Media Coverage

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Explore media coverage, opinion pieces and blogs relating to our work on oil sponsorship of arts and culture. This page also includes coverage of activity by other groups where they directly reference or relate to our work.

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See media coverage in previous years:     2020    2019    2018    2017    2016

Letters: Museums must take more care with their donors

“We need to discriminate between donations that are genuinely philanthropic and the money paid by a fossil fuel company which is clearly a transaction undertaken with the aim of enhancing their reputation.” 

Chris Garrard, The Guardian, 8 March 2023

Critics line up to condemn Science Museum’s sponsorship deal with Adani Green Energy

Bob Watson, a former Chair of the IPCC said: “It is totally inappropriate for the Science Museum to highlight the role of Adani Green Energy without highlighting the role of Adani in being a major contributor to human-induced climate change due to its vast fossil fuel activities”

Joe Ware, The Art Newspaper, 1 March 2023

Science Museum sponsorship deal with oil firm included gag clause

The Guardian reports on non-disparagement clauses in the Science Museum’s sponsorship contracts with fossil fuel companies, where it agrees not to say anything that could damage the sponsor’s reputation. “Environmental groups claim the Science Museum has lost its ability to honestly discuss the true impact of the oil and gas sector on the environment.”

Wil Crisp, The Guardian, 16 February 2023

Edinburgh firm has £50m investment in embattled coal giant

The Ferret investigates abrdn’s investment in coal conglomerate, Adani. We welcomed the news that the Edinburgh Festival’s relationship with abrdn had ended: “Sponsoring art, culture and sport allows the architects of the climate crisis to project an image of themselves as generous, progressive and green, giving them a social legitimacy they don’t deserve. ”

Paul Dobson, The Ferret, 10 February 2023

Royal Opera House’s controversial BP sponsorship ends after 33 years

“The Royal Opera House has become the latest cultural venue to cut ties with BP, as the oil giant’s sponsorship ended after 33 years. The move follows protests from environmental campaigners about the company’s funding of the London venue as well as other arts institutions.”

BBC, 25 January 2023

BP sponsorship of Royal Opera House ends after 33 years

“Campaigners have hailed a “seismic shift” in arts funding after the Royal Opera House confirmed it had severed its sponsorship relationship with BP after more than three decades. The oil and gas multinational has been a sponsor of the ROH since 1988. ”

Esther Addley, The Guardian, 25 January 2023

Analysis: Is the writing on the wall for the British Museum’s BP deal?

With two months to go until the existing contract expires at the conclusion of the BP-supported Hieroglyphics exhibition in February – which has been particularly controversial given BP’s work in Egypt – neither side has yet said anything about whether the partnership will continue.

Esther Addley, The Guardian, 11 December 2022

British Museum urged to raise human rights abuses as Egypt show opens

“The fact that the British Museum will open a new Egypt exhibition without acknowledging that this major diplomatic issue is happening could put a British citizen’s life at further risk,” said the letter. “Egyptian authorities observe such events closely and use them to deflect criticism abroad.”

Geraldine Kendall Adams, Museums Association, 14 October 2022

British Museum urged to drop BP sponsor deal for Egypt exhibition

The British Museum “should not celebrate Egypt’s cultural past while ignoring the human rights situation in the present, or the climate impacts Egypt faces in the future”.

Ruth Michaelson, The Guardian, 11 October 2022

BP sponsored British Museum forced to close early because of heatwave

“It will be a source of shame if, after weeks of record-breaking temperatures, the museum looks the other way and continues to let BP brand its next major exhibition, helping to deflect from the company’s role in fuelling climate breakdown.” – Chris Garrard, Culture Unstained Co-Director

Greg Barradale, The Big Issue, 20 July 2022

Hundreds of teachers boycott Science Museum show over Adani sponsorship

More than 400 sign open letter expressing opposition to tie-in with green energy subsidiary of coal-miner.

Matthew Taylor, The Guardian, 15 July 2022

How Museums shape our society

Our Co-Director Chris talks to Geoff Lloyd about museums, fossil fuel sponsorship and the connections to Climate Justice.

