Image: © Mayor of London
The Cultural Olympiad that ran alongside the London 2012 Games was the largest cultural programme of any Olympic and Paralympic Games. From 2008, it delivered a nationwide programme of the UK’s best arts and culture during the four years leading up to the Games, and culminated in the London 2012 Festival. During the programme, approximately 180 thousand activities across a range of artforms took place, inviting the participation of over 43 million members of the public.
The Cultural Olympiad not only provided an opportunity for wider public engagement in the arts and culture, but acted as a catalyst for the creation of new creative partnerships and collaborations as well. These partnerships were not limited to cross-organisation partnerships within the cultural sector, but included cross-sector partnerships with the private sector, educational organisations and local authorities. The nationwide programme meant that impact was not limited to London, and many benefits to tourism and energizing of local communities were felt across the whole of the UK.
In the lead up to the 2020 Games in Tokyo, the British Council will run a series of programmes to share the UK’s experience in running the highly acclaimed London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. By sharing the UK’s experience and working together with stakeholders in Japan, we hope to inspire the creation of new cross-sector, cross-genre relationships and collaborations, as well as a shared vision for the future of the cultural sector, towards 2020 and beyond.