• Posted on March 8th, 2022

Stemming the Tide: Global Strategies for Sustaining Cultural Heritage through Climate Change

Alison Tickell Provides Closing Key Note Address for “Stemming the Tide”

“The root metaphors and narratives – nature as a machine, nature as hostile, nature as something to be exploited, engineered, sold, sentimentalised, improved – are as wrong as they are strong. The climate crisis is nature’s way of interrupting these pernicious myths. If nature were understood as a web of life, a teacher, a giving parent, creative beyond our wildest imaginations as many indigenous commentators such as Robin Wall Kimmerer in her best seller Braiding Sweetgrass have argued, perhaps climate change would simply be that – change, not crisis.”

– Extract from closing keynote address

Climate change has become one of the most significant and fastest growing threats to cultural heritage around the globe. Yet cultural heritage sites and collections also serve as invaluable sources of resilience for communities to address climate change.

In March 2020, the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Smithsonian’s National Collections Program convened the symposium “Stemming the Tide: Global Strategies for Sustaining Cultural Heritage through Climate Change” to empower cultural heritage authorities, managers, and advocates to pursue more ambitious engagement and collaborative approaches to climate change.

Speakers explored six categories of cultural heritage identified by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS): Cultural Landscapes and Historic Urban Landscapes, Archaeological Sites, Built Heritage, Cultural Communities, Intangible Cultural Heritage, and Museums and Collections.

Access the Report


Jean Carroon, Antonietta Catanzariti, Carl Elefante, Nicole Heller, Victoria Herrmann, Amber Kerr, Ken Kimmell, Adam Markham, Henry McGhie, Jenny Newell, Isabel C. Rivera-Collazo, Erin Seekamp, Sarah Sutton, Alison Tickell, William G. Tompkins, Meredith Wiggins, Ashley Robbins Wilson, Janene Yazzie

Read about creative climate cities here