BP sponsorship renewal
British cultural institutions sign new £7.5 million 5-year deal
Campaigners have condemned the news that BP will continue to sponsor a number of well-known institutions in London. The British Museum, National Portrait Gallery, Royal Opera House and Royal Shakespeare Company have all signed up for a new £7.5 million BP sponsorship deal.
This is despite widespread resistance from campaigners and the public. A letter was signed by almost 100 cultural figures, scientists and academics calling on Dr Hartwig Fischer, the new director of the British Museum, to end BP’s sponsorship.
Additionally, a poll commissioned by Platform London, found that about 1 in 2 Londoners (49.6%) think the British Museum should drop BP (see graph below).
‘BP or not BP’ an activist theatre troupe has campaigned since 2012 about BP’s ongoing sponsorship of arts and culture. They form part of the Art Not Oil Coalition, which in September 2015, staged a 'Festival of Protest' in the British Museum.
The Art Not Oil Coaltion also recently published a report, ‘BP’s Cultural Sponsorship: A Corrupting Influence'. This extensive report highlights how British cultural institutions such as National Portrait Gallery, Science Museum and British Museum have compromised on their stated values and independence in order to meet BP’s demands.
Dr Chris Garrard, speaking on behalf of 'BP or not BP', reacted to the renewal of BP's sponsorship:
‘This will be a hugely unpopular move and wildly out of touch with the mood across the cultural sector. Just weeks ago, BP’s corrupting influence over these cultural institutions was exposed in a damning report, uncovering the way the company uses sponsorship to keep drilling, spilling and cosying up to corrupt regimes.’
‘Sponsorship deals have been cancelled in the past due to public pressure. BP or not BP? intend to do everything we can to overturn this decision, and call on the cultural world to condemn it creatively and vocally.’
The Museum's Association is considering the ethical issues raised by the report into BP’s sponsorship.
Further reading: Corporate Sponsorship and Carbon Divestment