Oil money only ‘tiny sliver’ in comparison to overall incomes

New research from oil industry watchdog Platform today has revealed how small the amount of oil money going into UK arts institutions compared to their overall budgets. At the end of 2011, BP announced a £10 million sponsorship deal for four of London’s flagship cultural institutions over a five year period.

The Culture Clash infographic (attached) shows pie charts of the four institutions – Tate, British Museum, Royal Opera House and the National Portrait gallery and breaks down their total 2013 budget according into public funding, trusts, commerce etc alongside the average that each institution would receive from BP if the money was allocated equally over the course of the five years i.e. £500,000 a year.

The research shows that using the £500,000 figure, BP’s sponsorship money represents:

  • 0.3% of Tate’s total income
  • 0.4% of the British Museum’s total income
  • 0.5% of the Royal Opera House’s total income
  • 2.9% of the National Portrait Gallery’s total income.

For the last two and a half years Tate has been involved in a Freedom of Information struggle over its refusal to disclose information over details and discussions over its sponsorship relationship with BP. Despite a ruling from the Information Commissioner in March that Tate was breaking information law on a number of counts in not revealing information regarding to sponsorship discussions, Tate has appealed and the tribunal hearing is likely to place in September.

The infographic has been released following the most recent intervention by art-activist groups targeting BP-sponsored institutions. Yesterday the group Reclaim Our Bard staged a Norse saga inside the British Museum featuring Viking-invaders with BP logo shields, in protest against BP’s sponsorship of the Vikings exhibition. Earlier this month, the veteran human rights campaigner Archbishop Desmond Tutu said “People of conscience need to break their ties with corporations financing the injustice of climate change.”

Kevin Smith, an oil sponsorship campaigner from Platform said:

BP’s sponsorship money represents just a tiny sliver of funding compared to the total budget of cultural institutions like Tate. These institutions all have great brands and excellent fund raising teams, so it would be entirely possible for them to replace this small amount of money from companies that aren’t devastating the climate.

For more information or comment, contact [email protected]

Photos of the BP/Viking intervention at the British Museum are available – contact  [email protected]

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