XR rejects design award

| 4th June 2019
London's Design Museum's annual award is sponsored by an insurance company

London's Design Museum's annual award is sponsored by an insurance company

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Design_Museum,_Kensington,_London,_March_2017_(03).JPG
Activist group says that Design Museum award nomination would be “artwash” since it is sponsored by an insurance company.

The insurance industry supports the mitigation of financial loss caused by immoral environmental practices.

Extinction Rebellion (XR) has rejected its shortlisting for a design award sponsored by Beazley, an insurance company which sells insurance for environmental liability, a practice that XR argues supports “immoral environmental practices”.

The London Design Museum’s Beazley Designs of the Year is an annual award celebrating designs that have impact, including inspiring people, representing change in their field, or thought leadership, according to its website.

Beazley also sells insurance for war, aviation, energy and weather.

Artwash

Clare Farrell a spokeswoman for the Extinction Rebellion UK Art Group, said: “This is yet another example of a major cultural institution attempting to Artwash the unacceptable behaviours of its financial backers.

“For Extinction Rebellion to be co-opted by an organisation like Beazley runs counter to our movement’s values.

"We are in the business of refusing business as usual, and the insurance industry, which supports the mitigation of financial loss caused by immoral environmental practices, is not something we can have anything to do with,” she added.

A spokesman for the Design Museum said that it was surprised at XR’s decision. “The Beazley Designs of the Year exhibition embodies the museum’s purpose to make the impact of design visible and highlights the role that design can play in providing solutions to many of the challenges we face today - including challenges to the environment.”

He added that the exhibition was visited by thousands of people each year and demonstrated that design projects could improve lives.

This Author

Catherine Early is a freelance environmental journalist and chief reporter for the Ecologist. She can be found tweeting at @Cat_Early76.

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