terms.

If you don’t already know it, check out Museums and the Sustainable Development Goals (2019), which is now on over 18,000 downloads.

Published by Henry McGhie

I have set up Curating Tomorrow as a new business. I know that lots of people, organisations and networks care about the communities they are based in, broader social issues and the natural environment. Curating Tomorrow takes museum-based skills of curating, and applies them to the wider world. It is about helping people and organisations move farther, faster, together to build a better world.

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