Reasons to be Cheerful podcast, 4 July 2022

A New Book Explores How Decades of Activism Resulted in the Power Shifts Upending Today’s Art World

An excerpt from “Takedown: Art and Power in the Digital Age”, a new book that our Co-Director Jess was interviewed for.

Farah Nayeri, ArtNet, 26th April 2022

British Museum: BP sponsorship called ‘inappropriate’

We are interviewed in this piece about an upcoming mass protest at the British Museum.

Isabella Boneham, NationalWorld, 22nd April 2022

Boris Johnson Meets Coal Baron on India Tour Despite Calling For End to Dirtiest Fossil Fuel

“Our leaders, in both politics and the museums sector, must stop cosying up to this coal baron and instead call him out on his highly destructive business activities” – Jess Worth, Culture Unstained Co-Director

Adam Barnett, DeSmog, 21st April 2022

Climate and heritage experts call on British Museum to end BP sponsorship

The Guardian covers our formal submission to British Museum Trustees.

Nadia Khomami, The Guardian, 19th April 2022

New Scientist Festival Shuns Fossil Fuel Sponsorship After Campaign Pressure

“It’s fantastic that young people excited and inspired by science will no longer have to be confronted by the logos of the very companies that are threatening their futures in order to enjoy this event. This should send a powerful message to the Science Museum that fossil fuel sponsors have no place in science education.” – Genevieve Dawson, Culture Unstained

Adam Barnett, DeSmog, 11th March 2022

Revitalising artistic activism in the age of art-wash

Co-director of Culture Unstained, Chris Garrard writes for Red Pepper:

“We must move beyond thinking of art as a decorative add-on to protest – and to instead approach it as a means for activism. This isn’t just a nice sounding idea but a necessary strategy. When major polluters instrumentalise art – by sponsoring our museums and galleries in order to ‘art-wash’ their tarnished brands – we have to reclaim it and discover the ways in which our own art-making can build power.”

Chris Garrard, Red Pepper, 23rd February, 2022

Scottish National Ballet ends sponsorship deal with BP

Scottish Ballet has confirmed it will no longer be sponsored by oil giant BP, saying it does not fit with the dance company’s “green action plan”.

It joins the National Portrait Gallery, which announced the end of its partnership with BP on Tuesday.

Campaigners have urged the arts and culture sector to cut all ties to oil companies over claims of greenwashing.

BBC News, 23rd February, 2022

This story was also covered in The Herald and The Stage

National Portrait Gallery and Scottish Ballet cut ties with BP

The Telegraph reveals that as well as the National Portrait Gallery, Scottish Ballet has said its agreement with BP no longer “aligns with the company’s green action plan – to be carbon neutral by 2030” and that it had ended the deal on January 31.

Rachel Millard and Craig Simpson, The Telegraph, 23rd Feb 2022

National Portrait Gallery ends BP sponsorship under pressure from activists

“Chris Garrard, co-director of Culture Unstained, one of several groups that have campaigned against BP’s involvement with the arts, described the gallery’s decision to halt the relationship as a “significant win”. “It’s a sign BP is really running out of culture institutions where it can clean up its image,” he said.”

William Wallis, The Financial Times, 22nd Feb 2022
This story was also covered in The Times, The Art Newspaper, The Independent, Art Net, HyperAllergic, Grist, The Daily Mail and the Evening Standard.

National Portrait Gallery and BP sponsorship to cut ties after 30 years

After years of protest and opposition, the National Portrait Gallery and BP announce they will not extend their partnership beyond December 2022, when their contract comes to an end.

Nadia Khomami, The Guardian, 22nd Feb 2022

Stonehenge Glories are tarnished by British Museum’s oil giant backer

Two of the signatories of the 300 archaeologists’ open letter to the British Museum lay out their reasoning. “This is a decisive moment for the British Museum: its agreement with BP is due for renewal this year and its future hangs in the balance.”

