Platform newsletter March 2013

7 March 2013

Dear All,The first few months of 2013 have gone off with a bang at Platform! Not only has Shake! already had its first week-long session with young people on arts, media, race and power, we also launched a new briefing on oil companies and tax dodging, we’ve started running a variety of training sessions and workshops, we have a new opportunity for live artists to work with us and to cap it all off, Shell has announced that it’s pulling out of Arctic drilling in 2013.Making a Killing: Oil Companies, Tax Avoidance and Subsidies

Oil company mega-profits are being made at the expense of the public purse, as youth centres shut, hospitals struggle and the queues at food banks grow. Companies like BP & Shell are receive major government support including direct subsidies and military and diplomatic services, but seem to pay very small amounts of UK tax in comparison to their global profits. The briefing was referenced in a story on the front page of the Observer newspaper and you can download it here.

Workshops and Training

We’re pleased to announce a whole new series of workshops and trainings that we’re ready to run with other interested groups. The key areas that we’re offering are Art, Activism and Education; Campaigning and Projects; Finance and Fundraising and Organisational Structures. Have a look at the full list here to arrange a training or tailor a workshop to meet your group or organisation’s needs, and to set a price in line with your resources

Shake 2013 participants
The mentors and participants of the Feb 2013 Shake! course.

The spectacular Shake! launch

The first Shake! course for 2013 took place in February at the Stephen Lawrence Centre and it really set the mark for some ground-breaking projects to come. We were lucky to have a team of dynamic and diverse young people with each one bringing a unique perspective. Over the course of the week, we engaged with several topical issues such as; power, tar sands, gender, creative campaigning, race and media. These provided the foundation for the Shake!rs when they went into individual art forms of either spoken word/creative writing or film making, to create their own art pieces. The creative talent and capacity of the Shake!rs left everyone awestruck and over the next few weeks they will develop their work further to share at a performance showcase.

If you are interested in getting involved in our next Shake! course this Summer at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre in August or  would like more info, get in touch with us or check out the Shake! blog.

You can read an account of one person’s visit to Shake! while it was happening here, and also see some of the resources that were collated for the workshop on creative interventions on oil sponsorship here.

Shell suspends Arctic drilling for 2013

Shell has finally bowed down to the combined public pressure, White House and Coast Guard scrutiny, and announced it will not drill in the Alaskan Arctic this year while its drill-ships are getting repaired. A recent letter from Senator Ed Markey to Shell’s president Michael Odum reveals regular backfiring in the exhaust system that resulted in an explosion audible around the harbour in Unalaska and a fire in the stack of the ship. The drillship’s engines were discovered to have insufficient power to get it away from an iceberg. These violations only add on to the series of dangerous practices in Shell’s Arctic programme.

Throughout the past one and a half years Platform has been bringing these issues to pension funds and other investment institutions that hold shares in Shell (in collaboration with Greenpeace and FairPensions). For background on Shell’s Alaska drilling and the dubious economics of Arctic oil and gas, see our 2012 report, Out in the Cold. By getting asset managers to ask tricky questions of the company, we’re undermining the economics of the dash for frontier oil, bit by bit.

Read our blog on the Shell’s withdrawal from the Arctic.

Are fracking companies destroying an Egyptian village?

In the village of Fares in southern Egypt, seventy homes have collapsed. School corridors are underwater, the cemetery has become a swamp and acres of mango orchards ruined. The waters started to rise soon after oil company Dana Gas set off explosive charges in the ground close by between 2009-2010. Mika-Minio Paluello visited the village to investigate. Read their account here.

Flooded school playground in Fares
Flooded school playground in Fares. Photo: Mika Minio-Paluello

#DIY 10 Live Art, performance as protest and the online element

Platform is again taking part in the Live Art Development Agency‘s DIY season for artists working in Live Art to conceive and run unusual training and professional development projects for other artists. We’re looking for proposals that look at performance and protest via the internet. What approaches might artists want to explore for this kind of work? What questions does this raise for artists and groups making art interventions around where they situate their work, how they reach new audiences and the potential of the web to add a new layer to their performances? More information and the full list of 20 projects can be found here, and the deadline for proposals is April the 8th.

How you can help

To help fund Platform’s work please donate here. If you can, a regular, monthly donation is especially useful as it helps us to plan our future work with confidence. If you’d like to chat about the work we do or discuss how you’d prefer your donation to be spent, we’d be happy to talk to talk to you. You can contact any of our team on +44 (0)20 7403 3738 or email Tanya Hawkes.

Platform has always relied on the generosity of individual people to help support our work, especially when we have to take risks and work on controversial issues. During 2013 we’re hoping to talk to many of our donors and supporters about why they support Platform’s work and get feedback on how we can reach more people who might be interested in our work. If you’d like to help with this, we’d love to hear from you. Thank you for your support and taking an interest in Platform’s work- we really appreciate it.

Upcoming events

The Work of Art in Critical Times – Open Day Symposium at Falmouth University, 8-9 March 2013

The Oil Road at Exeter University, 11 March 2013

Temporary? An event on ethics, performance and oil sponsorship, 18 April 2013

Sponsorship discussion at the BSA Science Communication Conference 2013, 17 May 2013

Latest on the Blog

التكالب على بترول مصر

Shell suspends Arctic drilling for 2013

Art interventions – our presentation to Shake!

Osborne’s tax breaks for North Sea oil and a Thatcherism flashback

The price of gas: imports, repression and fuel poverty

Oil company mega-profits and the dwindling public purse

The Flooding of Fares – are oil companies destroying an Egyptian village?

Has RBS stopped financing the tar sands? (Spoiler: No)

Latest on Twitter

@mikaminio: £10mn from DfID_UK for British fossil fuel projects in Afghanistan before occupation “ends”  #EndFossilFuelSubsidies

@platformlondon: We love @FireboxLdn & had one of our #TheOilRoad events there – pls support their crowdfunding appeal

@platformlondon: [email protected] respond to one music critic @Nlebrecht’s issues with their Shell-inspired Southbank performance

@platformldon: [email protected] have erected a new exhibtion outside the @NationalGallery where Shell are having their yearly shindig

@platformlondon: We’re taking part in @thisisliveart’s #DIY10 Read the full list of calls for proposals here

@platformlondon: We’re inviting project proposals on Live Art, performance as protest and the online element as part of #DIY10

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