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Connecting through arts and culture

bp believes that access to arts and culture helps to build a more inspired and creative society, it gives us a sense of who we are and where we’ve come from
bp has been supporting the arts for over 50 years

Supporting the arts

bp is one of the most significant corporate investors in UK arts and culture with a history that extends over five decades, half the lifespan of the company. We have been headquartered in the UK for over 100 years and we aim to play our part in UK society through our long-term support for arts and culture. 


Support for the arts is part of the company’s wider contribution to society which also includes initiatives to develop talent in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) and build community capacity in areas such as leadership and business skills.


bp’s arts programme aims to provide access to excellence in the arts to audiences and communities across the UK and beyond, enabling experiences that bring about a healthier, smarter, more cohesive and happier society, making a difference to people's lives. Our long-term commitments ensure that new performances, special events, exhibitions, awards, grants, lectures, and access to works of art can continue to reach an ever-growing audience, bringing art into the public domain in ways that wouldn’t otherwise be possible without bp’s investment.


Our strategy continues to focus on support for the major institutions with which we’ve had long-standing relationships: the British Museum, the National Portrait Gallery and the Royal Opera House. In addition, we have supported the Mariinsky UK tour since 2011.


We were also a major corporate partner with Hull UK City of Culture 2017 – an exciting year-long cultural celebration featuring an impressive range of diverse, high profile events and projects in which bp played an important part. In addition we partnered with Tate Britain for over 26 years. Our overall investment in all these institutions and events is one of the most significant and enduring in UK arts and culture.


In 2016 in support of our strategy, we announced a further five-year investment of £7.5 million from 2018 for a range of projects at the British Museum, the National Portrait Gallery and the Royal Opera House. Since 1989, bp’s investment has enabled over 50 million people to engage with bp activities, helping to ensure that many more people will have access to the best of the UK’s artistic culture well in to the future.

The bp archive

Since 1967, the bp archive has been formally retaining records relating to the history of the company. The collection consists of over 10 linear kilometres of paper records, photographs, artefacts, film and audio visual items. These, by the nature of the company’s operations, include information on the cultural, social and economic histories of the countries in which we have and continue to operate around the world.

These records are not only used by bp to support its primary business activities, but also to enhance its reputation by making the material available to cultural and historical institutions in those countries. For over 20 years, the archive has also been made accessible to academic researchers and representatives of cultural institutions at its location on the campus of the University of Warwick.