Photo credit: © 2021 Saty Namvar and Pratha Samyrajah
TORONTO, November 15, 2021— Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) today announced the appointment of environmental scientist and researcher Dr. Soren Brothers as the inaugural Allan and Helaine Shiff Curator of Climate Change. With the threat of the climate crisis reaching new levels of urgency, this position—the first role of its kind at a major museum—signals ROM’s intention to play a greater role advancing the science of climate change, biodiversity and conservation, and deepening public engagement on these vital topics.
“We are in urgent need of a course correction on climate change,” says Josh Basseches, ROM Director & CEO. “Given that the climate crisis is really about the interrelationship between human actions and the natural world, ROM is uniquely situated to address this pressing global issue. As one of the few museums in the world with a mandate cutting across art, culture, and nature, we have the capacity to take a holistic approach to communicating the effects of climate change through a transdisciplinary lens. With the appointment of Dr. Brothers, an accomplished scientific researcher and public communicator, the Museum is making a major commitment to broadly share knowledge and insights on climate change and help point the way to a sustainable future.”In his new role, Dr. Brothers will be responsible for working with colleagues across the Museum to weave evidence-based research and knowledge into ROM programming, exhibitions, and education that raise awareness and inspire ecological citizenship and action on the climate emergency and sustainability. The role will also involve building partnerships with a network of global collaborators to address the issue of climate change mitigation on a local and international level.
"I can't imagine a better place than ROM with its extensive arts, culture, and natural history collections to express the intimate relationship between humanity, nature, and our planet's climate,” says Dr. Brothers. “I'm hoping to harness all of these elements, along with current climate change research from around the world, to open pathways to new ideas and tangible solutions on this most pressing issue."
Dr. Brothers joins ROM from Utah State University, where he studied carbon cycling and metabolic processes in lakes and other aquatic ecosystems and their direct impact on climate change. A native of Toronto, Dr. Brothers holds a doctorate in limnology (the study of inland waters) from Potsdam University, Germany. With a breadth of expertise and experience in the field of environmental science, he brings an international reputation for collaboration and community outreach. He is currently leading a project that brings together 100 collaborators, representing every continent except Antarctica, to assess the importance of greenhouse gas emissions from desiccating environments.
This curatorship was made possible with the generous support of Allan and Helaine Shiff and the Louise Hawley Stone Charitable Trust.
“I am excited and proud to fund this important curatorship,” says Allan Shiff. “ROM is the only institution in Canada, with its unique mandate and reach, to create an inclusive platform for people to learn, exchange ideas, and tackle one of the greatest issues of our day. We have the opportunity to shape our collective future by bringing together a new movement of engaged citizens and researchers who will be a catalyst for change.”
The Allan and Helaine Shiff Curatorship of Climate Change is one of 35 curatorships at ROM and one of seven endowed curatorships to receive matching funds by the Louise Hawley Stone Charitable Trust.
Opened in 1914, Royal Ontario Museum showcases art, culture and nature from around the world and across the ages. Among the top 10 cultural institutions in North America, Canada’s largest and most comprehensive museum is home to a world-class collection of 13 million art objects and natural history specimens, featured in 40 gallery and exhibition spaces. As the country’s preeminent field research institute and an international leader in new and original findings, ROM plays a vital role in advancing our understanding of the artistic, cultural and natural world. Combining its original heritage architecture with the contemporary Daniel Libeskind-designed Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, ROM serves as a national landmark, and a dynamic cultural destination in the heart of Toronto for all to enjoy.