The British Museum and BP finish their sponsorship deal after 27 years

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The British Museum and British Petroleum (BP), the multinational oil and fuel big headquartered in London, have ended their sponsorship settlement after 27 years.

The tip of the partnership, first reported by The Guardian newspaper, comes after greater than a decade of protests and artistic disruptions on the museum by activist teams together with BP or Not BP and Tradition Unstained, which noticed the settlement as a approach for BP to “artwash” its historic and ongoing contributions to world warming.

In accordance with data obtained by Tradition Unstained by means of Freedom of Data requests, the ultimate exhibition on the museum to be sponsored by BP was Hieroglyphs: Unlocking Historical Egypt, which closed on 19 February 2023. The corporate now has till the top of 2023 to make use of any remaining “supporter advantages” accrued by means of the partnership. A spokesperson for the museum didn’t present any new data or statements to The Guardian and has not responded to a request for remark fromThe Artwork Newspaper.

“Regardless of the museum’s lack of a transparent assertion, this vital transfer does gesture positively in direction of chair George Osborne’s said aspirations to develop into a ‘internet zero’ Museum, and the numerous position for arts and cultural establishments in taking motion for local weather,” stated Rodney Harrison, a professor on the College of Central London’s Institute of Archaeology, in an announcement supplied to Tradition Unstained, referring to a 2 November 2022 remark by the museum’s board chair throughout a speech to trustees.

Harrison added: “The archaeology, museums and heritage neighborhood will welcome the top of this sponsorship cope with an organization whose ongoing operations and lobbying on behalf of the fossil gas business shouldn’t be solely a risk to all of our planetary futures, however whose work additionally has had, and continues to have, a detrimental influence on cultural heritage globally.”

The British Museum is among the many final visible and performing arts establishments within the UK to finish its relationship with BP, renewing the sponsorship for 5 years in 2018. Lately—and sometimes after sustained strain from activists—organisations together with the Tate, the Nationwide Portrait Gallery, Nationwide Galleries Scotland, the Royal Shakespeare Firm and the Royal Opera Home all opted to not renew their sponsorship agreements with BP or in any other case reduce ties with the corporate. Amongst main establishments, solely London’s Science Museum’s training academy nonetheless has a partnership with BP.

The tip of BP and the British Museum partnership comes after the vitality big has reported report income ($28bn in 2022) whereas concurrently backtracking on its dedication to scale back carbon emissions by 40% from 2019 ranges by 2030. It has as a substitute dedicated to a much less formidable discount of 20% to 30%.

Local weather activists’ inventive protests urging the British Museum to finish its affiliation with BP have taken many types through the years, from a satiric proposal to drill for oil at Stonehenge final yr to a 51-hour occupation of the museum’s central courtyard in 2020 and a mythic battle between mermaids and a kraken in 2016.

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