Exhibition design for our time: A guide to reducing the environmental impact of exhibitions for the MENAT region

The free-to-download, bilingual English-Arabic guide Exhibition design for our time – A guide to reducing the environmental impact of exhibitions for the MENAT region is available here alongside the MENAT Impact Model. It is accessible to all cultural organisations in the MENAT region (Middle East, North Africa and Turkey) and globally.


Browse the Guide here


Browse the MENAT Impact Model here


In March 2023, Art Jameel, in partnership with the British Council, convened the ‘Culture & Climate Summit’ at the Jameel Arts Centre in Dubai, bringing together leaders in the culture field from across the MENAT (Middle East, North Africa and Turkey) region. The aim of the summit was twofold: To support organisations in understanding and taking steps towards monitoring and reducing carbon emissions, and to plant the seeds for a regional network that works together to harness culture’s transformative role in the face of the ongoing climate crisis.

This guide was originally developed in 2023 by the Design Museum, London with URGE Collective using the ‘Waste Age: What Can Design Do?’ exhibition at the Design Museum as a case study. For this edition, URGE Collective have adapted the guide for the MENAT region –  building on conversations during the ‘Culture & Climate Summit’ as well as in-depth interviews with Darat Al Funun in Amman, Jordan, NYUAD Art Gallery, Abu Dhabi, U.A.E, Salt in Istanbul, Turkey, and contributions from Alserkal Initiatives, Dubai, U.A.E. and theOtherDada, Beirut, Lebanon.

While we recognise the vast differences in the structural, political and social contexts of the MENAT region – and the various challenges these pose to efforts at reducing emissions – we hope that this adapted guide, together with the MENAT Impact Model, accessible here, will serve as a common tool to support cultural organisations in their efforts to model and reduce their carbon emissions. We hope that it will be a useful planning and reporting tool, and that it will be continually used and updated by organisations across the region so as to continue to reflect real data and precise parameters. 

The MENAT Impact Model is an interactive tool that seeks to enable exhibition project managers to carry out a benchmark assessment of the lifecycle carbon footprint of the development, production and hosting of a new exhibition. The tool also enables users to compare options, particularly for types and transport of objects as well as construction materials. The outputs of this tool are estimates of the total footprint as well as its distribution across an exhibition’s development, selection of objects for inclusion, touring, construction, facilities, and waste. They are intended to raise awareness for the potential impact of decisions across an exhibition’s lifecycle and stimulate interrogations, learnings and efforts to reduce the environmental footprint of future exhibitions. The accuracy of this tool’s outputs depend on the quality and completeness of inputs as well as the specificity of the model itself, and should therefore be considered a ‘screening’ assessment.

The first edition of this toolkit was published by the Design Museum in 2023, with the support of Future Observatory, a partnership between the Design Museum, Urge Collective and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). The original guide is available at designmuseum.org



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