Media coverage 2019

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National Theatre to end Shell membership from next year

The NT follows the RSC’s lead

Guardian, Nazia Parveen; 4th October 2019

Royal Shakespeare Company to end BP sponsorship deal

The biggest win to date for the movement to end oil sponsorship

Guardian, Matthew Taylor; 2nd October 2019

Corporate sponsors have a golden grip on the art world [paywall]

Op-ed about the ethics of corporate sponsorship

FT, Rachel Spence; 19th August 2019

Artists Demand Answers One Year After Withdrawing Work From London Design Museum

The Nope to Arms artists collective removed their work from the Design Museum’s ‘From Hope to Nope’ exhibition last year because of the museum’s ties to arms manufacturer Leonardo.

The collective’s demand for a response is also covered by Frieze and Arts Professional.

Hyperallergic, Hakim Bishara; 2nd August 2019

Science Museum defends oil and gas sponsorship [paywall]

Ian Blatchford, Science Museum’s director, defends partnership with BP, Shell and Equinor in email to staff

FT, James Pickford; 2nd August 2019

The Spectator Podcast

Culture Unstained co-director Chris Garrard debating Claire Fox: should arts institutions take money from dubious donors like BP and the Sackler family?

Spectator Radio; 1st August 2019

Michael Hintze: Natural History Museum Offered Perks to Benefactor and Climate Science Denial Donor

Freedom of Information request by Culture Unstained exposes the NHM’s relationship with a climate-change-denying donor.

DeSmog, Richard Collett-White; 31st July 2019

British Museum challenged over sponsorship deal with BP [paywall]

Report on the public debate between Culture Unstained’s Chris Garrard and representatives from BP and the British Museum.

The debate was also covered by artnet, and Art Forum.

FT, James Pickford; 31st July 2019

Tortoise Breakfast ThinkIn – Should arts organisations take money from oil companies?

Live streaming of Culture Unstained co-director Chris Garrard debating oil sponsorship with representatives from BP and the British Museum.

Tortoise; 30th July 2019

Museums nearing a tipping point on sponsorship, says trustee who resigned from BM

Ahdaf Soueif calls on museums to take a broader view of their responsibilities and thanks campaigners for raising awareness

Museums Association, Geraldine Kendall Adams; 24th July 2019

Comment: British Museum’s BP Cheerleading Shows Why Big Oil Loves Arts Sponsorship

Culture Unstained co-director Jess Worth corrects the untruths spouted in BP’s defence by the British Museum’s chair, in a comment piece for DeSmog UK

DeSmog, Jess Worth; 22nd July 2019

British Museum Staffers Criticise ‘Troubling’ BP Sponsorship; Defend Trustee Who Quit In Protest

The British Museum’s PCS Union branch issued a statement supporting Ahdaf Soueif’s resignation from the museum’s board, citing BP’s use of the museum for greenwashing

The union’s support also covered in the Guardian, Art News, Art Forum and Artsy.

Frieze; 19th July 2019

On Resigning from the British Museum’s Board of Trustees

Novelist Ahdaf Soueif lays out her reasons for resigning from the British Museum’s board, which include BP sponsorship

Soueif’s resignation is picked up by the Guardian, the BBC, Telegraph, Hyperallergic, Art News, Arts Professional, Art Review, artnet, and Museums Association.

London Review of Books, Ahdaf Soueif, 15th July 2019

BP boss says protests against its arts funding ‘just feel odd’

Bob Dudley responds to growing pressure on cultural institutions to break ties with oil company.

Also covered by the Stage.

The Guardian, Jillian Ambrose; 11th July 2019

Why in an Age of Climate Crisis, the Art World Must Shun Oil Sponsorship

Opinion piece about how the art world responds to the climate emergency, in light of the growing movement against oil sponsorship and the formation of Culture Declares Emergency

Frieze, Mel Evans; 8th July 2019

British Museum director endorses controversial sponsor BP as part of future vision

Directors of the British Museum and the National Portrait Gallery reject demands to drop the oil company as a sponsor

Also covered in the FT [paywall] and Le Figaro.

The Art Newspaper, Gareth Harris; 8th July 2019

Sir Antony Gormley urges gallery to end BP sponsorship

The sculptor discussed the letter from 78 artists to the NPG calling on them to drop BP as a sponsor on Radio 4’s Today programme.

BBC News; 6th July 2019

Five Turner winners call on National Portrait Gallery to cut ties with BP

78 leading artists, including former winners of the BP Portrait award, call on the NPG to end its relationship with the giant oil company.

The artists’ letter is also covered by the New York Times, Hyperallergic, artnet, Dazed, Frieze and the Ecologist, and BBC2’s Newsnight hosted a discussion about oil sponsorship in the arts (see a short clip here).

