Statement from The Unthanks re. BAE Systems sponsorship of @GetNorth2018

The sponsorship of The Great Exhibition of the North by BAE Systems has led to some artists pulling out immediately, and we respect their decision, but we’d rather artists not be the ones to step down and away, or at least not yet. We may well follow suit (we are involved in two shows associated with the festival), but are currently in consultation with all parties. Our preference is to take part in negotiations that we hope result in a successful exhibition that doesn’t hold or rely on these associations. We aim not to let down ticket holders and the staff that worked hard to organise the shows we and others are involved in, and if the sponsor cannot be removed from the exhibition, we aim to stage them anyway, independently. We are prepared then to pull out if nothing changes, but not until we do our utmost to affect change. There are many partners involved in the exhibition, most of whom knew nothing about the sponsorship until it was announced, therefore we encourage in general, some patience until it transpires whether the situation can be resolved, in the hope that we can all enjoy a celebration to be proud of.

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