Smuggled letters in the museum

Smuggled letters in the museum

On Sunday 13 September, sixteen different groups took over BP-sponsored British Museum for a whole day of performances in resistance to oil sponsorship. This is a partial transcript of our performance that took place in the Museum’s room 56 (Mesopotamia collection).   This is a performance by Platform London in solidarity with Azerbaijan’s political prisoners....
#MuseumWeek special: British Museum's BP secrets revealed & more

#MuseumWeek special: British Museum’s BP secrets revealed & more

The latest just in: British Museum’s BP secrets revealed BP Or Not BP? forced British Museum to reveal: BP sponsorship was just £596,000 per year from 2000- 2011 – around 0.8% of the Museum’s income. The figures were revealed under Freedom Of Information Act, just a few weeks after we forced Tate to admit that BP’s...

Art and power: reflections on austerity and sponsorship

We often get asked: if we want the arts to be free from sponsorship by climate-wrecking oil companies, where’s the money going to come from? And aren’t we just going to push art institutions towards other corporate sponsors (arms dealers, banks) with tarnished reputations to polish? My immediate answer to this question is in the...
Guest post: why we picketed Student Pride

Guest post: why we picketed Student Pride

This is a guest blog by Hannah Smith. A shorter version of this piece appeared in Diva Magazine’s blog. A strange thing happened the very first time I went to a pride march; usually a chatterbox, I fell silent. Watching the procession I was overwhelmed by a connection to the queer community – my community...
We forced Tate to reveal BP secrets - now what?

We forced Tate to reveal BP secrets – now what?

Nearly three years after we first set out to find out how much BP gave Tate, the galleries  have finally revealed BP’s contribution between 1990-2006. The figures range between £150,000-£330,000 a year – even less than we expected. When I tried to lay the numbers out on a graph for comparison, it was hard to even get BP’s contribution to be visible...
Shake! takes on #StatesOfViolence

Shake! takes on #StatesOfViolence

This is a guest post by poet  and Shake! facilitator Zena Edwards. You can find more information about the next Shake! intensive course (16-20 February 2015) and how to apply here, and find Zena on Twitter: @ZenaEdwards Shake Youth Arts and Activism project has a new intensive course brewing. From Monday 16th February, we shall be...
2014: ten moments of a culture beyond oil

2014: ten moments of a culture beyond oil

What will we remember about the oil industry in 2014? Aside from falling oil prices and ongoing debates about fracking (did you know New York state just banned it?), there are more and more signs this year that ‘social licence’ is becoming the industry’s largest challenge (like this Canadian industry expert points out). Where would oil companies be without...
Tate director's puzzling response to the call to #DropBP

Tate director’s puzzling response to the call to #DropBP

This is a guest post by Tate Member Oliver Grant. Oliver came to Tate Members’ AGM last week and asked Tate Director Nick Serota to respond to Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s call for “people of conscience to break their ties with corporations financing the injustice of climate change.” Oliver reflects on Serota’s response.   The AGM was a...
What we discovered at Tate Members' AGM last week

What we discovered at Tate Members’ AGM last week

Tate Trustees will be reviewing the BP sponsorship agreement in 2016. – said Tate director Nicholas Serota in response to members’ questioning of the BP relationship. This means we have approximately a year to persuade Tate (as well as three other institutions – British Museum, Royal Opera House, and National Portrait Gallery) to take the challenge of climate change...
Bill McKibben slams Shell sponsorship at elite climate conference #CHclimate

Bill McKibben slams Shell sponsorship at elite climate conference #CHclimate

350.org’s Bill McKibben just gave a keynote address at Chatham House’s annual conference on climate change. Bill didn’t know it when he agreed to talk at the conference, but its headline sponsor is Shell. Here is what Bill said to a room full of “senior officials from businesses, government, NGO’s and academic institutions”:   Shell is...
Shell's climate marketing tricks

Shell’s climate marketing tricks

Have you seen all these new Shell ads? Billboards on high streets and tube stations celebrate Shell as a champion of climate action and “keeping-the-lights-on”. When she’s your age What’s the way to keep the lights on into 2050? Burn the rest of the world’s fossil fuels, of course. And look, she’s even got a...
Exciting week for ending the licence to spill

Exciting week for ending the licence to spill

Why do BP and Shell need cultural institutions (Tate, British Museum, National Portrait Gallery), consumer brands (Lego, Waitrose) and universities? The simple answer is so that the rest of us think we need them. As the Tate’s lawyer explained BP’s sponsorship, if they didn’t think they were getting something out of it, they wouldn’t do...