As both a Rising Tide UK Campaign and a Rising Tide National Group, "Art Not Oil" has railed against Big Oil cultural sponsorship since 2004. We are pleased to announce it has now become a coalition of autonomous organisations united around the aim of ending oil sponsorship of the arts and sharing resources as the Art Not Oil Coalition.
The founding members of this new coalition alongside Rising Tide UK are:- Liberate Tate, Platform, the Reclaim Shakespeare Company, Shell Out Sounds and the UK Tar Sands Network; who have agreed to campaign together under the following :-
ART NOT OIL COALITION JOINT STATEMENT
"We represent a cross-section of people - artists, cultural event and gallery-goers, environmentalists, human rights activists and others - who believe that oil company logos represent a stain on our cultural institutions.
Oil companies cultivate arts and culture sponsorship relationships to help create a ‘social licence to operate’. This contributes to the false veneer of legitimacy that enables them to keep expanding operations at a time of climate crisis and to stifle the demands for justice of those communities who live on the frontline of their destructive, polluting operations.
Only a decade ago, tobacco companies were seen as respectable partners for public institutions. That is no longer the case. It is our hope that fossil fuel companies will soon be seen in the same light. The public is rapidly coming to recognise that the sponsorship programmes of BP and Shell are means by which attention can be distracted from their impacts on human rights, the environment and our global climate.
Breaking the sponsorship link between oil companies and arts institutions will not alone prevent disasters such as the devastating tar sands projects being inflicted on the Indigenous communities of Alberta, Canada. It will not bring justice where it is due, for example, for the pollution and destruction inflicted on the people and lands of the Niger Delta and the Gulf of Mexico.
But by creating an informed public debate questioning the acceptability of associating these companies with our respected and much-loved cultural institutions, we strengthen attempts to hold the fossil fuel industry accountable in political and financial spheres.
We understand that securing adequate funding is challenging for many arts and cultural institutions in the current climate, but believe that it is vital for the very future of a free and independent arts sector that institutions stick to their principles and show leadership on moral issues such as this.
The groups in the Art Not Oil coalition invite others to work with us directly and indirectly to end public arts and culture bodies promoting oil company interests. This is an essential step towards ending the stranglehold these companies have on the corridors of power, which is a major obstacle preventing the transition to a fair and low-carbon society."