Alex Homfray - rethinking the cultural olympiad


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Alex Homfray\'s presentation at the Olympic Legacy conference, University of Greenwich, May 2008

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  • Consultant specialising in culture, creativity and regeneration Spend the majority of time working for Greater London Authority
  • Alex Homfray - rethinking the cultural olympiad

    1. 1. “ Rethinking the Cultural Olympiad” Alex Homfray The Olympic Legacy conference 9 th May 2008
    2. 2. London Cultural Consortium <ul><li>Advises the Mayor of London’s Cultural Strategy </li></ul><ul><li>Brings together the key agencies that support culture in London </li></ul><ul><li>Engages with major issues for the sector such as regeneration, diversity, and the 2012 Games </li></ul><ul><li>Encourages knowledge transfer between each part of the sector </li></ul><ul><li>Informs and guides the people who work for culture across London </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
    3. 3. Engaging the sector with 2012 <ul><li>Culture and Creativity Forum 2012 for London </li></ul><ul><li>Chair chairs Legacy Trust’s London advisory board </li></ul><ul><li>Disseminate information and guidance in accessible format </li></ul>
    4. 4. The next 15 minutes ... <ul><li>Personal views on culture and 2012 Games </li></ul><ul><li>Examine how the cultural sector has started to engage with the Games </li></ul><ul><li>Explain why it has been a bumpy ride </li></ul><ul><li>Suggest alternative ways of looking at: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Nature and direction of cultural sector </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Delivery of the Cultural Olympiad and other programmes inspired by the Games </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The potential cultural legacy </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. The cultural sector is dynamic 3 Heritage 2 Culture 1 Creative activity Visual and performing arts, music, film Built heritage, museums libraries and archives Heart of “the UK cultural sector” <ul><li>Technology driven </li></ul><ul><li>Home production </li></ul><ul><li>“ Creative Britain” and the creative economy </li></ul><ul><li>Future cultural participation </li></ul>
    6. 6. Implications for 2012 <ul><li>Culture in 2012 and the legacy period will be different from culture in 2008 </li></ul><ul><li>Are the Games an opportunity to accelerate: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>... inclusion of contemporary creative activity into “the cultural sector”? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>... use of contemporary creative technology by cultural institutions? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>... development of new forms of public cultural participation, e.g. CDR festivals, Bluetooth? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>... development of the ways that the cultural sector supports the Britain’s creative economy? </li></ul></ul>
    7. 7. Cultural organisations are dynamic <ul><li>Exploitation of cultural assets e.g. art collection, company of actors and its repertoire, individual creative talent </li></ul><ul><li>Respond to audience churn, change of political and social priorities, availability of funding </li></ul>Core programme Projects Main audience Fringe or targeted audiences Vision and aims Contribute to external issues / sectors such as education, regeneration, social justice , health Ongoing core funding Earned income Time-limited project funding, often from non-cultural sources Constant reinvention, reinterpretation, representation of cultural assets
    8. 8. Implications for 2012 <ul><li>Should cultural organisations engage via their core programmes or as projects? </li></ul><ul><li>Are the Games an opportunity to accelerate development of: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>... new ways of interpreting cultural assets? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>... new audiences, volunteers and funders? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>... the brand of my organisation? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>... new sources of income? </li></ul></ul>
    9. 9. The Games have much to offer <ul><li>World’s most recognised brand </li></ul><ul><li>Powerful appeal among the young and emerging markets for UK tourism </li></ul><ul><li>20,000 accredited and 20,000 non-accredited media; 3bn TV viewers </li></ul><ul><li>Marriage between sport, art and education </li></ul><ul><li>Partnerships between Government, private sector and voluntary sector </li></ul><ul><li>Cutting edge of technology and endeavour </li></ul>
    10. 10. The Olympiad is on track <ul><li>“ The London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games ... return to Pierre de Coubertin’s original vision of culture, sport and education uniting in celebration” </li></ul><ul><li>“ [The Cultural Olympiad] will ... connect future generations with the UK’s artistic communities and with their peers around the world ... promote contemporary London ... drive tourism ... ignite cutting edge collaborations and innovations...” </li></ul><ul><li>“ We’ve worked to develop a brand mark ... [for] exceptional projects inspired by London 2012” </li></ul><ul><li>“ We’ve started discussions to bring private sector support to Cultural Olympiad projects” </li></ul>
    11. 11. So why the hostile reception? The arts sector may, sadly, have no choice but to tell the government that it is simply not able to deliver a large proportion of the much-vaunted cultural Olympics. Peter Hewitt, April 2007 It’s art versus sport: the showdown. Mark Ravenhill, April 2007 How on earth can we take part? LCC event attendee, January 2008 There’s no money, and there’s no plan. Nicholas Hynter, April 2007
    12. 12. It’s the funding, stupid <ul><li>Circa £270m reduction in arts and heritage lottery funds available for projects ... </li></ul><ul><li>... but should the Games be treated as a project? </li></ul><ul><li>Addressing the Games within core programmes and existing resources </li></ul><ul><li>Mainstreaming innovation and the “development of existing activities” </li></ul><ul><li>Looking beyond the Cultural Olympiad </li></ul>
    13. 13. The real challenge <ul><li>For cultural programme leaders: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How to coordinate the calendar? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How to coordinate marketing? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unified theme vs. something for everyone? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Explicit relationship with the Games? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>For leaders of cultural organisations: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Which objectives are your priorities? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Olympic fever vs. business as usual? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How far dare you go? </li></ul></ul>
    14. 14. Measuring the legacy <ul><li>Cultural organisations, partners & sponsors, and audiences </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural Olympiad and other programmes </li></ul><ul><li>Participating and non-participating cultural organisations & venues </li></ul><ul><li>Facilitating year on year comparisons </li></ul><ul><li>Outputs versus uplifts and rate of change </li></ul><ul><li>The question of attribution </li></ul>
    15. 15. Change goes both ways <ul><li>The Games will change the sector: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>New organisations and art forms entering into the cultural sector / marketplace </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>New audiences, supporters, volunteers (“stakeholders”) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>New expectations among cultural audiences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Altered tourism patterns </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>New partnerships and knowledge transfer </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Get ready for the future! </li></ul>
    16. 16. Key points <ul><li>Culture in 2012 and the legacy period will be different from culture in 2008 </li></ul><ul><li>The Games are an opportunity to accelerate development of art forms, audiences, partners, brands, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Most organisations should engage via their core programmes and existing resources </li></ul><ul><li>The Cultural Olympiad is not the only opportunity </li></ul><ul><li>The evaluation programme needs to be sophisticated and wide ranging </li></ul><ul><li>Change goes both ways </li></ul>