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BP sponsorship doesn't break ethics guidelines but raises important questions, says Museums Association
POSTED 19 Aug 2016 . BY Tom Anstey
Oil giant BP's sponsorship of cultural attractions in the UK has not breached the Museum Association's (MA) code of ethics – although it has raised significant questions around sponsorship arrangements in general, said the body.

The MA's judgement refers to a report published by lobby group Art Not Oil, which alleged BP had a "corrupting influence" over the institutions it sponsors.

Published last May, the in-depth report drew upon hundreds of emails, documents and correspondence released through the Freedom of Information Act, revealing alleged interference in curatorial decision-making and museum security from BP at national institutions such as the British Museum, National Portrait Gallery, Tate and Science Museum.

After studying the report, the MA’s Ethics Committee ruled that the evidence outlined had not broken its code of ethics, with the body emphasising that its remit during the investigation was to consider the relationship between a museum and a sponsor rather than commenting on the global practices of BP.

In regards to allegations of BP having undue influence on curatorial decision-making, the committee said that it recommends against seeking direct approval on acquisitions or exhibition content, as it may “create pressures to self-censor or give the appearance of undue sponsor influence”. However, the committee also noted that the practice of updating a sponsor on the changing use of sponsorship funds “is appropriate”.

Also addressing allegations that cultural institutions had shared security information about anti-oil protests with BP, the Committee said it was “legitimate and desirable for a museum to seek to protect its visitors, its staff, its collections and its assets when a protest is planned within the museum,” adding that it was common practice for a museum to share security knowledge with others in the sector and with the police.

“The Art Not Oil report raised important questions about how museums should conduct their sponsorship arrangements, and the Ethics Committee has responded to these issues in full today,” said Sharon Heal, Museums Association director.

“The committee has recognised the rights of protestors and has asked museums to scrutinise all sponsorship arrangements to ensure that they uphold the code of ethics for museums, and has also recognised that there cannot be a one-size-fits all solution to the issue of oil sponsorship.”

In response to the Ethics Committee report, Art Not Oil expressed it gratitude for investigating the matter, but said it was disappointed the MA didn’t take a “stronger line”.

“BP is not just any sponsor - it is an extremely powerful international oil company with controversial operations, a multi-billion dollar turnover and a serious image problem,” said the Art Not Oil statement. “No interaction between BP and a cultural institution takes place in an ethical vacuum.

“We would question whether, in this case, ‘standard practice’ is best practice. We believe that the purpose of an ethical policy is to continually revise an organisation’s practices in relation to a shifting global context. And that context is shifting fast.”

BP announced at the end of last month that it was cutting its controversial sponsorship of UK cultural institutions by 25 per cent to £7.5m (US$9.9m, €8.9m), but that funding would continue for at least another five years.

To read the full Art Not Oil response, click here.
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NEWS
BP sponsorship doesn't break ethics guidelines but raises important questions, says Museums Association
POSTED 19 Aug 2016 . BY Tom Anstey
Oil giant BP's sponsorship of cultural attractions in the UK has not breached the Museum Association's (MA) code of ethics – although it has raised significant questions around sponsorship arrangements in general, said the body.

The MA's judgement refers to a report published by lobby group Art Not Oil, which alleged BP had a "corrupting influence" over the institutions it sponsors.

Published last May, the in-depth report drew upon hundreds of emails, documents and correspondence released through the Freedom of Information Act, revealing alleged interference in curatorial decision-making and museum security from BP at national institutions such as the British Museum, National Portrait Gallery, Tate and Science Museum.

After studying the report, the MA’s Ethics Committee ruled that the evidence outlined had not broken its code of ethics, with the body emphasising that its remit during the investigation was to consider the relationship between a museum and a sponsor rather than commenting on the global practices of BP.

In regards to allegations of BP having undue influence on curatorial decision-making, the committee said that it recommends against seeking direct approval on acquisitions or exhibition content, as it may “create pressures to self-censor or give the appearance of undue sponsor influence”. However, the committee also noted that the practice of updating a sponsor on the changing use of sponsorship funds “is appropriate”.

Also addressing allegations that cultural institutions had shared security information about anti-oil protests with BP, the Committee said it was “legitimate and desirable for a museum to seek to protect its visitors, its staff, its collections and its assets when a protest is planned within the museum,” adding that it was common practice for a museum to share security knowledge with others in the sector and with the police.

“The Art Not Oil report raised important questions about how museums should conduct their sponsorship arrangements, and the Ethics Committee has responded to these issues in full today,” said Sharon Heal, Museums Association director.

“The committee has recognised the rights of protestors and has asked museums to scrutinise all sponsorship arrangements to ensure that they uphold the code of ethics for museums, and has also recognised that there cannot be a one-size-fits all solution to the issue of oil sponsorship.”

In response to the Ethics Committee report, Art Not Oil expressed it gratitude for investigating the matter, but said it was disappointed the MA didn’t take a “stronger line”.

“BP is not just any sponsor - it is an extremely powerful international oil company with controversial operations, a multi-billion dollar turnover and a serious image problem,” said the Art Not Oil statement. “No interaction between BP and a cultural institution takes place in an ethical vacuum.

“We would question whether, in this case, ‘standard practice’ is best practice. We believe that the purpose of an ethical policy is to continually revise an organisation’s practices in relation to a shifting global context. And that context is shifting fast.”

BP announced at the end of last month that it was cutting its controversial sponsorship of UK cultural institutions by 25 per cent to £7.5m (US$9.9m, €8.9m), but that funding would continue for at least another five years.

To read the full Art Not Oil response, click here.
RELATED STORIES
BP cuts UK arts sponsorship by a quarter


Oil giant BP is cutting its controversial sponsorship of UK cultural institutions by 25 per cent to £7.5m (US$9.9m, €8.9m).
New report questions influence of BP over major UK institutions


With ongoing scrutiny of oil companies’ funding links to major institutions such as the British Museum, campaign group Art Not Oil has published new information on what it describes as the 'corrupting influence' of BP over national museums and galleries receiving its sponsorship in the UK.
Protesters put pressure on BP's sponsorship of British Museum


Anti-oil protesters invaded the British Museum recently to protest sponsorship by industry giant BP.
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Continued impressive results from Universal's theme park division has fueled strong revenue's for Comcast's first quarter, with theme park revenues increasing by 14.5 per cent.
Three more theme parks for China as Six Flags enjoys record start to 2018
Off the back of a record financial start to the year, Six Flags has announced plans to develop three more theme parks in China as the operator continues to ride the international wave of momentum it has created.
Unesco mobilises academics to promote heritage protection in Africa
Unesco's World Heritage Centre will this week be hosting a heritage workshop as part of its mandate to promote culture and education in Africa.
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Guest Experience Manager
SnowDome
Salary: Circa £30,000
Job location: Tamworth, UK
Games & Wristbands Manager
West Midland Safari and Leisure Park
Salary: £22,000 - £25,000
Job location: Worcs, UK
Senior Bowling Technician
NAMCO UK Ltd
Salary: Competitive Salary & Benefits
Job location: Manchester, UK
Food and Beverage Manager
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Salary: Circa £23,000
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Performance Assistant Team Leader
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Salary: Competitive Salary & Benefits
Job location: Hamburg, Germany
Retail, Admissions & Membership Manager
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Salary: £33,065
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ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media, Portmill House, Portmill Lane,
Hitchin, Hertfordshire SG5 1DJ Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2018

ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
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