Shell’s partnership with London’s National Gallery ends

Campaigners in 2015, demanding an end to Shell sponsorship and the reinstatement of sacked PCS Union rep Candy Udwin. Photo: Kristian Buus

After a 12-year partnership, Shell has confirmed it has ended it’s corporate sponsorship of London’s National Gallery, the Guardian reports. Documents released under the Freedom of Information act recently revealed that the partnership ended in January this year. Following this, Shell contacted the National Gallery to confirm it would not be renewing it’s sponsorship. Campaigners have spent years trying to remove fossil fuel sponsorship from the arts, including protests against BP’s partnership with the Tate which subsequently ended in 2016. 

Shell’s sponsorship is said to have brought the museum funds of around £20,000–£35,000. The company released a statement regarding their decision to withdraw from the institution, saying it would allow the company to ‘focus on our work to inspire the next generation of engineers through our Stem (science, technology, engineering and maths) education programmes’. While Shell plans to direct its funds toward supporting education in Stem projects, its latest sponsorship of a current exhibition at the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester, Electricity: The spark of life, has ‘led several partners in the Manchester Science festival to withdraw in protest’. Scientists have put pressure on the Science Museum Group, which runs both the Manchester and London museums, to cancel its partnerships with oil and gas companies. 

BP remains in partnership with the British Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal Opera House.

19 October 2018