Natasha Reynolds and David Wengrow, The Observer, 20th February 2022

Revealed: Secretive corporate group guiding British Museum

Channel 4 breaks a Culture Unstained investigation, revealing that leading figures from large corporations, including oil giant BP, are members of an influential but almost entirely unaccountable group advising the British Museum in secretive meetings.

Alex Thompson, Channel 4 News, 17th February 2022

Science Museum ‘must lay down conditions’ to fossil fuel sponsors

UK’s former chief scientific adviser Sir David King adds to growing pressure on the London museum, as the Guardian also reports on a follow-up letter to museum Chair Mary Archer from the signatories of the Contributors’ Boycott.

Matthew Taylor, The Guardian, 16th December 2021

Indigenous leaders urge London’s Science Museum to cut ties with Adani

Indigenous leaders on the frontline of the climate crisis are calling on the Science Museum to cancel its sponsorship deal with a company they say is responsible for widespread destruction in their homelands, in this letter we helped co-ordinate.

Matthew Taylor, The Guardian, 7th December 2021

Science Museum signed gagging clause with subsidiary of coal and energy giant Adani

Channel 4 News reveals that the Science Museum Group has signed another gagging clause as part of a sponsorship deal – this time with Adani.

Fatima Manji, Channel 4 News, 19th November 2021

Dozens of academics shun Science Museum over fossil fuel ties

The Guardian reveals that 60 scientists and contributors have signed a letter we co-ordinated, committing not to work with the Science Museum group until it announces a moratorium on fossil fuel partnerships.

Matthew Taylor, The Guardian, 19th November 2021

The Science Museum Wants Their Plastic Samples. They Refused

We are quoted in this story about three microplastic researchers who have backed out of an arrangement to send materials to the Science Museum in London in protest at its controversial deal with Shell. The Guardian also covered it here.

Matt Reynolds, Wired, 16th November 2021

Revealing Johnson’s talks with BP not ‘in public interest’, UK government says

We are quoted, talking about how difficult it has been to get the UK government to respond to our COP-related FOI requests.

Jenna Corderoy, Open Democracy, 11th November 2021

Hannah Fry on the Book Shambles podcast

Hannah Fry talks about her resignation on Robin Ince’s Book Shambles podcast at 44.45 minutes in. She reveals: ‘This was not the first action I took as a trustee… I hope that the resignation has the effect that the museum reflects on some of the criticism that’s come and approaches it with more scientific values of openness, inviting scrutiny and intellectual humility’

Book Shambles podcast, 4th November 2021

Trustees resign from Science Museum Group over Adani deal

The MA covers the story of two resignations from the Science Museum Group, as does the Art Newspaper, the Daily Mail and India Today.

Geraldine Kendall Adams, Museums Association, 2nd November 2021

BP boss’s COP26 talk on human rights blasted as ‘insult’

We respond to the news that BP’s CEO has snuck into the COP26 climat summit despite being barred from sponsorship or official participation.

Rob Edwards, The Ferret, 2nd November 2021

Cop26: Presenter Hannah Fry quits over Science Museum’s coal links [paywall]

“This is a debate where young people are leading the charge, and I cannot in good conscience remain in post while the museum is not listening to the very people it was built to inspire.”

Tom Ball, The Times, 30th October 2021

Front Row: with Science Museum director Ian Blatchford

We appear, as well as Science Museum director Ian Blatchford – who was not willing to debate us directly – talking about the problem with Adani’s sponsorship of the museum.

Front Row, BBC Radio 4, 26th October 2021

Fossil fuel firms were blocked from sponsoring COP26, with organisers questioning their net-zero plans

Culture Unstained’s co-director Dr Chris Garrard said: “For years, oil companies have been given prominent platforms at the UN climate negotiations, promoting themselves as climate leaders while they continued to pour millions into new fossil fuels – so this is a big step forward.”

Edie, 22nd October 2021

No formal Cop26 role for big oil amid doubts over firms’ net zero plans

The Guardian covers our investigation showing that major oil companies have been barred from sponsorship deals and official involvement at the COP26 climate summit, due to doubts over their claims of going ‘net zero’.

