Stagecoach ditched as Turner Prize sponsor

The controversial new sponsorship of the Turner Prize by Stagecoach South East is over, a day after it was announced.

In yet another arts sponsorship deal fraught by a murky backstory, the transport company has withdrawn after having been recruited by the venue for the 2019 presentation, Turner Contemporary in Margate (pictured).

There was outcry when the sponsorship line-up for the prise was announced earlier this week because of the stance against gay rights of stagecoach’s founder Brian Souter. The Scottish millionaire had campaign to keep Section 28, the anti-gay law.

Late last night (Thursday) Tate, which organises the annual contemporary art competition, Turner Contemporary and Stragecoach South East agreed to end the association.

“Turner Contemporary and Tate’s highest priority is to show and celebrate artists and their work” the galleries said. “The Turner Prize celebrates the creative freedoms of the visual arts community and our wider society. By mutual agreement, we will not proceed with Stagecoach South East’s sponsorship of this year’s prize.” 

And the Stagecoach South East statement said: “We are absolutely committed to diversity in our company, however we do not want anything to distract from celebrating the Turner Prize artists and their work”.

The incident follows a growing number of rethinks over cultural sponsorships from oil companies such as BP and Shell, and the Sackler Foundation for its connection to a pharmaceutical scandal.


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