Digital leadership – Heritage, digital and the climate crisis

How can digital capacity and tactics be leveraged in heritage organisations to address the climate crisis and to meet your heritage organisation’s environmental goals?  The sixth and final online seminar in the Leading the Sector 2022 series talks about the role leaders need to play in understanding and leading change in this vital area of the heritage’s sector’s work.

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Photo by Steve Payne on Unsplash

Digital leadership – Heritage, digital and the climate crisis

1. Full seminar recording

This resource contains the full seminar recording, alongside some shorter clips highlighting some of the key and interesting talking points made by the speakers: Bridget McKenzie, Cultural consultant and environmental activist, Claire Buckley, Environmental sustainability expert from Julie’s Bicycle, and Ruchir Shah, Director of External Affairs at the Scottish Wildlife Trust. It also features a number of useful resources, reports and toolkits to help you with environmental sustainability within your own heritage organisation.


Download the video transcript

2. Literate leadership is about wisdom

Bridget McKenzie highlighted that literate leadership is about wisdom and that there are a number of overlapping leadership frames, of which digital leadership is just one part. You can see Bridget’s diagram in the video below, which highlights the other frames of leadership. Bridget argues that digital leadership tends to sit in an area focused on efficiency, but that literate leadership needs to be digitally enabled and informed by by both regenerative principles and regenerative culture.

Bridget McKenzie, Cultural consultant and environmental activist, on wisdom within digital leadership.

Download the video transcript

3. Digital for environmental good

Claire Buckley shared some useful tips for how you can make sure that your digital projects, products and programmes are better for the environment. Firstly, it’s important that we consider the wider impact of digital tools and technologies and not just fixate on our carbon footprint. Once we have that understanding, we can then work on reducing those impacts. Claire also suggests that leaders need to put a green lens on digital planning, strategy and activities and that if you have an environmental strategy, digital should be a part of it, and that if you have a digital strategy, it needs to include environmental action. Finally, Claire brought it back to skills and literacies by making sure that your teams are aware and mindful of the environmental impact that the organisation’s work has.

Claire Buckley, Environmental sustainability expert from Julie’s Bicycle, on digital for environmental good.

Download the video transcript

4. The pace of digital change

Ruchir Shah began his presentation by highlighting the emotional journey that is part of digital leadership. He spoke about the pace of digital change and the challenge of keeping up with trends. This fast pace can create a lot of anxiety for leaders, which can be compounded by the anxiety we are already facing due to the earth crisis. Ruchir asked that if there is one message that you can take away from his presentation, it’s that we should be kind to ourselves.

Ruchir Shah, Director of External Affairs at the Scottish Wildlife Trust, on the emotional journey of digital leadership and the pace of digital change.

Download the video transcript

5. Understand your digital ecological footprint

Digital transformation and change is certainly not ‘net-zero’ and there’s a lot to be mindful of when it comes to the ecological footprint of how we deploy digital technologies. Understanding the ecological footprint of our digital activities can also help with some of the anxiety that we face around digital change and transformation, particularly in an earth and nature loss crisis.

Ruchir Shah, Director of External Affairs at the Scottish Wildlife Trust, on your digital ecological footprint.

Download the video transcript

6. In conclusion

Understanding your heritage organisation’s environmental impact is about more than just tracking its carbon footprint. It’s about how you can change the rhythm of your organisation to help the people working within it make more sustainable choices. As a leader, you need to have sustainability at the heart of everything you do, to make sure that it is reflected within the culture of your organisation. But, as Ruchir said, it is also important that we are kind to ourselves and mindful of the pace of change. So it is important that we take small and practical steps, so that we don’t become overwhelmed by the challenge that lays ahead.


7. Further resources




8. Attribution

Digital leadership – Heritage, digital and the climate crisis resource (2022) by Culture24 supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, licensed under CC BY 4.0

More help here

Six kayakers on a river approach a bridge

How can we measure our current environmental impact?

The adoption of new technologies may support your initiatives to ‘go green’ and reduce your environmental impact. Which are the key areas to focus on that will enable your organisation to become more environmentally sustainable? This guide explores where the biggest impacts may be felt for your organisation and what methods you might use to measure your existing environmental footprint.

A living statue performs on a busy street

How can digital help us become more environmentally sustainable?

So you have established some key areas to help you improve your environmental performance: what next? This guide outlines how digital technologies can help you modify and adapt your business operations to be kinder to the environment.

green grass field during sunset

How to make your digital engagement activities better for the environment

In this resource, Katie Parry from digital agency and arts sector specialists, Supercool, provides a selection of practical actions to help you make your digital engagement activities better for the environment. Katie provides tips and suggestions that will help you make your organisation’s website, social media channels, emails and computers more sustainable.


Browse related resources by smart tags:

Climate Environment Environmental action plan Leadership
Published: 2022
Resource type: Webinars and films

Creative Commons Licence Except where noted and excluding company and organisation logos this work is shared under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (CC BY 4.0) Licence

Please attribute as: "Digital leadership – Heritage, digital and the climate crisis (2022) by Culture24 supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, licensed under CC BY 4.0


More help here

Digital Heritage Hub is managed by Arts Marketing Association (AMA) in partnership with The Heritage Digital Consortium and The University of Leeds. It has received Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and National Lottery funding, distributed by The Heritage Fund as part of their Digital Skills for Heritage initiative. Digital Heritage Hub is free and answers small to medium sized heritage organisations most pressing and frequently asked digital questions.

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