Developing a Profile for Culture within the London 2012 Games

Opening Weekend for the London 2012 Cultural OlympiadPresentation to the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad / Creative Programmers meeting in Liverpool, 19th November 2008

Summary: By 2012, cultural programming at the Olympics will be in its 100th year. Programming has evolved from medal-awarding Olympic Arts Competitions into Olympic Arts Exhibitions and since 1988 (in the lead to the Barcelona 1992 Games), four year Cultural Olympiads. However such programming has consistently failed to develop a significant profile within the Olympics and has traditionally been one of the most vulnerable aspects of the Games hosting process in terms of budgetting, branding and media coverage. Despite these challenges, some of the most sustainable Games Legacies have been triggered by cultural activity.

This presentation outlines key strengths and weaknesses in the delivery of the Cultural Olympiad in Beijing 2008 and other recent Olympiad editions from Sydney 2000 to highlight the consistent challenge of developing a significant profile for culture within the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The presentation looks at issues such as

programming, branding, promotion and media coverage to trigger discussion about London2012’s and the UK’s existing opportunities to strengthen the case for culture as a major contributor to the Olympic experience through such means as developing an evidence base and encouraging joined up marketing and communication approaches between the culture, sport and tourism sectors.

Biography: Dr Beatriz Garcia has spent the last ten years researching the Cultural Olympiad hosting process and undertaking field research at the Olympic Games in Sydney 2000, Salt Lake 2002, Athens 2004, Torino 2006 and

Beijing 2008. She has been funded by the International Olympic Committee and the International Olympic Academy to study the definition and implementation of cultural policies within the Olympic Movement. She is also a member of the IOC Postgraduate Grant Selection Committee and provides advice on cultural matters within the IOC Olympic Studies Centre. Beatriz acted as academic advisor to the London 2012 Culture and Education Advisory Committee throughout the Games bidding process. Since 2006, Beatriz has been the Director of Impacts 08 – The Liverpool Model, a longitudinal research programme into the impact of Liverpool’s becoming European Capital of Culture, jointly undertaken by the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University. In this role, Beatriz is arguing for the establishment of a comparable research framework that ensures an appropriate evidence-base for the Cultural Olympiad.

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Upcoming publication: Garcia, B. (2009) The Olympic Games and Cultural Policy, Routledge.