Plastic Garbage Project

Talking about Plastic Garbage
Conference 2015


The two-day conference Talking about Plastic Garbage has drawn from the wealth of experience gained during the international tour of the travelling exhibition. Resulting from deeper insight into the educational practice at the various locations it raises questions about educational strategies and approaches with the goal of learning from experience. 

On the first day of the international conference, experts and project partners discussed the following questions: what is the best way to explain complex contents related to the themes of plastic and the environment? How can people be appealed to and motivated? In which ways are the contents of the exhibition tied to the respective cultural, political and institutional situations and conditions? What is the potential as regards educational work in the learning and negotiation space "Exhibition" and where do the limits lie?

The evening event provided information about the current levels of plastic pollution in Mediterranean regions and offered insights into research practice. On the second day of the conference various workshops expanded the areas for thought and action in this thematic field.


Program committee
Museum für Gestaltung Zürich: Roman Aebersold, Franziska Mühlbacher, Angeli Sachs, Amanda Unger
Drosos Foundation: Tobias Lengsfeld, Chantal Perrothon




Education and Sustainability

One objective of the educational work is to enable people to participate in shaping a sustainable kind of development and to reflect upon and assess their own actions. How can the term "sustainability" be extended to the educational context within the framework of an institution? What might educational projects that can be read as sustainable on several different levels actually look like? The goal of this workshop is to formulate ideas about handing on experiences from the professional practice of the educationalists and, working in a team, to develop exemplary approaches to projects.


Workshop management:
Franziska Mühlbacher, Curator Education, Museum für Gestaltung Zürich, Switzerland


Hands on!

Whether we are talking about marine or daily garbage: given the right know-how it is possible to make new things of convincing quality from old objects.  Get "hands on" yourself and learn how plastic bags and marine debris can be transformed into attractive useful objects through the informed use of upcycling. The techniques learned can then be used privately or in learning programs and integrated in educational programs in the future.


Workshop management:
Simona Reber, Denise König leading (re)fused material and Marina Landolt, Ursina Bleuler both Fashion Designer


Future Scenarios for „Out to Sea?“

How should the project be adapted and developed so that people can continue to be informed about the problem of marine debris and encouraged to take action in their daily lives? As regards increasing awareness of this problem which strategies seem the most promising? What role do interactive and participative elements play here? Should the educational work be strengthened and made into an integral part of the exhibition? Which ways of transferring the exhibition from the museum to its projects partners seem appropriate for the future? In the workshop different scenarios are developed and discussed.
The target groups consist primarily of the exhibition makers and those involved in the project.


Workshop management:
Joana Mira Veiga, Project Manager and Coordinator, EUCC International Programme (Coastal & Marine Union)
Tobias Lengsfeld, Head of the Europe Department, Drosos Foundation
oman Aebersold, Head of Cooperations, Museum für Gestaltung Zürich, Switzerland


Workshop: Evaluating educational Work

How can educational work in an exhibition be measured? Can evaluations help to improve the impact and quality of educational projects? Where do the possibilities, challenges and limits lie? The workshop presents evaluation as a part of the project planning. It argues in favour of defining the impact of a project and how this should be measured at the initial planning phase of an exhibition. The participants learn to formulate goals at different levels and to define indicators and benchmarks. They familiarise themselves with practical evaluation tools and exchange ideas about the challenges and limits of evaluating educational work. The introduction of one’s own tested feedback questionnaires and evaluation tools for exchange sessions in the group is expressly encouraged!


Workshop management:
Tina Wodiunig, Ethnologist, museum expert and evaluator, kultureval Zürich – Büro für Kulturprojekte und Evaluationen, Switzerland


Impact and Use of Emotional Images in Environmental Education

The stomachs of dead seabirds filled with plastic, turtles entangled in ghost nets and seals and dolphins severely injured by fishing lines: the exhibition "Out to Sea? The Plastic Garbage Project" contains visual material that presents an unsparing picture of the direct effect of marine pollution by plastic debris on the animal world. The confrontation with highly emotionally charged images in the media is commonplace today. How does this affect the way of dealing with such images in educational work on a difficult (environmental) theme? How can teachers who work with children and young people use these pictures? Do they have an additional value in terms of explaining the problem or do they perhaps cause mental blocks such as shock, resistance and rejection? Using visual material from the exhibition and current media we examine this question and define areas where action can be taken, as well as alternative options.


Workshop management:
Isabel Grohmann, cultural, media and art educationist
Petra Zumbach, Artist




Spaces for Interaction – An integrated Educational Concept

by Franziska Mühlbacher, Curator Education, Museum für Gestaltung Zürich, Switzerland


King Ghazi Hotel: Designing Learning Spaces

by Dima Maurice, Architect, Amman, Jordan


Mediating Science to Children: The Learning Laboratory

by Lene Klitgaard, Project Leader, Universitarium, Univerity of Aalborg, Denmark


(Re)fused Material – A second Life for Plastic Bags

by Simona Reber and Denise König, Project Leader (re)fused material, Art Teacher, Art Historian, Illustrator and Environmental Scientist


Message in a Bottle - Ideas for a plasticfree Future from Visitors for Visitors

by Franziska Hütter, Team Lead Nature Education, Universalmuseum Joanneum, Graz Austria

The Plastic Garbage Debate – Challenges and Potentials of a Discussion Series

by Dr. Claudia Banz, Curator, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg, Germany

Plastic in the Surface Layers of the Mediterranean Sea

by Gabriel Gorsky, Director, Observatoire Oceanologigue, Villefranche-sur-Mer, France


Beyond the Beach: Marine Debris that crosses Countries connects Countries

by Cheryl King, Marine Biologist and Founder of The Sharkastics Project, Hawai’i, USA


Evaluation of Microplastic Pollution: What is the Future?

by Pascal Hagmann, General Manager Oceaneye, Geneva, Switzerland

No Design to Waste – Campaigning for the Ocean Clean Up

by Bernadette De Loose, Head of education and communication, Design Museum Gent, Belgium


Bringing the Exhibition to Beirut’s Schools

by Hadla El Traboulsi and Janine Naufal, Freelance Educators, Beirut, Lebanon


Ocean Initiatives: Beach Clean-Ups as an Awareness raising Tool to foster social and behavioural Change

by Andrea Scatolero, Project Manager Ocean Initiatives, Surfrider Foundation Europe


Beyond the Exhibition Walls - How to broaden the Impact?

by Rajae Slimani, Program Manager, Drosos Foundation, Morroco office


Can activist Museum Practice change the Institution?

by Prof. Dr. phil. Susan Kamel, Professor in Museum Studies, University of Applied Sciences (HTW), Berlin, Germany