In early 2019, students at the University of Edinburgh conducted in-depth research into the key threats and opportunities of climate change to Glasgow Women’s Library: a culture SME based in the Glasgow City Region. The key findings create a useful case study for other cultural managers and SMEs looking to understand how climate change will impact their work.
Glasgow Women’s Library
Established in 1991, the organisation is the only accredited museum in the UK dedicated to women’s lives, histories and achievements, with a lending library, archive collections and innovative programmes of public events & learning opportunities. It is based within a historic (Grade B Listed Building) in Bridgeton, to the east of Glasgow City Centre. As a cultural venue and SME, it is funded through grants and donations from the public sector and private individuals.
Climate change projections for Glasgow
Scientific data published in 2018 provides the most accurate projections of likely climatic change across the UK over the 21st Century (up to 2100). For Glasgow, changes are already taking place:
- Annual temperature rising around 1°C by 2020, and up to 4°C by 2080
- Winter precipitation increasing by 10% by 2020, increasing seasonal flooding
- Summer precipitation decreasing by 30% by 2080, increasing summer droughts
- Increasing wind speeds
More information about climate change impacts for the Glasgow City Region, and wider Europe, can be found in our resources for Climate Change in Europe.
The research focused on identifying threats (which would negatively affect the organisation’s current activities) and opportunities (which could widen the scope or reach of the organisation). Many of these have implications for financial costs, for the planning and execution of events, and for people coming to the venue.
Potential adaptation measures
There are a number of ways through which Glasgow Women’s Library could prepare themselves for the expected climatic changes – both in terms of physical changes to their building, but also educational and behavioural changes which improve the resilience and knowledge of those working or using the building.
Like many culture SMEs, there are a number of barriers which challenge the organisation’s ability to implement the proposed changes:
- A lack of financial security restricts investment in building upgrade and increases pressure in other areas of work.
- There is a low sense of urgency in the organisation when tackling medium and long-term issues of climate change adaptation (with immediate and short-term issues taking precedence)
However, the organisation is taking action to address this. In March 2019, multiple members of staff from the Library attended our Cultural Adaptations workshop on adaptation strategies for cultural managers, which took place in Glasgow. Gabrielle, Volunteer Coordinator at Glasgow Women’s Library, explains more about why they are interested in participating in this work, and finding out how they can adapt to the impacts of climate change.
This research was conducted and written by Christina Trautmann, Ellen Hayward, Ilkka Saarinen, Nia Hunjan, Zainah Najem, as part of the Applied Carbon Management module of the Carbon Management MSc. at the University of Edinburgh. We are grateful for their permission in allowing us to publish this work.Read the full report