Carbon theatre in public spaces: Using participatory theatre and co-design methods in a museum for shaping lowcarbon lifestyles

Birgit Brunklaus*, Lizette Reitsma, Jennie Schaeffer, Merja Ryöppy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference abstract in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Over the past ten years, the need for public spaces to deal with burning societal issues, such as climate change, has become even more important. Participatory theatre offers ways to meet the longing for shared forums by engaging large groups of people in exploring difficult social dilemmas. It can potentially empower participants to change their own situations and organizations. In a previous design research project Quantifying your carbon footprint, this gap was in focus. We will use the findings from the Quantifying carbon footprint project as an entry point and expand it with Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) on objects from the current museum collection and on daily life activities that have a carbon impact. The goal of the project is to explore and understand the climate and environmental impacts of lifestyles. The method used here are participatory theatre and co-design methods and pop-up exhibitions are used to engage young citizens in negotiating social norms and understanding their possible impact on CO2 emissions. The museum collections play a crucial role in the process of understanding how LCA calculations are related to mundane objects and reflecting on the temporality of social norms that are negotiated and re-negotiated through the way we handle products and objects in our everyday life. Developing new practices for museums involving participatory methods in order to engage young citizens in climate research. The results of the introductory meeting and study visit show that using the museum’s collection, the history and the value of things in the past centuries become clear and easier to reflect on compared to today’s unsustainable lifestyle – travelling and over consumption. Carbon Dioxide Theatre is an attempt to shape a shared space on a local level, in line with the priorities of the museum’s three years plan.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLife Cycle Management Conference 2019
Place of PublicationPoznan, Polen
Publication date2019
Article number97
Publication statusPublished - 2019


Cite this

Brunklaus, B., Reitsma, L., Schaeffer, J., & Ryöppy, M. (2019). Carbon theatre in public spaces: Using participatory theatre and co-design methods in a museum for shaping lowcarbon lifestyles. In Life Cycle Management Conference 2019 (Vol. 9). [97].