The Guardian, Matthew Taylor; 5th July 2019

Saying No to BP and Shell Today: Hard Choices Have to be Made [blog]

In the aftermath of Mark Rylance’s resignation, Jonathon Porritt cites the work of Culture Unstained and other organisations as being influential in shifting the conversation around oil sponsorship

Jonathon Porritt; 4th July 2019

Acteurs breken met Shakespeare-gezelschap vanwege oliebedrijf BP [Dutch]

The Dutch NOS (Dutch Broadcast Foundation) reports on Mark Rylance and Miriam Margolyes’ boycott of the RSC over BP sponsorship

NOS; 28th June 2019

Politics Live [episode not available for viewing]

Artist Paul Benney discusses BP’s sponsorship of the National Portrait Gallery’s BP Portrait Award

BBC Two; 27th June 2019

Miriam Margolyes joins Mark Rylance’s RSC boycott over BP

Rylance’s resignation from the Royal Shakespeare Company is supported by fellow actor and Greta Thunberg.

Also reported in the Telegraph and Stratford-upon-Avon Herald.

The Guardian, Matthew Taylor; 27th June 2019

The tide has turned on BP sponsorship – now cultural institutions like the Royal Shakespeare Company must act

Culture Unstained co-director in the Independent asking why, despite growing opposition, BP still has the backing of directors and boards

Independent, Chris Garrard; 24th June 2019

Green groups step up battle against oil companies’ arts funding

Following Rylance’s resignation the campaign to rid the British Museum, Royal Opera House, National Portrait Gallery and the RSC from oil sponsorship is continuing

The Times, Grant Tucker; 23rd June 2019

The art of ethics: how galleries are confronting dodgy money

Think piece putting Culture Unstained’s work on oil sponsorship in a wider context of ethical funding of the arts

New Statesman, Ellen Peirson-Hagger; 22nd June 2019

Mark Rylance resigns from RSC over BP sponsorship

The respected actor resigns over the theatre’s continuous sponsorship deal with BP. Read Rylance’s own account of his step in this opinion piece, a full version of which can be found here.

The Guardian, Matthew Taylor; 21st June 2019

Mark Rylance’s resignation from the Royal Shakespeare Company is also covered by the BBC, Independent, The Stage and Le Figaro (French) among others. Jonathon Porritt discussed oil sponsorship of the RSC on the BBC’s World Tonight.

Natural History Museum refuses request to cut ties with fossil fuels industry

Extinction Rebellion joins the calls for the NHM to drop oil sponsorship

The London Economic, Joe Mellor; 20th June 2019

Front Row: Mark Ronson, Arts sponsorship, Toy Story 4 director Josh Cooley

Culture Unstained Co-Director Chris Garrard talking about how the climate emergency shines a spotlight on BP sponsorship

BBC Radio 4; 19th June 2019

As Museums Ditch Controversial Donors, Climate Activists Are Eyeing a BP-Sponsored Blockbuster Coming to the British Museum

Despite growing controversy BP is still sponsoring new exhibitions at the British Museum

artnet, Javier Pes; 19h June 2019

RSC faces further calls to sever ties with BP

Extinction Rebellion joins the call for the RSC to stop giving BP the social legitimacy they buy with their sponsorship

Stratford-upon-Avon Herald, Ben Lugg; 16th June 2019

Poll: Is it-time-for-museums-to-drop-fossil-fuel-sponsorship?

Following the series of protests against oil companies sponsoring museums

Museums Association, Geraldine Kendall Adams; 14th June 2019

Extinction Rebellion stages mass protest at BP-sponsored Royal Opera House screening

Following the letter from 200 musicians to Mayor Sadiq Khan about the BP-branded opera

Letter and XR protest also covered in The Ecologist.

The Stage, Georgia Snow; 12th June 2019

Review: BP Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery

“It’s not the pictures that people are talking about. It’s the sponsor.”

The Times, Rachel Campbell-Johnston; 11th June 2019

Anti-Oil Activists Block Entrance of National Portrait Gallery to Protest BP Sponsorship

Continuing the pressure on the National Portrait Gallery to drop BP as sponsor of their portrait award

Hyperallergic, Naomi Polanski; 11th June 2019

Musicians urge Sadiq Khan to drop permission for BP-branded opera broadcasts

Branding of free screenings in Trafalgar Square by the Royal Opera House gives BP a ‘social licence to operate’.

Story also covered in The Times.

