Media Coverage and 2012


I wrote this response to the above article on the cultural olympiad as it annoyed me. What do you think?

Dear Editor (and Vanessa Thorpe)

I am getting pretty fed up with the lack of recognition that the UK regions are getting with regard to the delivery of the Cultural Olympiad. The Cultural Olympiad has in fact been up and running since September 2008 and is already far more than the 12 pieces of public art and commissioning programme for disabled artists that are mentioned in this article. In England’s North West alone we have been in delivery for over a year having successfully launched a Cumbria wide programme of street arts called Lakes Alive ( and a new trans regional festival of new cinema and digital culture called Abandon Normal Devices ( . Together these new cultural programmes of work which have been commissioned specifically for the Cultural Olympiad (and part of its hugely successful UK Inspire programme) have engaged through the delivery of 140 events over 750,000 audiences in culture and the Olympics through the Olympiad, involved over 800 artists/participants and provided volunteering opportunities for around 150 people . This is not all. There have also been a further 8 community projects which have taken place over the past year for the Inspire programme which have been engaging communities in the Olympic and Paralympic values, bringing our total regional public participation figures to around the 1 million mark and artist/participants involved to over 1000. This is a very good start for year one of what is a four year and UK wide Cultural Olympiad not as the article suggests an arts festival for the 2012 year in London.. Investment into cultural activity goes beyond the supply of arts and entertainment. It is building new partnerships and infrastructure to strengthen capacity in key areas of regional opportunity and need. Already in the North West we can count over 100 new partnerships generated as a result of the Cultural Olympiad. What I hope is that we will remember the Cultural Olympiad as a journey of endeavour and investment that raised the cultural offer in each and every region of the UK for years to come. It also needs to be recognized that whilst the three core values of the Cultural Olympiad which are welcoming the world, involving young people and creating a legacy might seem like vague and generic wishywash, they are in fact steering a vision which is coherent in terms of the artistic focus and direction of the UK wide programme. This is in itself a major achievement given the diversity and distinctiveness of British Culture. As a programmer for London 2012, I personally find both focus and a space to respond within this creative framework for the Olympiad which has in fact stayed static since the bid. Debbi Lander, Creative Programmer for the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad in the Northwest

~ by Debbi Lander on January 12, 2010.

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