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Serpentine & Almeida formally requested to review sponsorship

Along with their free diaries, co-directors of the Serpentine Gallery, Julia Peyton-Jones & Hans Ulrich Obrist, received the following letter:

Dear Julia Peyton-Jones & Hans Ulrich Obrist,

 Please find enclosed a copy of the Art Not Oil 2010 diary. I hope it’s a celebration of art’s extraordinary ability to provide an emotional context to where we find ourselves today politically, socially and ecologically.
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On Jan 21st 2010, diaries were delivered to all Serpentine employees, on which date we had still received no reply from the Serpentine, whose 2008 and 2009 Pavilions were sponsored by NetJets, the largest business jet company in Europe.

NetJets boss Mark Booth is on the board of the Serpentine Gallery, as is Colin Tweedy, boss of Arts & Business. From the Gallery's website: 'NetJets Europe is the title sponsor for the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2009. Mark Booth, Executive Chairman, said: "Sejima and Nishizawa’s design for the Serpentine Pavilion 2009 is truly breathtaking. The incredible light and openness of the concept will make for a stunning structure, which will raise the bar even higher for the much-anticipated Pavilion. Design is an area that we’re passionate about at NetJets: we’re firmly focussed on how we can bring world-class design to our customers’ flight experience; just as the Serpentine Pavilion brings world class architecture to London. We’re delighted to be a partner in this project and are looking forward to seeing the finished Pavilion."

Plane Stupid's take on business jets: http://www.planestupid.com/video/biggin1
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This letter was sent to the Board of the Almeida Theatre on 21.1.10



20.1.201

 


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cc. Michael Attenborough, Neil Constable and other Almeida board members


 


 


Dear Board member

 


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Art Not Oil campaigns in part to persuade cultural institutions, as part of their responsibility to present and future generations, to turn down funding from companies whose core business is in fossil fuels

 


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I am writing to you as a member of the Board of the Almeida Theatre to request formally that the issue of BP sponsorship be discussed by the board as soon as possible. I also ask that, if possible, the Board mandates the Almeida to review its sponsorship criteria and to adopt new climate-friendly guidelines

 


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There is a detailed report about BP’s involvement in Canadian tar sands included in this mailing, but please let me know if you would like a more detailed critique of BP, or if you would like to know more about the Art Not Oil project

 


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Finally, I would like you to ask the Almeida’s management team if ignoring a series of polite, serious communications on this issue reflects well on the theatre. (The first of those is on the back of this letter.

 


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Thanks for reading, and all good wishes for 2010

 


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Mark Brow

 


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Art Not Oil – ‘for creativity, climate justice and an end to fossil fuel industry sponsorship of the arts’ c/o 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES

 


Tel: 07709 545116 info@artnotoil.org.uk  www.artnotoil.org.u

 


2.5.09&nbsp

 


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cc. Michael Attenboroug

 


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Dear Neil Constable

 


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I’m writing to you with our concerns about oil industry sponsorship of arts and culture, and in particular about BP, which I see is a sponsor of The Almeida

 


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It’s our view that oil is a curse that fuels wars for resources like that now being waged at such a high cost in Iraq. It is also the greatest cause of climate change, which, according to the government’s Chief Scientist, could result in the death of 400 million people, mostly in the poorest countries of the world

 


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Wherever BP operates, it takes a catastrophic toll on lives, livelihoods and the environment, (some of which are listed on the other side of this letter.) Perhaps most worryingly, late in 2007 BP bought a large share of Husky Energy, a company committed to extracting oil from the tar sands of Alberta in Canada. Tar sands contain oil which is massively energy-intensive to bring to market

 


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Obviously, funding for the arts is scarce at present, but there seems to be a great irony in the fact that government funding is pumped into fighting wars that are to a great extent about securing oil and gas reserves, leaving theatres etc. with almost nowhere to turn but to the oil and other fossil fuel-intensive companies for support. Might there be public support for a campaign initiated by cultural institutions for a massive cut in military spending, and a diversion of money saved into essential services, not to mention arts and culture

 


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We believe there can be a greener and fairer future for the planet and its people, a future whic

 

will require in part the consigning of the oil industry to the history books. Our campaign hopes to be one small step in that direction. I hope you are able to respond with your take on this situation

 


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Thanks very much for taking the time to read this letter

 


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Yours

 


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Mark Brow

 

 

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