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This is about oil sponsorship, not corporate sponsorship, of the arts

This is about oil sponsorship, not corporate sponsorship, of the arts

At the end of September, the merry band of Bard-based interventionists, the Reclaim Shakespeare Company struck again in Stratford-Upon-Avon. Shortly before the BP-sponsored performance of Twelfth Night was due to begin, three actors took to the stage to perform a short piece addressing the issue of the controversial sponsorship relationship, including lines such as: Alas,...
Bowing to a dead dictator: pipelines, personality cults and the US Ambassador

Bowing to a dead dictator: pipelines, personality cults and the US Ambassador

Azeri democracy activists were enraged when in September, the new US Ambassador to Baku bowed down in front of the memorial to the late dictator Heydar Aliyev, father of the current dictator Ilham Aliyev.  The State Department initially tried to claim that Richard Morningstar had only laid a wreath of flowers at the memorial to...

Paul Mason discusses #TheOilRoad at the LRB Bookshop

On 4 October 2012, Newsnight economics editor, Paul Mason, was supposed to join Platform to discuss The Oil Road: Journeys from the Caspian Sea to the City of London at the LRB Bookshop. Unfortunately, Paul was called away at the last minute for filming, so he kindly made a pre-record of himself discussing some of...
Shell Classic International: A musical mask and a social licence

Shell Classic International: A musical mask and a social licence

A guest post from musician Chris Garrard. Tonight, the new season of the Shell Classic International concert series will open at the Southbank. The first piece of this first concert is Benajmin Britten’s ‘plea for peace’, the Sinfonia da Requiem. The unpleasant irony is that Shell, the sponsor of these concerts, have now spent in...
As BP's "Contract of the Century" comes of age, new book reveals untold story of corruption & power

As BP’s “Contract of the Century” comes of age, new book reveals untold story of corruption & power

Today, BP’s Baku mega-oil project – one of its largest in the world – comes of age, 18 years since the Contract of the Century was signed in September 1994. To mark the anniversary, Verso Books and Platform are releasing a new book detailing its hidden story of geo-political manipulation, imprisonment of critics and environmental...
MPs find government support for Arctic drilling 'reckless'

MPs find government support for Arctic drilling ‘reckless’

The UK government’s support for Arctic Oil drilling was labelled ‘reckless’ today by the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC). The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has been quietly supporting oil companies’ Arctic ambitions but this is the first time there has been public scrutiny of the department’s actions in relation to Arctic drilling. The Committee published...
Tales of Transition

Tales of Transition

James Marriott talks about Platform’s new book The Oil Road in advance of the Transition Network Conference taking place at Battersea Arts Centre. James will be inspiring people with stories of his travels from the oil fields of the Caspian to the refineries and financial centres of Northern Europe. He will also consider how we...
Talking memes

Talking memes

How can we use images to tell the stories we want to tell – and avoid repeating the ones we don’t? Photo memes are fast becoming a viral hit. Quicker than 30 second videos, the combination of an image and a short piece of text is being used across social media to convey jokes or...
Show us the money - will Dodd Frank force oil companies to reveal payments

Show us the money – will Dodd Frank force oil companies to reveal payments

Last Wednesday oil and gas lobbyists had a very bad day in the office when new US laws were introduced requiring the extractives sector to publish the payments they make to host governments. Industry groups had been aggressively lobbying to water down the regulations and succeeded in delaying their introduction by 16 months. But last...
Oil companies gave cash and contracts to militants and warlords in Nigeria

Oil companies gave cash and contracts to militants and warlords in Nigeria

Shell and Chevron have funded armed militant groups in the volatile Niger Delta region of Nigeria since at least 2003, according to oil-industry sources and US embassy cables. Both oil companies have also paid ‘protection’ money to other hostile groups for decades. Platform’s new briefing, as reported in the Daily Mail, is called Fuelling the Violence: Oil...
Oil money and the Academy

Oil money and the Academy

A guest blog post by Dr Alice Bell, an academic and writer interested in relationships between science and the public. She blogs at http://alicerosebell.wordpress.com/ and you can follow her on Twitter @AliceBell BP is to invest £64 million to set up an International Centre for Advanced Materials (BP-ICAM) based at the University of Manchester. It...

Dutch politicians investigate Shell on Nigeria allegations

Business Day – August 23, 2012