Maurice Davies, head of policy and communication, Museums Association
“The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is an appalling disaster, a result of the energy-hungry world’s dependence on oil. The sooner we reduce our need for fossil fuels, the better.
The protests against BP sponsorship of museums are powerful symbolically of the need to find cleaner energy sources and for dangerous industries to act responsibly.
BP has a long tradition of supporting museums. It seems reasonable that those museums should maintain their relationship with BP through a difficult period for the company. If a museum stopped accepting sponsorship from BP it would be a small symbolic step but if we really want to send a message about oil, we’d all try far harder to use less petrol.”
Charlie Kronick, Greenpeace
“We need to begin the move away from the oil economy now. And one of the first steps on this road is for museums to stop providing cover for the destructive and unsustainable activities of oil companies like BP.
The explosion of BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig and subsequent leak of millions of barrels of oil into the fragile environment of the Gulf of Mexico have shown that we are running increasingly serious risks trying to squeeze the last drops of oil out of deep water, Canada’s highly polluting tar sands and the Arctic.
It’s obvious that BP and the other oil companies need the Tate more than the Tate needs BP. That’s why they should drop BP right now.”
Emma Freeman, interpretive planner, Cultural Innovations
“Museums and galleries used to have the luxury of choosing sponsors, carefully considering the impact on brand and public perception. But in the future we’ll need to be more ruthless about how we fund our visitor offer. This presents a chance to suspend our pervasive concern with public reaction and be clear about our sponsorship agreements and commitments to remain objective.
BP’s energy production is a topic we all have a responsibility to engage with. Museums play an important role in facilitating this and in shaping the energy industry’s future leaders and lobbyists. As long as BP has no influence on content, why shouldn’t it fund this investment in our future?”
Sophie Thomas, director, Thomas Matthews
“Culture is the new cool and big corporations want this association for their brands. This is a very good thing for the arts in the face of impending government cuts and it should be welcomed. Some argue that this muddies the artistic integrity, but it would be a sadder world were our artistic institutions to disappear.
In the case of BP, its sponsorship should be encouraged with knowledge of the consequences that may follow. Support must not be used to offset any of the corporation’s wrongs and equally the supported must be more active in demonstrating to the corporation new ways to communicate and engage audiences – with intelligence, integrity and authenticity.”