Cultural Policy and the Olympic Games

Beijing 2008 Olympic Cultural Programme

Principal Investigator: Cultural programming at the 2008 Beijing OlympicsThe Olympic Games

Research funded by the Universities’ China Committee in London.

[Check the project’s photo blog]

This project develops longitudinal research at the Olympic Games, which I have conducted since the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

The work has involved working as an embedded journalists/researcher within the Non-Accredited Media Centre at the Olympic Games, through which the communication of cultural aspects of the Games takes place. This environment provides a rich source of information about the Olympic host city’s vision of and for the Games beyond hosting successful sporting competitions. In particular, this is the environment where key messages about the host local and national cultural identity are most clearly portrayed, and where the promotion of the Games official cultural programme (or Cultural Olympiad) takes place.

The non-accredited media centre (in Beijing, named the ‘2008 Beijing International Media Center’) was the key venue where encounters between domestic governance and international media took place during Games time, as it was not regulated by the International Olympic Committee and it was funded by the host authorities and tourism bodies to promote local culture rather than international elite sport.

Fieldwork in Beijing involved 17 days of Games time data collection, including documentation gathering, interviews (structured and semi-structured) with key stakeholders, and participant observation of various Olympic environments, in particular, the sites of Olympic cultural programming.

During my time in Beijing, I also contributed to a Research Panel on Olympic Media and China within the 9th Biennial International Symposium for Olympic Research, organized by the International Centre for Olympic Studies at the University of Western Ontario, and Beijing’s Capital University of Physical Education.

Related publications

  • Garcia, B. (2008) ‘Beijing cultural festivals… bigger but not always better, in: Beijing 2008 – Academic Views of the Event, Barcelona: Centre for Olympic Studies.
  • Miah, A. & Garcia, B. (2008) ‘We Are The Media. Non-Accredited Media & Citizen Journalists at the Olympic Games’ in Price, M. & Dayan, D (Eds). Owning the Olympics. Narratives of the New China. University of Michigan Press (pp. 320-345)