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A memetic understanding of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad


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A memetic understanding of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad

  1. 1. Sprinkling magic dust or adding value? A memetic understanding of the Cultural Olympiad of the 2012 games Nikki MacLeod & James Kennell University of Greenwich
  2. 2. The problem: <ul><li>The cultural festival of the games is launched 26-28 th September 2008 </li></ul><ul><li>Latest public accounts committee report states that there is an urgent need for targets and objectives for the legacy planning (HMSO 2008) </li></ul><ul><li>Good practice in evaluating the impacts of cultural programmes (Reeves 2002, Guetzkow 2002, Matarasso 1997) suggests that evaluation should include </li></ul><ul><ul><li>agreed concepts and frameworks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>congruous with the specific aims and cultural content of the programme </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>longitudinal studies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>consideration of national / strategic, regional, local and user group levels </li></ul></ul><ul><li>BUT the nature of the Cultural Olympiad (structure, geographical dispersion, funding, tiers of projects etc) means that this is problematic </li></ul><ul><li>SO how to evaluate the impacts of the programme and articulate the value of the Cultural Olympiad portion of the £3.08bn, £28 million from £40m Legacy Trust being spent on it. </li></ul>
  3. 3. The context: <ul><li>First stage - review of the grey literature for Cultural Trends </li></ul><ul><li>Second stage – conceptualisation of the emerging Cultural Olympiad including review of the academic literature </li></ul><ul><li>Third stage – extending conceptual frameworks into a broader research project including international and cross-cultural dimension </li></ul>
  4. 4. Grey literature sources: <ul><li>50 documents analysed… </li></ul>
  5. 5. LOCOG London Cultural Consortium Central London Sub Region (Creative Offer 2012) Mayor of London London Assembly London Councils 5 Host Boroughs Network 2008-2012 Culture and Creativity Advisory Forum MLA English Heritage DCMS House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee Cultural Olympiad Action Group Podium Voluntary Arts Network Archives, Libraries and Museums London Arts Council England South West England Development Agency Croydon Council Yorkshire Gold Coventry and Warwickshire 2012 opportunities group Derbyshire 2012 games management group North West Regional Development Agency South East of England Development Agency South East of England Regional Assembly Youth Music UK South East of England 2012 partnership
  6. 6. A conceptual approach: <ul><li>The Cultural Olympiad is an evolving system </li></ul><ul><li>Dawkins (1976) coined the term ‘meme’ to describe ‘units of cultural transmission’ in order to explain how concepts have ‘stability and penetrance’ in the cultural environment with no basis in inheritance, but with evolutionary characteristics. </li></ul><ul><li>Memes spread according to their suitability for the environmental conditions </li></ul>
  7. 7. Meme complexes <ul><li>Like gene-transmission, meme-transmission is subject to mutation and blending, but over much shorter timescales. </li></ul><ul><li>Meme-complexes contain related memes which derive evolutionary advantages from their relationships to one another </li></ul>
  8. 8. The meme-complex of the Cultural Olympiad for 2012 <ul><li>Cultural development </li></ul><ul><li>Developing institutional frameworks </li></ul><ul><li>Social benefit </li></ul><ul><li>Educational benefit </li></ul><ul><li>Promotional benefit </li></ul>
  9. 9. Cultural development <ul><li>Promoting a sense of entitlement to culture </li></ul><ul><li>Engaging young people in culture </li></ul><ul><li>Linking sport and art </li></ul><ul><li>Celebrating cultural diversity </li></ul><ul><li>Increasing cultural participation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ an important ambition is to leave a legacy of larger and more diverse cultural audiences, including younger generations’ London Cultural Consortium 2008 </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Developing Institutional Frameworks <ul><li>Forging and strengthening partnerships </li></ul><ul><li>Ownership of the cultural Olympiad by cultural organisations </li></ul><ul><li>Olympics as catalyst for accelerating or enhancing the delivery of existing projects </li></ul><ul><li>Developing international links </li></ul><ul><li>Promoting financially