Tate Has 35 Days to Disclose BP Sponsorship Figures

Liberate Tate stages a protest at Tate Britain (2011). Photo: Amy Scaife, courtesy Corbis.

Yesterday, the Information Tribunal in London gave Tate 35 days to disclose the sum it received from its sponsor BP between 1990 and 2006.

The ruling comes as a huge victory for activists from Platform and Request Initiative, who, alongside the artist collective Liberate Tate, have long campaigned for Tate to drop its sponsorship deal with the oil giant (see “Liberate Tate Plans Mass Protest Over BP Sponsorship”).

The art institution, which renewed its sponsorship contract with BP for five years in 2011, has repeatedly refused to disclose specific information pertaining to the arrangement, citing Freedom of Information exemptions (see “Will Tate Disclose Details of BP Sponsorship?”).

According to a press release from Platform, however, the Information Tribunal ruled yesterday that this use of the Freedom of Information Act was “mistaken” and “somewhat fanciful.”

“We are delighted the sponsorship figures will be revealed,” Platform’s Anna Galkina said in a statement. “Tate’s sponsorship deal provides BP with a veneer of respectability when in reality it is trashing the climate, and involved with a series of environmental and human rights controversies all around the world. BP is desperate to maintain its ‘social license’ through arts sponsorship. But Tate can do without BP, considering the deal is likely worth less than 0.5% of Tate’s budget. Sponsorship secrecy makes BP seem more indispensable than it really is – and our culture must dispense with oil corporations.”

When contacted by artnet News, Tate sent the following statement: “Tate is considering the decision of the first-tier Tribunal in the BP sponsorship Freedom of Information case. The Tribunal upheld many of Tate’s redactions and also required the release of some elements of the FOI [Freedom of Information] request including the release of pre-2007 historic figures for BP funding. The Tribunal commended Tate for being thorough and open in its approach to the case.”

Both Tate and the campaigners have 28 days to appeal the Tribunal’s decision.

Tate declined to comment on whether it would appeal. But Galkina, from Platform, told artnet News that they would appeal to ask for the disclosure of the sums granted by BP to Tate from 2007 to 2012, as well as of a portion of the BP and Tate meetings minutes that the Tribunal has so far allowed the museum to keep secret.

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