Scientists boycott Science Museum amid new sponsorship claims

22 Nov 2021

Leading scientists have boycotted the Science Museum until it announces a moratorium on fossil fuel funding.

An open letter signed by over 60 professionals, including former Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Chair Robert Watson, says they “can no longer be complicit" in the policies adopted by the museum.

“This means publicly committing not to renew any existing contracts when they expire, or to form any new ones until, at the very least, the company demonstrates a credible plan for phasing out fossil fuels in line with the Paris 1.5°C target,” it continues.

The letter follows criticism of the Science Museum’s sponsorship agreements with oil giants Shell and Adani, which led to the resignation of its former director and two trustees, and comes amid new claims the institution signed a similar 'gagging clause' with Adani as it it did Shell.

The contract prohibits the museum from making "any statement or issue any publicity or otherwise be involved in any conduct or matter that may reasonably be forsseen as discrediting or damaging the goodwill or reputation" of Adani Green Energy.

The Science Museum did not apply its own standards for ethical sponsorship to the Adani's parent group because the deal is with Adani Green Energy.

However, newly released documents suggest Adani Group negotiated the partnership.

"In the wake of COP26, there is no justification for providing positive PR to companies heavily involved in fossil fuel extraction," said Culture Unstained Co-Director Jess Worth.

"It’s time [the Science Museum] admitted their mistake and engaged with those who care so deeply about the museum’s future that they are willing to pass up paid work and prestigious opportunities to make their concerns heard."

Can corporate sponsorship be part of the environmental agenda?

10 Nov 2021

As arts organisations struggle with post-Covid recovery, Michelle Wright asks whether sponsorship can grow in this economic climate.

Science Museum slammed over 'reckless' sponsorship deal

21 Oct 2021

The museum has relied on a technicality to sidestep its own standards for corporate partnerships.

Channel 4 drops BP from Paralympics coverage

24 Aug 2021

Channel 4 have confirmed BP will no longer sponsor its coverage of the Paralympics, due to start later this week.

A Freedom of Information request by Culture Unstained confirmed the oil company will no longer share sponsorship with Toyota.

READ MORE: Science Museum used 'misleading' tool to justify big oil sponsorship

Although Channel 4 declined to confirm why the oil giant is no longer a sponsor, climate activists have cited growing public opposition to fossil fuel sponsorship.
Andrew Simms from the Rapid Transition Alliance said the decision should “send a wider message” around the ethics of sponsorship.

Science Museum used 'misleading' tool to justify big oil sponsorship

05 Aug 2021

The museum promoted itself as the first in the cultural sector to assess potential partners using a climate action benchmark that would have green lit deals with most oil and gas companies.

Prince Philip: a steadfast supporter of the arts

14 Apr 2021

Arts leaders and organisations have paid tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh as a committed patron of both the orthodox and the unconventional.

Communicating with donors at a time of crisis

26 Mar 2020

Fundraising might seem impossible right now but donors need to hear from you on good days and bad, writes Michelle Wright.

£288m concert hall will be ‘the Tate Modern for music’

11 Mar 2020

The proposed Centre for Music will operate without public subsidy after the Government decided it was too expensive. 

£20m fund to make the arts ‘investment ready’

04 Mar 2020

The initiative builds on the success of two pilot programmes to promote a new approach to finance in the arts and cultural sectors. 

ArtsProfessional meets… Nicholas Serota

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27 Feb 2020

Lottery funding, low pay, and that boat…Amanda Parker meets the Arts Council England Chair and architect of the UK’s engagement with art.

EXCLUSIVE: ‘Culture of censorship’ as arts workers fear backlash

20 Feb 2020

ArtsProfessional’s Freedom of Expression survey reveals gagging orders, bullying and a culture of fear are causing arts and cultural workers to stay silent.

‘The shackles are removed’: arts sector responds to Harry and Meghan's decision

10 Jan 2020

Cultural sector figures question the benefits of royal patronage and consider whether the couple's departure from senior royal duties could allow them to speak more openly about discrimination.

Stop demonising us, BP boss tells arts sector

12 Dec 2019

The Head of BP in the UK said the company’s sponsorship of the arts is helping to further the public debate on climate change.

Defending BP sponsorship: is it "for the public good"?

01 Oct 2019

Chris Garrard dissects the public comments made by cultural leaders on the issue of ethical sponsorship. 

Embracing business

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08 Nov 2018

As arts and cultural organisations rise to the challenges facing the sector, some are adopting new and ground-breaking templates for their relationships with business. Patrick Towell surveys the changing landscape.

National Gallery ends corporate partnership with Shell

Photo of National Gallery
25 Oct 2018

The decision follows years of protest and the termination of similar relationships at two major Dutch galleries.

Campaigners celebrate as museums end ties with oil giant

Photo of a Fossil Free Culture NL performance
31 Aug 2018

The Van Gogh Museum and Mauritshuis have said the decision to break with Shell was mutual, and sponsorship agreements that expired this summer would not be renewed.

Institute of Fundraising: Don’t refuse money on ethics alone

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04 May 2018

The membership body has collated and updated guidance on accepting and refusing donations, stressing the importance of adhering to a charity’s purpose as set out in its constitution.

Arts sector fears being too poor to refuse ‘unethical’ donations

Photo of protest at British Museum
27 Apr 2018

New research by AP reveals that few arts organisations have an ethical fundraising policy, although most think they are vulnerable to reputational damage.

How bad is bad?

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25 Apr 2018

Are problems of ethics in danger of making the arts unfundable? Michelle Wright addresses some uncomfortable questions.


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