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Manchester Science Festival called on to end its Shell sponsorship

MANCHESTER Science Festival organisers were urged today to drop Shell’s sponsorship after three of the event partners pulled out over the controversial oil firm’s involvement.

Organisation Carbon Coop ended its involvement in an exhibition hosted by the Science and Industry Museum after being informed of the sponsorship.

Several partners of the festival had also raised concerns about the sponsorship of the festival’s exhibition Electricity: the spark of life that will open on October 18, campaign group Culture Unstained revealed today.

One organisation said Shell’s involvement makes it “impossible for us to be part of the festival. We are climate-focused and the petrol/oil industry is not addressing the issue in any meaningful way except greenwash where they can.”

Another, which will remain involved this year, informed the museum: “We don’t expect to work with the festival in future if something like this occurs again.”

A 38 Degrees petition with nearly 57,000 signatures was submitted to the museum today.

Culture Unstained co-director Jess Worth said: “The interests of an oil company tarnished by human rights violations, mired in a corruption scandal and driving dangerous climate change have won out over the deeply held values of several festival partners.

“But there is still time for the museum to draw an ethical red line and ensure its integrity and reputation isn’t damaged further.”

It is possible to be a “world-class museum and refuse to legitimise the fossil fuel industry,” as shown by the Van Gogh Museum ending its 18-year-long partnership with Shell, she added.

Broadcaster Chris Packham, climate scientist Kevin Anderson and Greater Manchester Association of Trade Union Councils president Stephen Hall have also joined the calls.

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