Inheriting the Anthropocene


Manchester Museum


Collaborators: David Rousell, Riikka Hohti, Hannah-Lee Chalk, Maggie MacLure, and the Young Adventurers (aged 11-14) 

Inheriting the Anthropocene is a project that involves research with young people who collaborate with artists, researchers, and educators from the Manifold Lab and Manchester museums.  Our collective adventure takes us into museum gallery spaces and behind the scenes, down corridors and into hidden stores, following our curiosity while asking hard questions about the Anthropocene, climate change, extinction, and decolonisation. What does it feel like to inherit the Anthropocene? How does our sense of inheritance shift as we work to collectively re-imagine the museum and its collections? 

We organised an exhibition at Manchester Museum in 2019 around a Cabinet of Curiosity which offered tentative responses to these questions. Working in the Baroque style of seventeenth century Wunderkammern that displayed artificial and natural objects side by side, young people (age 11-14) assembled and disassembled museum objects of various kinds and investigated their relations to their own lives and epoch.

Project activities: 

Coats of Curiosities: performing the archival with found coats, found objects, provocations. 

The Bureau of Unanswerable Questions: hundreds of questions raised by young people in the museum, stored in old cabinet drawers.

The Blot Walk: Encounters with 40 inkblots marking blind spots and exclusions in the museum’s galleries.

Scene From Behind: A 360 video installation revealing parts of the museum usually restricted to the public.

Sounding Inheritance: Interactive audio interface, binaural audio samples recorded by young people in the museum.

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