Notes from the Cultural Olympiad talk

This talk took place on 15 May and was organised by Creative Republic.   I sat at the back of the room typing away and these are my unexpurgated notes in all their glory…

Creative industries employ 10p of workforce in WMids.  Twice as likely to be self-employed though – motivation for CR.  Voice, representation and authority.

New website live today.

Paul Kaynes is WM Creative Planner for 2012.

Core facts

What we’re planning in WM

Opportunities for creative industries to get engaged.

Olympiad last longer than 2 week Olympics.  Runs from Sept 08 to close of OG’s in 2012.  Idea is to make change to UK-wide cultural activity.  3 levels:
Mandatory ceremonies – part of ct for delivering games (medal, opening, etc

Signature projects – 9 national programmes across UK (Film & Video Nation – short films on Olympic film, can win whole film development
Shakespeare Now – led by RSC but delivered across country

Festival of Carnivals – 2 week festival at time of OGs so London based but preparation across UK.

Cult Olym core values:

  • Welcoming the world (internationalism esp, cultural & diversity)
  • Inspire & involve youngsters
  • Delivering a legacy – long-term diff to culture in UK

WMids strengths
Area of natural collaboration.  CR is an example of this.
Successful in writing culture into strategy of the strategy (economic, marketing, tourism)
Involving & working with youngsters – ie Creative Partnerships

Long way to go in making the most of the creative sector in transforming the region.  elling story outside the region.
V low levels of involvement in sport & culture in this region
Can reflect diversity much better – make cultural orgs reflect this

If it works what will have changed?
Better participation
Cultural stuff used better in marketing of the region
People using the Olympiad to up their game – build UK and international links

Making the most of the lo-cog ig projects – ones with resonance in WMids

Dance Programme – bulding on strong dance infrastructure in the region and level of involvement.  Can be pushed more though

Community OG’s – modern OG’s influenced by William Penny Brookes.  Rediscover that spirit of innovation.  Get communities to stage their own games.

Celebrating Internationalism – region makes better ties overseas than domestically.  We do world class work but don’t tie it to other regions (has impact on perception of the area?)  Series of major events in parts of the WMids.  Projects chosen to tell stories about the WMids to rest of the country.  In discussion with AWM about this.

UK wide cultural festival
Lots of anniversaries in 2009 – Boulton, Darwin, William Penny Brookes.  Represent innovation – attribute we want to apply to region.

Getting involved.

Apply to be part of it & use ‘Inspired’ logo.  No funding attached, it’s about being part of the programme.  Profile and advertising attached.
Launch weekend in Sept.  Want projects along themes of ‘open up’ and ‘light up’.  6 or so projects so far.
Business to bid for activities 25billion in contracts will first be advertised here.

Helga taking questions

Helga Henry – what are people doing instead of participating in sport & art?
PK – usually related to demographics, but ours are challenging but not that bad.  High levels of participation in dance, v low in visual art.  Instead – we don’t really know.  Medium/low for many activities.  Average for heritage & museums.

Peta Goodman – Education Business Links
Rely on employer volunteers but v small charity (less than 30 people) – can they badge volunteers and get involved in something bigger than themselves?  That’s their strength
PK – education is a significant part of this.  Will be training large no of volunteers over the years, run across country – details to be announced later this year.
Dance programme would be particularly well suited to such an organisation.

Karl Binder – CR treasurer
How hoping to break out from people who are concerned in this already?
PK – one of criteria is that every project (as well as core values) represent a stretch – ie activity ‘will be like never before’ which will involve reaching out to new audiences.  There’ll be a series of promotional things going on.  Orgs will be expected to promote what they’re doing but there will be work on this done at local

Sam Collinet(?) – heritage sector
Cross-cultural emphasis – community cohesion or cultural/heritage cross over.  Are lottery & national heritage on board with this?
PK – Yes, cross cultural is important.  New development is required of orgs wanting to be involved.  Also, develop reach by collaborating with people they wouldn’t have otherwise – ie film & heritage sector working together, food festivals & street dance working together.  Good at collabs

Ronda Wilson – Creative Dir of Rhubarb Rhubarb
People won’t want to use the logo.  Can you get involved without using it?
(Straw poll on the logo – show of hands was about 2/3 or 3/4 disliked.)
Sig projects will carry main logo, not the ‘inspired’ one.  Inspired one cannot be shown along orgs commercial sponsors.  That doesn’t mean those sponsored orgs can’t be part of it, there’s just sensitivities involved.
Re main logo – PK grown to like it.  Mark of brand is in context to which it’s used & achieves level of recognition (sounding v like party line)

Tony Taylor – cartoonist
No pride in the logo – who will want to wear that?
Also McD & Coke are american, why no Brits
M & C are long-term partners but other sponsors are British – Lloyds, etc
Logo not being used yet because can’t do so until previous games have passed.

Pete Ashton (ASH-10)
Re low levels of participation – not aware of what people are doing.  How can you approach those people when you don’t know what they’re doing?  How do you get to where they are?  Or do you try and drag them into something else?
PK – stats collection probably excludes some activities that we would consider ‘cultural’.  Do want to reflect activities that people are doing already, although they may not be ‘posh’ cultural or on a survey form.
Would a grassroots website/traking service thing be of use to the Cultural Olympiad.
PK – can be slow to pick up on some activities.  Want to raise agencies awareness of those activities.

Stef Lewandowski (3Form)
Blast was part of ArtsFest.  Use cultural as well as industrial to promote the area.
PK – yes.  Two ways to do this.  Anniversaries next year can create cultural things around industry.  Also national things tie in with this – not been using industrial sites as much as we did 15-20 years ago, we’ve lost that kind of thing.

(Note to self – logo still looks like Lisa Simpson performing a lewd act on her brother)

Published by Chris Unitt

I work at One Further, doing digital projects with cultural organisations. Follow @ChrisUnitt or find me on LinkedIn.

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