Matthew Taylor, The Guardian, 21st October 2021

Chris Garrard on BBC Politics Live

In the wake of the Adani announcement, our Co-Director Chris set up why Adani should have no place in the Science Museum: “Adani is behind the largest coalmine in Australia, which has been resisted by Indigenous communities.”

BBC Politics Live, 20th October 2021

Science Museum strikes ‘astonishing’ new sponsorship deal with coal giant Adani

They note the agreement comes weeks after protests and the resignation of a board member amid the huge backlash against Shell ‘greenwashing’ exhibition.

Harry Cockburn, The Independent, 19th October 2021

Science Museum chooses fossil fuel company as new climate show sponsor

The Guardian quotes Adrian Burragubba, an Indigenous traditional owner of land targeted by Adani for a huge coal mine: “By putting this company on a pedestal, the Science Museum is complicit in Adani’s violation of our human rights and destruction of our ancestral lands.”

Damian Carrington, The Guardian, 19th October 2021

London’s Science Museum agrees sponsorship with arm of coal producer Adani Group [paywall]

The FT breaks the huge story that the Science Museum has signed yet another fossil fuel sponsorship deal – this time with a coal company!

James Pickford, Financial Times, October 19th 2021

Science Museum board member resigns over oil sponsorship

Science Museum board member Professor Chris Rapley resigns over oil sponsorship. Also covered in City AM, the Museums Journal, Arts Professional, Museums and Heritage Advisor and the Ecologist.

Helen William, Evening Standard, 2nd October 2021

Science Museum used ‘misleading tool’ to justify big oil sponsorship

The Science Museum takes down a placard created by a student for the school climate strikes after UKSCN London, who organised the strikes, called for it to be removed from an exhibition sponsored by Shell.

Lanre Bakare, The Guardian, 9th September 2021

Science Museum used ‘misleading tool’ to justify big oil sponsorship [paywall]

An in-depth look at the museum’s use of the ‘entirely unsuitable’ Transition Pathway Initiative ‘management quality index’ to argue that its oil sponsors are doing enough on climate change.

Adele Redmond, Arts Professional, 5th August 2021

The Science Museum’s ‘Gagging Clause’ is the Tip of the Iceberg When it Comes to its Flawed Approach to Climate Change

An op ed by our Co-Directors detailing why the evidence we’ve uncovered is so damning for the Science Museum Group.

Chris Garrard and Jess Worth, DeSmog, 3rd August 2021

SMG under fire for ‘gagging clause’ in Shell deal

The Museums Association looks at the evidence unearthed in our investigation, examines the Science Museum Group’s defence, and points out the ways in which the museum appears to have contravened the MA’s Code of Ethics.

Geraldine Kendall Adams, Museums Journal, 30th July 2021

Greta Thunberg criticises Science Museum over Shell ‘gagging clause’

Greta Thunberg tweets her condemnation of the Science Museum following our revelations and many media outlets cover the fallout, including the Independent, Evening Standard, MSN, Art Newspaper, Morning Star and Ecologist.

Samuel Webb, The Independent, 30th July 2021

Science Museum gagged by sponsorship deal with Shell [paywall]

The Times picks up on our investigation and quotes us as saying ‘To sign a gagging clause to protect Shell puts other staff in a very difficult position and this should be of great concern to the museum sector as a whole.’

Ben Webster, The Times, 30th July 2021

Science Museum signed gagging clause with exhibition sponsor Shell

Channel 4 News breaks our major new investigation into how the Science Museum Group has been ignoring the science and shutting down critics.

Fatima Manji, Channel 4 News, 29th July 2021

Letter: a conflict of interest at the British Museum

A letter from our Co-Director arguing that Osborne’s links to BP ‘create clear conflicts of interest around one of the major controversies facing the museum today.’

Chris Garrard, Financial Times, 28th June 2021

Podcast: Activists protest Science Museum sponsorship

The Art Newspaper’s excellent podcast interviews our co-director Chris Garrard and Anya Nanning Ramamurthy of the UK Student Climate Network on the campaign so far.

