Artists and Academics Call on British Museum to Strip Lecture Hall of BP Name

A group of more than 80 artists and academics have called on leadership at London’s British Museum to strip the BP name from one of its main lecture halls. The calls follow the museum’s plans to terminate a long-running corporate sponsorship deal with the oil company in June under pressure from climate advocacy groups.

Signatories of the letter, which was addressed to outgoing director Hartwig Fischer, described the museum’s partnership with the oil company as “dangerous.” They argued that the museum plays a role in enhancing BP’s reputation by providing “social legitimacy and influence.”

Listen beautiful relax classics on our Youtube channel.

Among the cultural figures who signed the letter are photographer Nan Goldin, climate scientist Bill McGuire, Brunel Museum director Katherine McAlpine, and archaeologist David Wengrow.

The letter condemned BP for its role in lobbying against climate-related policies, stating that the company has funded disinformation campaigns around the affects of climate change and supported the economic interest of “repressive rulers” in Russia, Egypt, and other countries.

In the letter to Fischer, signatories called on the British Museum to take after other cultural institutions in the UK and abroad who removed the Sackler family name from its buildings. Many of those removals came after protests by Goldin and her group PAIN, which frequently pointed out that the family was accused of fomenting a drug crisis in the US through the sale of opioids produced by the pharmaceutical company Purdue Pharma.

In March 2022, the British Museum was among the several institutions in the US and UK to strip its galleries of the Sackler name.

“The damning evidence of BP’s past – and present – can no longer be ignored,” the letter reads. “Renaming the lecture theatre would send a powerful message about the future the museum wants to see … You would be demonstrating the kind of climate leadership that is now so urgently needed.”

In February, BP reported that the company has generated an annual record profit of $27.7 billion in 2022.

In documents obtained under freedom of information act by the UK-based climate change watch group Culture Unstained, the museum stated that undisclosed terms of the three-decade long deal with BP would not be terminated and that corporate donation in the form of “supporter benefits” could still be exercised until the end of 2023.

In 2000, BP donated the funds to create the establish the 300-seat BP Lecture Theatre where the museum hosts major events each year. According to Culture Unsustained, the company’s use of the setting for its annual business reception and private events has allowed it to “boost its brand by associating itself with the UK’s most visited cultural institution.”


No votes yet.
Please wait...