UPDATE: The tour has now happened! Here’s the full film of the event, see below for the schedule to help navigate the film 🙂
On August 14th 2021, we held a disobedient livestreamed tour inside the British Museum, without permission, watched live by hundreds of people. This is the full recording of what happened…
0:00:00 Welcome and Introductions
0:03:00 Zita Holbourne, National Vice President of the PCS Union, speaks about the connections between workers’ rights, colonialism and oil sponsorship at the British Museum
0:13:30 A public statement from British Museum staff in support of these issues
0:16:30 Solidarity with Egyptian activists
0:18:00 Singer-songwriter Hellena (hellenaofficial.com), speaks and sings about the Parthenon Marbles
0:25:30: Mona M speaks live from Iran to introduce her film about Iranian artefacts in the museum
0:28:00 Film from Mona M making the links between the history of Iran, the British Empire, artefacts in the museum and BP
0:48:00 Danny from BP or not BP? explains the relationship between BP and the British Museum and why it needs to end
0:55:00 Film of previous “No War, No Warming” action by BP or not BP? in the British Museum, challenging BP sponsorship of objects from Iraq
1:00:30 Onyekachi Wambu speaks about the history of the Benin Bronzes and why they need to be returned
1:18:00 Final Q&A and discussion session with Zita, Onyekachi and Danny
1:46:00 Thanks and goodbye!
Extra footage by Lizzie Gilson, editing by Real Media
We’re excited to announce our next action: a disobedient livestreamed tour of the BP-sponsored British Museum on Saturday August 14th!
Stolen Goods Tours Presents:
Striking Back at the Empire: an unofficial tour of the British Museum
A disobedient tour calling for honesty about the past, justice in the present, and a safer climate future.
Saturday August 14th, 2pm BST, register at stolen-goods-tour.eventbrite.co.uk
Join online to watch our livestreamed disobedient tour, making the links between objects in the museum’s collection, the history of the British Empire, and struggles for global and climate justice around the world today.
Zita Holbourne, National Vice President of PCS Union, National co-chair of Artists’ Union England, National Chair of BARAC UK (Black Activists Rising Against Cuts)
Mona M., Iranian visual artist and researcher
Onyekachi Wambu, Project Director of the Return of the Icons programme, African Foundation for Development (AFFORD)
BP or not BP?
With special contributions from singer-songwriter Hellena (hellenaofficial.com) and others TBC!
Ancient empires. The British Empire. Oil empires. Whether it’s proudly displaying stolen artefacts, or holding a Nero exhibition sponsored by the oil giant BP, the British Museum seems keen to celebrate empires and imperialism right now.
So on Saturday August 14th, a team of amazing speakers will take over key spaces in the museum to give the other side of the story in a completely unofficial “Striking Back at the Empire” tour.
More details to follow soon – sign up at stolen-goods-tour.eventbrite.co.uk for updates
We’ll be paying a visit to a number of contested artefacts in the museum, to hear speakers from the countries whose objects are on display. We’ll be joined by museum workers and climate justice campaigners who will join the dots between these issues. The museum is hiding the truth about the British Empire, while propping up the modern-day polluting empire of BP. Together, we will call on the museum to stop this modern-day colonial behaviour and instead start acting in the interests of the public, museum workers and the communities whose objects it holds.
We need our museums to tell us the truth about the British Empire and the objects in their collections, so we can have an honest discussion about righting the historic wrongs that lie at the root of so many global problems today, from resource wars to oppressive regimes to the climate crisis.
And of course, museums need to return stolen items to the communities demanding their return, and stop supporting fossil fuel giants like BP.
We need YOU to join the livestream to show your support – let’s show the British Museum that we’re watching them, and call on them together to do the right thing.