Creating an Exhibition is by Definition Non-Sustainable.


Building an exhibition is by definition non-sustainable: whatever choices we make, we always impact the planet. At the same time, for those of us working in the sector, we believe in the importance of creating exhibitions: in other words, sharing insights into the present, the past and the future through displays of valued works of art and heritage. Exhibitions are a way to address major issues of our time, like the climate crisis, and to champion change in society. But we know we can do better: we have to take responsibility for the negative impact that our sector has on the planet as well as the positive impact we make through exhibitions. So why isn’t that happening sufficiently?

This ATLAS on the future of exhibition making is a first attempt to identify sustainability as a starting point on which we all agree, and to share the expertise that we have. By definition, the content of an atlas is never static: new insights and geographical changes constantly affect a map’s appearance. That applies equally to this issue, which is in constant flux. This atlas sets a direction, encourages exploration, and is constantly evolving. This atlas shows that many approaches and ways of thinking exist, and above all that we can’t let ourselves be held back by a fear of making artistic concessions or having to pay top price. And that brings the principle of sustainability a lot closer!

In the museum sector, we represent tomorrow’s ideas. In addition to information and inspiration, this atlas also makes an urgent appeal: let’s not lag behind on this one, let’s get ahead of the game – we owe it to society.

To turn the tide, we need to begin by actively sharing the expertise we’ve accumulated in our sector and beyond. ATLAS is an appeal to share that expertise, to inspire each other and to make an impact together. ATLAS is the start of a knowledge platform for the future of exhibitions.  

What can you contribute?