Rhinegold Publishing, Lucy Thraves; 11th June 2019

Leading artists call on National Portrait Gallery to cut ties to BP

The NPG’s ‘BP Portrait Award’ comes under fire, including from one of the award’s own judges

The Guardian, Matthew Taylor; 9th June 2019

The artists’ letter was also reported on by the BBC, Telegraph, the Art Newspaper, artnet and Hyperallergic. Gary Hume was interviewed on The Today programme on June 10th and the issue was the focus of Thought for the Day’ on Radio 4 on June 11.

Opinion: BP’s Aberdeen Gallery Donation Can’t Hide Its Big Oil Investments

‘BP Galleries’ in Aberdeen – the details mainstream reporting forgot to mention

DeSmog, Chris Garrard (Culture Unstained); 29th May 2019

Austerity starves our culture

Privatisation, oil sponsorship and other austerity-damages. Discussing some alternatives

Red Pepper, Clara Paillard; 16th May 2019

Laura Flanders Show: Standing up to the Sacklers

Our co-director Jess Worth discusses the Sackler Trust, cultural donations and ethical sponsorship (video). Longer audio version available here

The Laura Flanders Show; 6th May 2019

Turner Prize Drops Sponsor Whose Chairman Led Anti-Gay Campaign

Another example of a cultural organization responding positively after artists raise ethical concerns about a sponsor

The New York Times, Alex Marshall ; 3rd May 2019

In the Balance: The Giving Business

Culture Unstained weighs in on whether galleries should take money from the likes of big oil (audio)

BBC World, In the Balance; 21st April 2019

Museums are urged to distance themselves from Sackler name

More high-profile artists call on more arts institutions to stop taking money from the Sackler Trust

Museums Association, Geraldine Kendall Adams; 17th April 2019

Are oil companies losing their social license?

Opposition to fossil fuel sponsorship is growing, in the UK and in Europe

New Internationalist, Danny Chivers; 16th April 2019

Business Daily: when big business sponsors the arts

Culture Unstained co-director Jess Worth debates Claire Fox on whether arts organisations should take money from big oil (audio)

BBC World Service, Business Daily; 9th April 2019

Social Power: Fossil Fuel Divestment

By taking their money, arts institutions give fossil fuel companies a ‘social licence to operate’

Social Power; 4th April 2019

Edinburgh science festival charity bans fossil fuel sponsorship

Shell and Total among fossil fuel companies who will no longer sponsor the festival, following a campaign by Science Unstained

The Guardian, Severin Carrell; 3rd April 2019

Art institutions need to look carefully at the ethics of potential sponsors

Following the National Portrait Gallery’s rejection of Sackler Trust donation (video)

Sky News; 29th March 2019

Moral Maze: Moral Purity

Our co-Director Chris Garrard appears on an episode of the Moral Maze, discussing art funding from unethical sources (audio)

BBC Radio 4; 27th March 2019

Art-activists on the importance of fighting complicity in the art world

Art activism and donations from the Sackler Trust recently rejected by major institutions

Dazed, Chris Hayes; 25th March 2019

Fossil fuel companies have backed spread of climate change misinformation [paywall]

Letter – National Portrait Gallery rejected Sackler donation, what about fossil fuel companies? (paywall)

FT, Chris Garrard (Culture Unstained); 24th March 2019

National Portrait Gallery drops £1m grant from Sackler family

First major art institution gives up Sackler donation, following pressure from photographer Nan Goldin over its links to the opioid crisis

The Guardian, Nadeem Badshah; 19th March 2019

Iraq, BP and the British Museum – look upon these works and hang our heads in shame

Reflections on the legacy of BP in Iraq, government influence, human rights, and the recent British Museum protest (blog post)

Platform, James Marriott; 14th March 2019

BP’s Basra operations praised by British ambassador prior to fatal civil unrest

Report on BP in Iraq, government influence, human rights

Desmog UK, Sophie Yeo; 21st February 2019

BP sponsorship of the British Museum needs to end

Culture Unstained Co-Director Chris Garrard interviewed on Sky News ahead of BP or not BP?’s protest at the BP-sponsored British Museum (video)

Sky News; 16th February 2019


Navneskiftet handler bare om tynn PR. Equinor er fortsatt er et oljeselskap

Interview on Equinor sponsorship at Science Museum (Norwegian)

Aftenposten, Erlend Skarsaune; 7th February 2019

BP’s new ad campaign is lipstick on a pig (has anyone forgotten the Deepwater Horizon oil spill?)

BP launches its greenwash ad campaign

Red, Green and Blue; 1st February 2019

BP’s first global advertising campaign since Deepwater Horizon accused of being ‘deceptive and hypocritical’

Our response to BP’s new ad campaign

Desmog, Chloe Farand; 29th January 2019