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Responding to the Museum Association's draft Code of Ethics

Holmes and Watson look for BP, the world's biggest corporate criminal, in the British Museum. Photo by Kristian Buus

The Museums Association has been consulting to revise its Code of Ethics, and the new draft code is currently open for consultation until 7 August. The Art Not Oil coalition has been engaging with some museums on the specific issue of whether they should be taking money from oil companies. This briefing provides an overview of aspects of the draft Code that are relevant to this question, and suggests some ways in which the Code could be strengthened. It is intended to help anyone who would like to see museums take a stronger ethical line on sponsorship and climate change engage with the consultation process.

Actor-vists stage Indigenous solidarity performance in British Museum with BP oil rig

Whose terrible idea was it to allow BP to sponsor an exhibition of stolen Indigenous artefacts?! Art Not Oil members "BP or not BP?" had so much to say about this that they occupied the British Museum for an entire afternoon - with a pop-up oil rig and a whole cast of characters.

For the full story, film and photos click here.
 

Simultaneous protests at BP-sponsored opera

A BP-sponsored performance at the Royal Opera House was hit by two simultaneous protests this Wednesday: a singing action inside the Opera House itself, and a banner invasion of the live broadcast in Trafalgar Square. Two young composers were ejected from the Opera House after unveiling a banner reading "BP: Fuelling Tragedy" and receiving warm applause from the audience; meanwhile, out in Trafalgar Square an “End Oil Sponsorship” banner was broadcast to thousands of people watching the opera all over the UK.

A pelican, a preacher and a huge spill

On 2nd May 2015, New York-based singing activists Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir joined forces with UK-based oil sponsorship campaigners BP or not BP? to recreate the BP Deepwater Horizon spill inside the British Museum. The unsanctioned performance filled the Great Court with singing, dancing, a giant pelican drowning in oil and an impassioned sermon calling on the Museum to dump BP, whose sponsorship contract is due to expire soon.

Stolen Land, Stolen Culture, Stolen Climate

Protest at BP-sponsored Indigenous Australia exhibition

On 21st April the official media launch of the British Museum’s new BP-sponsored exhibition, “Indigenous Australia: Enduring Civilisation”, was interrupted by an unexpected theatrical protest.

Holmes & Watson pursue BP in British Museum

Sherlock Holmes and the case of the oily museum - Kristian Buus

On Sunday 8th February at 3pm, twenty people entered the British Museum and launched into a guerrilla theatre performance in the Great Court, in front of surprised Museum-goers and staff. The pop-up play – featuring Sherlock Holmes, Dr Watson and a unit of bumbling police officers – challenged the Museum’s controversial funding relationship with BP. The oil company is officially the world’s biggest corporate criminal, having received the largest criminal fine in history ($4.5 billion) in November 2012 for its role in the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster.

 

Carols Not Barrels for Rembrandt, (21.12.14)

10 responses to pro-oil sponsorship arguments

Legal victory: Court orders Tate to disclose BP sponsorship figures

  • Information Tribunal gives Tate 35 days to disclose sums of BP sponsorship from 1990-2006

  • Tate argued in court that disclosure of internal decision-making details would cause further protests and so risk to health risk to health; Tribunal “wholly unpersuaded” by this argument

  • Tribunal ruling criticises Tate’s “protracted, misguided reliance on [an irrelevant] document”, as well as “mistaken” and “somewhat fanciful” use of Freedom of Information exemptions over details of internal decision-making.

2014: ten moments of a culture beyond oil

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