The fossil-fuel company Shell will withdraw its support for the Southbank Centre in London later this year in a move that again throws the spotlight on oil sponsorship deals at UK arts institutions. Last month, climate activists took over the British Museum in protest against BP sponsorship.
Shell says it is not renewing its corporate membership deals with both the Southbank Centre, which incorporates the Hayward Gallery, and the British Film Institute. A spokesperson for Shell told the Guardian: “We decided not to renew annual memberships with the BFI or the Southbank Centre, collectively worth around £20,000, when they expire later this year.”
Corporate membership includes invitations to private events such as VIP exhibition openings and “complimentary employee access to Hayward Gallery exhibitions”, according to the Southbank Centre website. Other Southbank centre “partners” include the creative advertising agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty and Deutsche Bank.
In a statement, Chris Garrard, the director of the protest group Culture Unstained, says: “Until it commits to leaving fossil fuels in the ground this decade, Shell will be standing in the way of zero carbon transition we urgently need and should not be welcomed into our arts institutions.”