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Youth-led Exhibition On Climate Change To Open In October

Climate change is the biggest environmental challenge of our time, a challenge the next generation of decision-makers needs to rise to. More and more the New Zealand youth are taking the lead in highlighting the urgency of this issue.

Otago Museum is coordinating an Unlocking Curious Minds funded project working with a group of young people to develop an exhibition on the topic of climate change. The project aims to give young people the skills, support, and space to express themselves.

Since November 2019, a group of twenty young people from different schools across Dunedin, and from the Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu correspondance school, have been working together on this, united in their passion for spreading the message about climate change.

One of the team members, Sarah Al-Balushi, Year 11, Kavanagh College, joined the project because of the opportunity it presented. “One of the most exciting things about this exhibit is that it allows the younger generation to express their views on an issue that will mainly affect them, and to gain a better understanding of their environment, which was something I wouldn’t have otherwise had the opportunity to do.”

Early on, the team decided they wanted to use this platform to communicate about the inequality of climate change. They wanted to highlight the fact that many of the communities and nations severely impacted by climate change are not the main contributors to the problem, including our Pacific neighbours.

The team have had workshops with different climate scientists, local youth activists, and young people impacted by climate change across the Pacific region. They have worked closely with different departments across Otago Museum and learned about marketing, exhibition design, and science communication. The team have created art pieces, conducted interviews, taken photographs and curated information and data.

Originally scheduled to be open during the July school holidays, the exhibition was delayed because of the COVID-19 lockdown. As a testament to their commitment and passion, the team continued to work hard through this period. “Lockdown certainly added a new layer of difficulty to the project, as all the meetings had to take place online. While this was challenging at times, I think that it was also valuable, as it really helped me to refocus on the overall idea and figure out what the key messages I wanted the project to convey.” said Sarah.

The team themselves are not the only ones gaining from the project. “This has actually been an amazing journey for me personally” said Dr Claire Concannon, the project coordinator at Otago Museum. “I have learned so much from this group of inspirational, talented, kind, and passionate young people. Working with them makes me hopeful for our future. Do not miss this exhibition, it is going to be something really special”

Climate Change – Striking a Balance is a free exhibition that will open 3 October and run until 1 November at Otago Museum, in the Beautiful Science Gallery.

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