Rising Tide UK / Art Not Oil defeats Shell!

Shell’s two year tenure as sponsor of the Natural History Museum’s
‘Wildlife Photographer of the Year’ exhibition has come to an end. A
determined, creative two year national campaign, coordinated in part by
the direct action group Rising Tide and its Art Not Oil (1) offshoot,
helped to force the NHM to ditch Shell.

Using a combination of creative direct action (2) and a ‘Shell’s Wild Lie’
exhibition (3), Rising Tide has been pressurising the Museum and partner
BBC Wildlife magazine to acknowledge that one of the world’s largest oil
companies is not a good sponsor for an exhibition that has become a
powerful testament to the beauty, diversity and fragility of the natural world.(4)

This campaign, and the significant public pressure it mobilised, has now paid off.

London Rising Tide’s Chris Hyde said: ‘We are delighted that the Natural
History Museum has seen sense and bid farewell to Shell in what must rank
as the most absurd and appalling sponsorship deal ever seen. Now it’s time
for the Museum to turn down cash from climate-destroying companies like
BP, BA and Shell (5), and for cultural institutions across London and the
UK to do the same.’

‘The oil industry is destroying our future, as well as the habitats and
lives of countless living beings right now throughout the world. For that
reason, and because this victory has shown what climatically conscious
grassroots art can achieve, we will be keeping up the pressure with our
Art Not Oil campaign.’

Notes:

1) Now in its fifth year, Art Not Oil stands for ‘creativity, climate
justice and an end to oil industry sponsorship of arts and culture’. It
has acted as a beacon for artists worldwide who are committed to using
their creativity positively, and is a hub for protest against the oil
industry greenwashing its image by appropriating UK cultural institutions.
Its 2008 online gallery is now open for submissions: www.artnotoil.org,uk

2) Over the past year sponsorship-related protests have taken place at the
following places; (print quality copies of the photos below are available
on request):
Natural History Museum, October 2007: http://risingtide.org.uk/node/231
and January 2008:
http://www.planestupid.com/?q=content/march-penguins-climate-activists-protest-british-airways-ice-rink

BBC Wildlife Magazine HQ, Bristol, December 2007:
http://bristol.indymedia.org/newswire.php?story_id=27160

Bristol Museum, December 2007:
http://onthelevelblog.wordpress.com/2007/12/16/direct-action-in-bristol-reveals-shells-greenwash/

Tate Britain, January 2008: http://www.londonrisingtide.org.uk/node/409

3) The ‘Shell’s Wild Lie’ exhibition will tour the UK and Europe through
2008 and beyond. http://www.artnotoil.org.uk/gallery/v/Shell/

4) ‘Shell: the evidence’: http://www.artnotoil.org.uk//content/view/23/2/

5) Both Shell and BP are Corporate Members of the NHM, donating £25,000 or
more per year, while BA gives £10,000 per year. Current Prime
Minister-appointed NHM Trustees include Louise Charlton of Brunswick
Group, the public relations firm contracted in 2004 by Shell to carry out
PR damage limitation in the wake of its reserves-reporting scandal, and
Sir William Castell, non-executive director of BP. Conflicts of interest
like these are rife right across the UK’s leading cultural institutions.

6) Friends of the Earth has also been running a campaign against the Shell
deal:
http://www.foe.co.uk/campaigns/corporates/press_for_change/wildlife_photographer/index.html

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