NEMO Training empowered European museum professionals to implement the SDGs

In June 2024, 18 museum professionals from across Europe participated in a four-session online training programme to develop sustainability plans for their institutions over the next year. This NEMO Training, co-hosted with ICCROM, was facilitated by Henry McGhie of Curating Tomorrow and José Luiz Pederzoli Jr. of ICCROM.

Following a successful edition in 2023, NEMO and ICCROM- International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property collaborated on this second workshop edition to enhance the capacity of museum workers to fully grasp sustainable development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The training aimed to help participants identify key SDG-oriented challenges or aspirations to address through their collections-based work and to create and implement actionable plans.

Henry McGhie (Curating Tomorrow), with a background in ecology, museum curation, and management, and José Luiz Pederzoli Jr. (Unit Manager of the Strategic Planning for ICCROM), an expert in polymer chemistry and paper-based heritage, led the sessions. The workshops utilized resources from ICCROM’s Our Collections Matter initiative, particularly the online Toolkit, which offers over 400 practical tools from the heritage sector and beyond. This initiative empowers heritage professionals and organisations to contribute to sustainable development through collections-based efforts.

This year's training introduced the Our Collections Matter (OCM) Self-Assessment Tool, presented by José and Henry. This innovative platform connects collections-based work with the SDGs, and participants found it to be a valuable resource.

Throughout the training, participants learned about the Agenda 2030 and the SDGs, and how these relate to museum work. Henry helped them understand local and national challenges and recognise their organisations' positive and negative impacts on sustainable development.

From the second session onwards, the training became highly interactive. Each participant chose a sustainable development challenge, set goals, and developed plans using the SDG targets. The Our Collections Matter Toolkit provided useful tools to support their projects.

By the end of the four sessions, participants expressed gratitude for the workshop, which helped them organise their ideas. One participant remarked, “I’ve lost my fear of the SDGs; they have become my besties!” Another added, “I feel like an ambassador for the SDGs now, and more confident discussing them!”

Overall, the training offered valuable guidance and the opportunity to exchange ideas with colleagues from across Europe and beyond.