Belfast Telegraph

Trustee resigns from British Museum’s board over BP sponsorship

Ahdaf Soueif also criticised the museum for failing to take a ‘clear position’ on the repatriation of foreign artefacts.

Ahdaf Soueif has resigned from the British Museum’s board of trustee’s (Neil Munns/PA)
Ahdaf Soueif has resigned from the British Museum’s board of trustee’s (Neil Munns/PA)

An Egyptian writer has resigned from the British Museum’s board of trustees over its decision to accept sponsorship from oil giant BP.

Ahdaf Soueif also claimed the museum had failed to take a “clear position” on the repatriation of artefacts from other countries.

In a blog post on Monday for the London Review of Books, Soueif, a trustee since 2012, said her decision to step down was not because of a single issue.

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Activists from the pressure group BP or not BP protest in the Great Court of the British Museum (John Stillwell/PA)

Instead she cited the museum’s “immovability on issues of critical concern” to “the young and the less privileged” as the main reason for her departure.

BP’s sponsorship of the British Museum as well as other cultural institutions including the Tate and the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) has prompted protests from environmental activists.

Last month Sir Mark Rylance quit the RSC over its decision to accept funding from the British multinational oil and gas company.

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Sir Mark Rylance recently quit the RSC over its BP sponsorship (Adam Davy/PA)

Sir Mark accused BP of obscuring its damaging environmental impact by supporting arts organisations.

Chairman of the British Museum’s board of trustees Sir Richard Lambert said Soueif had been a “much valued voice”.

He said: “The Trustees regret Ahdaf Soueif’s decision to step down from the Board on which she has been a much valued voice since 2012.

“Ahdaf has made a significant contribution to the Board in all its endeavours and discussions, and has played a crucial role in deepening the British Museum’s engagement with Egypt and the wider Middle East, and with audiences and partners throughout the world.”

Soueif is author of the 1999 Booker Prize nominee The Map Of Love.

PA

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