The Week in Art, Art Newspaper, 25th June 2021

George Osborne appointed chair of British Museum

We comment on Osborne’s profound unsuitability for the post.

Rebecca Atkinson, Museums Journal, 24th June 2021

George Osborne appointed as new British Museum chairman

We are quoted in The Telegraph’s coverage of the news.

Craig Simpson, The Telegraph, 24th June 2021

Appointment of former UK Chancellor George Osborne as new British Museum chairman draws criticism

We are quoted responding to the shock appointment of a man with many ties to BP and a track record of slashing arts funding as the new chair of the British Museum.

Hannah McGivern, Art Newspaper, 24th June 2021

By greenwashing Shell, the Science Museum is failing young people

Youth striker Izzy Warren explains why UKSCN London are taking action to get the Science Museum to drop Shell.

Izzy Warren, Climate Home News, 21st June 2021

Science Museum Head Defends Shell Sponsorship of Climate Change Exhibition

DeSmog covers the internal email from Science Museum Director Ian Blatchford that we acquired, which shows him defending the oil industry and slamming his critics.

Adam Barnett, DeSmog, 19th May 2021

Boycott threatened over Shell’s sponsorship of Science Museum carbon capture exhibition

Both UKSCN London and Dr Emma Sayer who contributed to the exhibition without being told it would be sponsored by Shell were interviewed by Sky. Watch it here.

Lisa Holland, Sky News, 6th May 2021

SMG ‘should have been more upfront’ about Shell deal

Interview with exhibition contributer Dr Emma Sayer who says she was ’embarrassed’ to learn about oil sponsorship of the carbon capture exhibition

Geraldine Kendall Adams, Museums Journal, 30th April 2021

School climate strikers urge boycott of Science Museum show over Shell deal

Group hits out at oil and gas firm’s sponsorship of Our Future Planet exhibition as ‘appalling’

Matthew Taylor, Guardian, 26th April 2021

Why is the Science Museum still being contaminated by Shell’s dirty money?

George Monbiot responds to the news that Shell is sponsoring the Science Museum’s carbon capture exhibition.

George Monbiot, Guardian, 21st April 2021

London’s Science Museum Faces Backlash Over Oil-Sponsored Climate Exhibition

“By allowing Shell to sponsor this exhibition, the Science Museum is helping to boost the company’s cynical greenwash,” said Jess Worth, co-director of Culture Unstained.

Valentina Di Liscia, Hyperallergic, 19th April 2021

Science Museum faces climate pressure after Shell revealed as ‘major sponsor’

“It beggars belief that this iconic British institution has freely chosen to link up with Shell to sponsor their flagship climate exhibition at such a crucial time,” said Professor Bill McGuire.

Millie Turner, City AM, 16th April 2021

‘Staggeringly out of step’: Science Museum launches climate exhibition sponsored by Shell

We break the story that the Science Museum’s new flagship climate exhibition is being sponsored by fossil fuel giant Shell.

Samuel Osborne, Independent, 16th April 2021

In the Hope of Better Possible Futures – Why I Pulled Out of the Science Museum Event

Robin’s honest and personal blog about why he made the decision.

Robin Ince’s blog; 10th March 2021

Comedian Robin Ince Quits Science Museum Climate Event Over Oil Sponsorship

We’re quoted in this article about Robin’s principled decision to pull out of a Science Museum climate talk.

DeSmog UK, Caitlin Tilley; 10th March 2021

‘Things have to change’: third speaker pulls out of Science Museum Group climate talk in protest against oil sponsorship

Comedian and broadcaster Robin Ince becomes the third speaker to walk.

The Art Newspaper, Gareth Harris; 10th March 2021

George Monbiot pulls out of climate change talk at Science Museum over fossil fuel sponsors

The museum continues to be sponsored by oil giants BP and Equinor.

i Newspaper, Madeleine Cuff; 26th February 2021