Letter to the Edinburgh International Festival

Dear Fergus Linehan and Edinburgh International Festival management team,

We are absolutely delighted to hear that BP will no longer be sponsoring the Edinburgh International Festival, and we want to extend our sincere congratulations to the Festival for joining the transition to a fossil free culture.

We are glad that the views of protestersartists and your own staff members (including the campaign started by the EIF 2015 stewards) have been taken seriously, and believe the launch of the exciting and full EIF 2016 programme proves that large arts organisations can survive – and indeed thrive – without oil money.

As you are now “fossil funds free”, we invite you to sign up to the Fossil Funds Free commitment: http://fossilfundsfree.org/

Three-hundred and sixty-two arts organisations, artists and culture sector professionals have already made the commitment, including London’s Royal Court and Arcola theatres, and Highlight Arts in Edinburgh. The idea is very simple: to publicly commit not to take sponsorship from fossil fuel companies directly, and to raise the issue with one’s organisational partners who do. The participants can use the Fossil Funds Free logo to mark themselves out as forward-thinking and responsible arts organisations.

Oil companies’ business models are widely understood to be incompatible with the limits on fossil fuel extraction that we need to avoid catastrophic climate change. As Archbishop Desmond Tutu 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.”

The EIF is now setting an excellent example for those cultural institutions that are still sponsored by BP and other oil companies. We hope that other Scottish institutions will soon follow suit: that the Scottish National Portrait Gallery will refuse to host the BP Portrait Award until an alternative sponsor is found, that the Science Festival replaces its multiple oil industry sponsors with more sustainable and ethical sources of funding, and that Gray’s School of Art Degree Show also drops BP.

We urge the EIF to help position Scotland at the forefront of the Art Not Oil movement by signing up to the Fossil Funds Free commitment.

Yours truly,

Amanda Grimm, BP or not BP? Scotland
Emilie Tricarico, BP out of the Arts – Edinburgh
Anna Galkina, Platform
Jess Worth, BP or not BP?
Richard Dixon, Friends of the Earth Scotland
Hannah Roques, Edinburgh University People & Planet
Danny Chivers, Art Not Oil
Yasmin De Silva, Liberate Tate
Liz Murray, Global Justice Now Scotland
Clara Paillard, PCS Union Culture Sector
Alan Munro, Divest Lothians
Gill Davies, Activists Assemble
Matthew Crighton, Friends of the Earth Edinburgh

P.S. We would be delighted to receive a reply to:

We have attached a copy of this letter as a PDF.

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