sustainable projects </li></ul><ul><li>Coordinating tourism and culture </li></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ the Cultural Olympiad…offers the chance to strengthen further the partnership between our three domains, and between them and the rest of the cultural, voluntary and community sectors’ MLA partnership ‘Setting the Pace’ </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Social benefit <ul><li>Increasing social capital </li></ul><ul><li>Promoting social inclusion </li></ul><ul><li>Improvements to quality of life </li></ul><ul><li>Improvements to well-being </li></ul><ul><li>Increased community cohesion </li></ul><ul><li>Animating / enlivening public space </li></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ The Cultural Olympiad…will generate a positive legacy through cultural and sports participation, cultural skills, urban regeneration, .. social cohesion and international links’ DCMS London 2012 Annual Report Jan 2008) </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Educational benefit <ul><li>Skills development through volunteering </li></ul><ul><li>Increasing creative industries training opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>Sharing the values of the Olympic movement </li></ul><ul><li>Education programme for schools </li></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ The legacy had to be…about people… inspiring young people, improving skills and leadership in the cultural and creative sectors..’ Culture and Creativity Advisory Forum 2006 </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Promotional benefit <ul><li>Producing memorable moments </li></ul><ul><li>Celebratory performances / events </li></ul><ul><li>Attracting tourists </li></ul><ul><li>Maximizing the opportunity for the regions presented by the increased profile of London and the UK </li></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ promote contemporary London as a major world cultural capital; drive tourism and inward investment and use the creative industries to boost economic regeneration’ from LOCOG’s Cultural Olympiad Themes 2007 </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Benefits of the Memetic approach <ul><li>Dynamic understanding of an evolutionary process </li></ul><ul><li>Highlights key areas of concentration for an ongoing and post - Cultural Olympiad evaluation framework </li></ul><ul><li>Documents a historical-cultural process </li></ul><ul><li>“ Nothing is more lethal for certain kinds of meme than a tendency to look for evidence” (Dawkins 1976: 198) </li></ul>
  15. 15. Extending the memetic framework <ul><li>An emerging field of scholarship on memetics (e.g. Aunger 2000, Miller 2002) that can be incorporated into the project </li></ul><ul><li>Six-monthly analysis to categorise grey literature and map the transmission of memes </li></ul><ul><li>Triangulation with key informant interviews </li></ul><ul><li>12-monthly reporting cycle </li></ul><ul><li>Research into Cultural Olympiads post-1992 to explore the evolutionary processes involved in the CO meme-complex </li></ul>
  16. 16. References <ul><li>Aunger, R. (ed.) (2000) Darwinising culture: the status of memetics as a science, Oxford: OUP </li></ul><ul><li>Garcia, B. (2004) ‘Urban regeneration, arts programming and major events’ in International Journal of Cultural Policy , Vol.10, No.1, pp.103-118 </li></ul><ul><li>Guetzkow, J. (2002) How the arts impact communities, Princeton University Centre for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies, Working paper 20 – presented at the Taking the Measure of Culture conference, Princeton, June 7-8, 2002 </li></ul><ul><li>HMSO (2008) The budget for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games – report of the House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts , London: HMSO </li></ul><ul><li>Matarasso, F. (1997) Use or ornament, Stroud: Comedia </li></ul><ul><li>Miller, H. (2004) Postmodern Public Policy , Albany, State University of New York Press </li></ul><ul><li>Preuss, H. (2007) ‘The Conceptualisation and Measurement of Mega Sport </li></ul><ul><li>Event Legacies’ in Journal of Sport and Tourism , Vol.12, No.3, pp.207-228 </li></ul><ul><li>Rand Europe (2007) Setting the agenda for an evidence based Olympics , Cambridge: RAND </li></ul><ul><li>Reeves, M. (2002) Measuring the social and economic impacts of the arts: a review, London: ACE </li></ul><ul><li>Shipway, R. (2007) ‘Sustainable legacies for the 2012 Olympic games’ in The Journal of the Royal Society for the promotion of health , Vol.127, No.3, pp.119-124 </li></ul><ul><li>Vigor, A. (2004) Creating and Olympic Legacy , London: IPPR </li></ul>