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Empowering kids to bring life to Sarawak’s rivers

Helping to instigate change

In August 2018 a NorthernLight design team travelled to Sarawak in the Malaysian portion of Borneo. A dynamic state characterized by lush jungles, crystal-clear oceans and abundant wildlife, Sarawak – like every other place on earth – is unfortunately struggling with environmental issues. In a bid to help instigate change, NorthernLight is designing a Children’s Gallery for the island’s new museum.

Inspiring and activating a young audience

During our visit we presented our concept for the Children’s Gallery. The goal was to create an exhibition that empowers the youth to take care of their local environment – specifically Sarawak’s waterways. We conceived an imaginative journey in which kids are accompanied by three River Guardians. Some of Sarawak’s rivers are heavily polluted; we encountered some fetid rubbish-clogged examples during our stay. To understand people’s relationship to the local environment and how familiar they are with sustainable green practices, we visited schools, nature reserves and businesses. What we learned was that although sustainability is present on paper – through posters and signage, for instance – it is not strongly embedded in everyday behaviour, despite some of the state’s traditional practices being inherently eco-friendly. This information granted both a challenge and an opportunity in developing a meaningful kids experience. It should move beyond signs and posters to prompt real empathy for the issue, as well as inspiration for solutions and empowerment for self-driven change.

Showcasing Sarawak’s rich heritage

The Sarawak Museum Campus Project is a state-funded scheme to revive the institution’s international status. Showcasing Sarawak’s rich history and cultural heritage while incorporating education and public-outreach programmes, the new museum is aiming to become a world-class campus – and one of the best museums in the region.


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NorthernLight Design

NorthernLight Design conceives, designs, builds and installs exhibitions for a wide variety of exhibitors. Clients include museums, children museums, science centres, expos, private companies and urban entertainment developers. We provide turn-key results, specialising in taking a project from first concept to production and installation. Action and interaction are central to our approach.