Cultural Playing Field


Cultural Olympiad ‘open for business’ by Robin Simpson
March 11, 2008, 1:52 pm
Filed under: meetings | Tags: , ,

This morning I was at Live Theatre in Newcastle for one of the regional briefing sessions on the 2012 Cultural Olympiad. As Bill Morris announced on the London 2012 blog this morning, the Cultural Olympiad is now “open for business”. Details of how to apply to have your project recognised as part of the Olympiad are now at: www.london2012.com/beinspired. Months of delicate legal negotiations with the IOC have resulted in an agreement to endorse a ‘non-commercial mark’ for the 2012 Olympics. This is the first time this has ever been achieved and makes the concept of a four-year UK-wide cultural festival viable. The ‘Inspire Mark’ (which bizarrely we were only shown the tiniest glimpse of in this morning’s official presentation) will be used (sparingly, at least at first) to endorse non-commerical projects and events inspired by the Olympics. This means that it will only be available to projects without any commercial sponsorship which may prove to be a problem for some. We were told that the application process for Cultural Olympiad projects will have a 7-week turnaround time and everyone will first have to have discussed their ideas with the relevant local Creative Programmer. In this morning’s question and answer session I asked Lorna Fulton, the North East Creative Programmer, how she planned to cope with potentially thousands of enquiries from voluntary arts groups in the North East. I was delighted that her answer was that she understood discussions were going on nationally about this with the Voluntary Arts Network. We still have work to do on this but it’s great that the Creative Programmers seem to have accepted the importance of VAN playing a role. But, as Bill Morris says in his blog: “The truth is that all of this will come to naught without great content” and I am still frustrated by the clear need for a small grants fund to inspire local community groups across the UK to dream up projects that fit the criteria for the 2012 Cultural Olympiad. Time to redouble our efforts on this.

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