500 museums in the UK team up raise awareness of biodiversity loss

 Three children are mixing paint colours. The wall behind them is covered with colourful paintings and cardboard boxes.

The Wild Escape, the largest partnership of the sector thus far, has kicked off in the United Kingdom uniting more than 500 museums to raise children’s awareness and understanding of biodiversity loss.

The Wild Escape will be running special events and art workshops, both online and in person, for schools and families to reconnect them with nature and encourage children to create wildlife artworks inspired by objects in museum collections.

The children’s animal artworks will be released into a large-scale digital environment created by the immersive game studio Preloaded, which will be unveiled on Earth Day 2023 on 22 April, and available to view online and at participating institutions.

Jenny Waldman, director of lead organisation Art Fund, said that the collaboration will “show how the UK’s museums can encourage new forms of creativity, encouraging children to take ownership of one of the defining challenges of our lives… the risk to our precious wildlife”.

The project is an excellent example of how museums can facilitate knowledge about climate change and biodiversity. NEMO recently published a report on the status quo of museums in the climate crisis and one of the 7 recommendations asks policy makers to acknowledge and support the potential of museums as allies to help the public better understand climate change and become active.

In an article, the UK Museums Association elaborates about The Wild Escape: “The project is supported by a range of partners across culture, heritage and nature, including the World Wildlife Foundation, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, the National Trust and English Heritage. It will be accompanied by a David Attenborough BBC series, Wild Isles, along with a series of films by leading artists, including singer-songwriter FKA Twigs and interdisciplinary artist Yinka Shonibare, creating works inspired by animals in museum collections.

The project received £890,000 from Arts Council England, the largest grant ever awarded via its National Lottery Project Grants programme. "We are passionate about the role museums can play in supporting creative people and cultural communities," said Emmie Kell, director of museums and cultural property at ACE.”