Working with the SDGs

Re-visioning the SDGs as a way to prioritise and understand them

The Sustainable Development Goals are an immensely important framework around which there is international agreement. It is a collection of 17 goals set by the UN, also known as Agenda 2030 because it aims for achievement of targets by 2030. You can read more about each goal and the underlying targets here.

There has been some buzz about how they could be used to inform museum and cultural planning and engagement with communities. This kind of future-facing and global thinking is really exciting to see emerging in the cultural sector.

One issue is that there are quite a lot of goals, many very interdependent on each other, and there are a lot of detailed steps beneath each one. This might work for specialists delivering in very particular areas such as ocean health or child poverty. But harder for organisations that need to advocate or communicate them as a whole.


What if one role of culture is to help us reframe or re-vision them, and all the work that is required to deliver them so that our communities can buy into them? This process might help you as an organisation decide on your priorities and actions too. 

Start with the official grid graphic provided by the UN. 


Print some out and chop them up. Get some big sheets of paper and coloured pens or crayons. Reorganise them. Create shapes. Create maps. Create stories. Whatever works for your artform or approach, or perhaps for a target audience. What makes more sense?

Maybe you can work in small groups and then each share your ideas. 

What insights did you have? What does it tell you about what action you should take to support the Sustainable Development Goals?

Afterwards you might like to look at or use these different ways of representing the SDGs.