When sport met culture

August 17, 2008

The day London knew it would become host of the Olympic Games 2012, the authorities put in motion plans to allow the city to accommodate the competition and also to highlight its cultural side.As the Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell said in Liverpool last year, “the Olympics is that once of a lifetime opportunity for hundreds of thousands of people to discover new, thrilling and unexpected ways of fulfilling their creative potential in all its forms”.

The Games will provide both the creative industries and the ordinary people in London and in the UK as a whole a chance to show their ideas and ways of expression.
Four years of culture

London 2012 and the Department of Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) have worked together to promote a four-year initiative full of cultural events, from food to opera, street theatre, fashion, poetry and cinema.

The Cultural Olympiad, which will start this summer after the Beijing Olympics closing ceremony, is supposed to “generate sustainable long-term benefits to the UK´s cultural life”, according to London 2012.

It is also designed to “connect future generations with the UK’s artistic communities, promote contemporary London as a major cultural capital and drive tourism and inward investment”.

During the next four years, the DCMS and the London Olympic Games Organizing Committee (LOCOG) will collaborate with different partners to deliver at least nine projects, still to be completely defined.
One of them, Film and Video Nation, will encourage all kinds of filmmakers to record their views on the Games.

The International Exhibitions Project will allow international curators and local communities to reinterpret gallery and museum collections.

Another highlight of the Cultural Olympiad will be the International Shakespeare Festival, which will encourage the creation of new theatrical pieces inspired in the original work of this iconic writer.

Until the very end

The Cultural Olympiad will also include all the ceremonies related to the Games, from the handover at Beijing 2008 to the closure of London 2012.

This cultural initiative will culminate in a UK-wide cultural festival that will take place during the days of the competition and will strive to engage local communities and increase participation, DCMS sources said.

The voice of regional culture

To ensure that the personality of London and each of the UK’s eight regions is represented in the Cultural Olympiad in the same level, the government has initiated a series of creative programmers.

They will enable cultural bodies and citizens to take part in the Olympiad and they will assess the quality of the local projects that aspire to be included in the program, according to the DCMS.

The cost of culture

Also, the new Legacy Trust will invest £40 million in the promotion of sport and culture through the 2012 Games. The funding is provided by the Big Lottery Fund, the Arts Council and the DCMS.

Cultural Olympiad

Department for Culture, Media and Sport

The Legacy Trust

UK Film Council

Museums, Libraries and Archives Council


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