Join in the Tate Debate, sponsored by Vodafone


As if it wasn’t content with protests over just one corporate sponsor, Tate has just announced a sponsorship deal with… Vodafone!

Today marks the launch of the Vodafone-branded ‘Tate Debates’. The official topic is ‘Should museums make apps?’, but one can think of more appropriate questions: ‘Is it OK to dodge a £6bn tax bill at a time when our schools, libraries and hospitals are closing?’ or ‘Is it OK for one of the country’s best loved art institutions to be taking money from tax-dodging corporations?’

Maybe Tate will get a few reminders that Vodafone’s tax dodge could pay for the the cut in Arts Council funding 60 times over.

Get over to the Tate Debate website and have your say by leaving comments via the form at the bottom of the page.

Update: the comments are already coming in…

I am an app developer, I have published apps and I do this for a professional living.

We have been in discussion with numerous art institutions / partnerships in the North West about producing apps. There is a massive wealth of information sitting there which could be utilised and shared through out the world. Galleries, museums and other institutions have been digitising their assets for years in an expectance of platforms like these.

Its a shame there really is no money to do anything anymore. These institutions now have to worry about keeping staff employed, the lights on and the general costs of keeping and bring in exhibitions and the like.

The real discussion should be “If Vodafone and others paid their true tax liabilities could museums then afford to produce apps”

I am not happy with the framing of the debate. I am sure art and culture can be experienced through a mobile phone. But why single out this tool, capable of transmitting sound, images and text?

Is it because a wealthy sponsor – Vodafone – wants you to ask?

Vodafone must be considered a toxic brand, up there with BP. Oh, they sponsor you as well.

Perhaps the better question to ask is: do the arts have to suffer severely limiting underfunding while companies like Vodafone treat our system with contempt, refusing to pay their full whack of tax, and then assuming it can appropriate the arts to ameliorate the toxicity of its brand.

Shame on the Tate management. You are dining in the trough of the capitalist pigs. You are demeaning your audience by expecting us to participate in this sordid little arrangement you have with this tax dodging multinational corporation. It’s artless and degrading: for you, for the artists who show in your spaces and for the public.

Please stop it. No to any mobile phone apps born of vodafone’s desire to improve its image at the Tate’s and the Tate’s audience’s expense.