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Monthly blog archive July, 2011

The secret renegotiation of BP’s Iraqi oil contracts

During the second half of 2009, Iraq held two auctions of its largest oilfields, awarding them to multinational companies such as BP, Shell and ExxonMobil to operate under 20-year contracts. Between them the oilfields account for over 60% of Iraq’s reserves. The contracts were service contracts rather than the companies’ preferred production sharing agreements, which...

What Murdoch doesn’t want you to know about Shell Nigeria

In the week Rupert Murdoch’s media empire came close to collapse, the broadsheet branch of News International, The Times, ran a three part series on Shell in Nigeria. If you aren’t a subscriber, you can read the articles here and here. The paper dedicated plenty of column inches, time and resources to its  “official tour”...

Coming soon – the ‘Tate a Tate’ audio tour

Earlier this year, working alongside Liberate Tate and Art Not Oil, we made a call out to commission a sound artist to create an ‘alternate Tate audio tour’ – a work of site-specific sound art that would be themed around the issue of BP sponsorship of Tate. We were overwhelmed with almost 40 responses, and in the final shortlist, the...

Donors warn US university over artist’s climate change work

It’s 22nd July 2011, and another arts, fossil fuel sponsorship, censorship story breaks. There’s a furore over a newly commissioned public sculpture at the University of Wyoming. Wyoming is a US state which mines more coal than any other in the union. The piece, called Carbon Sink, What Goes Around Comes Around by British artist...

On not always labouring furiously

“The mind should not be kept continuously at the same pitch of concentration, but given amusing diversions… Our minds must relax: they will rise better and keener after a rest. Just as you must not force fertile farmlands, so uninterrupted productivity will soon exhaust it, so constant effort will sap our mental vigour, while a...

NNEKA: Soul is Heavy

This awesome track is from Niger Delta born, Hamburg-based Afropolitan star: NNEKA. An incredibly talented singer-songwriter, she combines unique vocals with a passion for the struggles of the Niger Delta people. NNEKA has been an outspoken supporter of the campaign for environmental and social justice in the Delta for many years. The song features a...

Shell sponsorship and censorship at Southbank Centre?

On 29th June, the Arts Council England finally announced its new “Catalyst Arts” philanthropy programme, aimed at pushing arts organisations towards a US-style corporate and private philanthropy culture. It’s ironic that 3 days later, PLATFORM had a close encounter with censorship from a major arts venue, the Shell-sponsored Southbank Centre, London. As part of the...

Ken Saro-Wiwa’s Living Memorial launched in Tottenham

On Tottenham Civic Day, 25th June, the day dawned damp. But we needn’t have worried. The weather held and a good crowd enjoyed the full programme of outdoor performances, creative artists’ stalls, and delicious barbecue that was laid on by the great staff at Bernie Grant Arts Centre. The Centre is the new home for...

Protesters Storm Shell Base at Kolo Creek

On Thursday 7 July, shortly after 6am, women and youth from communities in the Kolo Creek area of the Niger Delta protested against more than a decade of broken promises, oil spills and gas flaring from Shell. With only placards and palm fronds, peaceful protestors confronted heavily armed military soldiers and succeeded in breaching the gates of the Shell...