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"Art is direct, it challenges the authorities, the power structure" Ken Saro-Wiwa jr, 1968 - 2016

“Art is direct, it challenges the authorities, the power structure” Ken Saro-Wiwa jr, 1968 – 2016

Yesterday at All Saints Church in Fulham, London, we attended a celebration of the life of journalist, government special advisor, and digital tech innovator Ken Saro-Wiwa jr. His life was suddenly cut short at the age of 47. We are sorrowed by this profound loss to the Saro-Wiwa family, and of a talented man invested in...
We took the stage for jailed Egyptian activists at British Museum's BP-branded big lecture

We took the stage for jailed Egyptian activists at British Museum’s BP-branded big lecture

Today, at the BP sponsored British Museum, we remembered political prisoners and friends jailed in Egypt. In particular, we remembered Alaa Abd El Fattah, Aya Hejazi, Ahmed Maher, Ahmed Douma, Yousef Shabaan, Mahmoud Shawkan, and Abdullah Al Fakhrani, who are amongst the tens of thousands of dissidents imprisoned by Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s regime. Holding larger-than-life...
We are still feeling the aftershocks of Ken Saro-Wiwa’s murder 21 years later

We are still feeling the aftershocks of Ken Saro-Wiwa’s murder 21 years later

November 10th marked the 21st anniversary of Ken Saro-Wiwa’s murder by Nigeria’s military dictatorship for challenging Shell’s devastation of his home – Ogoniland. His only remaining son died a few weeks before this terrible anniversary. His funeral was this week. Last year, at the request of allies in the Niger Delta still resisting Shell’s oil...
Paradigm shift in the House of the North – reflecting on ‘The Sky’s Limit’

Paradigm shift in the House of the North – reflecting on ‘The Sky’s Limit’

  I’m trudging towards the top of Am Faochagach following my dear friend Greg Muttitt, who was for a long time central to Platform and is now part of the wider family. The smooth crest of this mountain rises like a whale’s back. Its lack of crags must have led to its name – Am...
So Switched On - The dream of London’s energy democracy

So Switched On – The dream of London’s energy democracy

The train hurries south on the main line towards Brighton, carrying me away from the event I have just attended, ‘Power to Us’ organised by Switched on London at Myatt’s Fields in Brixton. Looking out from the carriage, over the roofs of the houses of Purley stacked up this steep sided North Downs valley at...
Today's oil drilling round could bust us through UK’s climate limits

Today’s oil drilling round could bust us through UK’s climate limits

The UK government is pushing a massive new offshore drilling programme, that will take the UK beyond its climate limits. Oil companies had until 2pm today to bid for 1200 blocks covering large swathes of the sea off North-west and North-east Scotland and England. This is the the 29th Offshore Licensing Round, and it aims to identify hundreds of millions in...
Subsidising spills - British public pays BP $300 million to drill and spill

Subsidising spills – British public pays BP $300 million to drill and spill

BP came under criticism this week when it caused a 95 tonne oil leak from its Clair Field into the North Sea. The company decided not to clear up the spill, and wait for the oil to wash further out to sea. The new spill comes as BP no longer pays net taxes to the...
For Lucy Fairley, founder of Helix Arts and Crossings

For Lucy Fairley, founder of Helix Arts and Crossings

My friend and Platform ally Lucy Fairley has died, aged 70. We’ve known her and her work for nearly 25 years and worked especially closely with her in the late 1990s. She founded Artists Agency in Sunderland in 1983, and in 1987 appointed Esther Salamon to join her initially as Placement Officer, then as in...
First UK Pension Fund divests 100% from fossil fuels

First UK Pension Fund divests 100% from fossil fuels

We won! Last week the pension fund committee of London Borough of Waltham Forest became the first UK public authority to announce its commitment to go 100% fossil free. The decision to divest was unanimously agreed by both Labour and Tory councillors. Why is this important? Exactly a year ago, we published our data, showing...
The new is being born - reflections on Paul Mason’s ‘Postcapitalism’

The new is being born – reflections on Paul Mason’s ‘Postcapitalism’

  In these days of constant turbulence, in which what is nonsense on Tuesday becomes common sense on Wednesday, and what is common sense on Thursday becomes nonsense on Friday, I have found Paul Mason’s ‘Postcapitalism’ a valuable touchstone. This is a book profound, provocative and demanding a response. With boldness and a breadth of...
This is water defending itself – Protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline on Westminster Bridge

This is water defending itself – Protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline on Westminster Bridge

Forty feet wide by ten feet high the banner drapes delicately from the solid structure of Westminster Bridge. Standing at the parapet, gazing down at the brown river, we can see the upturned faces of over a hundred passengers looking up at us from the tourist vessel ‘Millennium Dream’. They are clearly trying to decipher...
Strip away the carapace – the Ice Age, BP, and the British Museum

Strip away the carapace – the Ice Age, BP, and the British Museum

It pushes me quickly to tears. I’m kneeling on the cold stone floor of the Great Court, legs tucked beneath me, one foot crossed under the other. I’m listening to a rendition of A Requiem to Sinking Cities – an agit-performance in the heart of the British Museum. Silent figures hold up two banners, ‘#DropBP’...
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