This is a guest post from the “Shell Out” campaign
It’s good to talk?
Concerned Mancunians were barred from the Shell Energy Dialogue at Museum of Science and Industry last night.
Since August 2018, Shell Out! have been campaigning against the oil company’s sponsorship of the Manchester Science and Industry Museum with one of our objectives to talk to those involved to explain our concerns. So when we heard Shell were running an ‘Energy Dialogue’ at the museum we thought we were in luck! Inexplicably our invitation failed to arrive, so in the spirit of communication, we went along anyway.
In eagerness we arrived two hours early whilst the museum was still open, to set out our arguments to present at the dialogue. These included raising concerns about the Shell’s Nigerian corruption case currently taking place in Italy (we did wonder who was behind all those spam emails), the historic damages Shell owe having been responsible for 2% of global carbon emissions since 1860 and recent Greenwash efforts to mask their 95%+ involvement in hydrocarbons.
Not everyone can take in all these facts and figures so we also brought along some excellent displays courtesy of visual artist Darren Cullen, just to drive our message home.
As delegates came in to the museum we engaged them in ‘dialogue’, discussing their awareness of Shell’s track record and hearing their views on Shell’s dubious legal, ethical and environmental record. The vast majority, including museum staff, were happy to talk, many had previously been unaware of the company’s history and activities.
Less keen to talk were Shell with no one from the company wanting to talk to us or even make an appearance in the foyer. To add insult to injury, we were barred from the dialogue session itself, prevented from engaging in a wider discussion on the issues at hand – fairly ironic given the nature of the event.
We may not have been present but our friends on the inside who did make it in to the session report the information we shared was widely discussed during the evening, so at least the point was made.
Another disappointment was the attendance, only around a quarter of the 120 odd name badges set out at the start of the event had been collected when the proceedings began. Perhaps it was the poor weather or perhaps, as some attendees acknowledged, the expectation that concerned Mancunians such as ourselves might make an appearance to put forward their views.
We’d like to thank the museum staff who were helpful, polite and courteous and all the attendees who engaged in discussions. We’d also like to thank the many delegates who passed on details of the event to us in advance when Shell or the museum had failed to.
We’d very much like to discuss our concerns directly with Shell UK and the Museum’s senior staff and would welcome their contact. But for now the campaign continues and we will return to the museum in the next few weeks and months. To get involved in the campaign email
or contact our social media accounts to attend a campaign planning meeting
We are just one of many similar campaigns around the world campaigning to kick oil out of public cultural institutions, some of which have scored recent notable successes
[A note from the editor of Manchester Climate Monthly- Journalistic practice would be that we invite Shell the right of reply. Even though they couldn’t be bothered to engage in dialogue with the people trying to raise concerns, then yeah, whatever; if one of Shell’s PR flaks cares to respond to the above, (#notholdingbreathe) it will get published. The comments section might get quite entertaining…]
[Oh, another note from the editor – I did some blogs of some Shell innovation, adverts etc a while back. They still stand –