Would the EnergieWenden exhibition work in Australia?

How do politicians manage the minefield of interests and emotions that surround climate change and energy?

Munich’s Deutsche Museum has mounted an exhibition which places the public in the political hot seat. Visitors listen to ten interested parties, each representing a different voice in the community: a retired couple, business executive, farmer growing for the biomass fuel market and coal miner. 

They vote, justifying their decision, and in the end discover where they sit on the political spectrum. The exhibit allows visitors to experience the political pressures of policymaking. 

Deutsche was quite doubtful about the exhibition and has been astounded and delighted to find it has been the most popular exhibition they’ve had this century. It is mobile and the Museum is willing to lend it to Australia. 

The seminar discussion will show a short video of the exhibition before an interactive discussion of the questions:

  • At which institution in Australia would such a display best be mounted?
  • Which interests should be represented on the panels?
  • What should the faces representing these interests say in their 60 seconds, and who should write this material?
  • What are the challenges of writing three alternative decisions following on from each of 60 second statements?

Mr Toss Gascoigne is a visiting fellow at the Centre for Public Awareness of Science at the Australian National University.

For fifteen years he headed national organisations in Australia, as Executive Director of the Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies (FASTS) and the Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (CHASS). He is a former President and life member of both Australian Science Communicators and the international Network for the Public Understanding of Science and Technology.

He has published on the history of modern science communication, on whether the field could be considered a discipline, and science advocacy. He has also written on the establishment of ‘Science meets Parliament’, a successful Australian initiative which allows scientists to meet national politicians to make the case for science and research to the government.

He visited the Deutsche Museum as their guest.