Successes for the Fossil Free Culture movement

Artisits and faith groups protest BP sponsorship of the Arts in the British Musuem.

British Museum, London. The Art Not Oil coalition of artists and activists gathers in the museum’s iconic Great Court to send a message to oil sponsored institutions, using umbrellas. Photo by Anna Branthwaite.

As well as looking towards the battles ahead, it is important to reflect how far we – and the Fossil Free Culture movement around the world – have come since starting to campaign to end oil sponsorship of cultural institutions.

To date the main cultural institutions who have dropped fossil fuel sponsorship completely (most following significant creative campaigns) are:

Partial wins include:

  • The Southbank Centre in London ended Shell’s sponsorship of the Shell Classic International concerts after a series of singing protests, although the oil company is still a corporate partner.
  • London’s Natural History Museum used to be sponsored by Shell (specifically the Wildlife Photographer of the Year award). Under pressure, it shifted to DONG Energy/Orsted which has now divested from fossil fuels to focus on renewables. However, the museum subsequently named a hall after climate-denial-funder Michael Hintze, and BP sponsors the museum’s BP micropalaeontology research project.

There’s also a growing international community of arts organisations and artists who have committed never to take fossil fuel sponsorship by signing up to the Oil Sponsorship Free commitment. They include the Royal Court and Arcola theatres and several live art organisations.

A full list of UK cultural institutions that are still funded by oil companies can be found here.