Ask your favourite gallery, museum, or theatre to join the Fossil Free Funded commitment! You can use and customise the text below as appropriate. We would love to hear the responses you get, whether positive or negative – get in touch at [email protected]
BP Or Not BP – Reclaim Shakespeare Company’s debut performance
Subject: Will you commit to culture beyond fossil fuels?
I am writing as a supporter of your work to ask if your organisation will join the Fossil Funds Free commitment.
You may be aware of the recent controversies over oil sponsorship of culture. Tate was forced in court to reveal that BP contributes just 0.5% of Tate’s budget in return for unprecedented advertising inside the gallery. Science Museum emails showed that Shell tried to censor the content of events and exhibitions.
Oil companies’ business models are widely understood to be incompatible with limits on fossil fuel extraction that we need to avoid catastrophic climate change. Archbishop Desmond Tutu recently wrote, “People of conscience need to break their ties with corporations financing the injustice of climate change. … We can encourage more of our universities and municipalities and cultural institutions to cut their ties to the fossil-fuel industry.”
Companies like BP and Shell sponsor art, museums, and theatre, in order to maintain what they call a “social licence to operate”, i.e. the consent of key audiences: diplomats, civil servants, journalists, elites. Fossil fuel contributions to culture are tiny (BP contributes just 0.5% to Tate’s budget) and are targeted at institutions of the highest prestige, who are the least likely to experience funding crises even under government cuts.
So a growing number of artists, performers, and arts organisations internationally are making the commitment not to take direct funding from fossil fuel companies, to show that culture thrives without oil. They are refusing their work to be used to justify and promote dangerous fossil fuel extraction.
As a long-time member of your audience, I would like to see you contribute to this movement for culture beyond oil. Will you make this commitment?
Please see fossilfundsfree.org for more information on the commitment and on how to sign up.
With best wishes