With more than five years of experience of delivering cultural and arts projects for London 2012, Legacy Trust UK believes there is something unique about programming culture as a part of major sporting and landmark events and how culture can enhance the overall experience. That is why we invested in the Cultural Enquiry led by the Cultural Institute at King’s College so that they could bring together research and learning from the vast amount of work undertaken by ourselves and partners and use it to enhance the range of exciting events that are or will be planned for the future. The Cultural Enquiry is an opportunity to create a real legacy through ensuring that culture is effectively used in future events to ensure that the whole of the UK can get involved.
Culture and the arts can increase the impact of major events in the future and secure the legacy from 2012
The UK could and should be doing more to learn from, and develop, the cultural legacy of London 2012 - and the time to act is now to ensure that valuable learning from this, and other major events, is not lost, says a report published today by King’s College London. This landmark publication comes just days after the report from the Lord’s Select Committee on Olympic and Paralympic Legacy which urged greater action to secure the legacy from the London 2012 Games.
The first Cultural Enquiry emerging from the Cultural Institute at King’s College London, supported by Legacy Trust UK, calls for the creationof a consortium body to lead, direct and deliver the legacy. Drawing representatives from stakeholders across art, sport, government and universities, the consortium would access a network of people with skills and first-hand experience in the delivery of arts and cultural programmes in the context of major events.
The role that arts and culture play in maximising the value of major sporting and national events now and in the future is explored in the report, which engaged over 70 leaders across arts and culture, sport, national and local government, business and funding bodies. It also drew on the findings of an independent survey of 2000 UK adults carried out simultaneously by Legacy Trust UK to understand the public’s views on sports and culture events.
The survey revealed that 62% of the UK public would like to see arts and culture routinely programmed as an integrated element of major events. The universal agreement among contributors across arts and sport, that arts and culture can and do add value to major events, was supported by a review of relevant research, which confirmed the economic impact of cultural festivals as well as benefits stretching across health and well-being, social inclusion, skills, employment and human capital.
However, the report revealed that while the immediate benefits are clear, more needs to be done to integrate culture into the planning and delivery of major events to ensure those benefits are felt beyond the event itself, in a range of policy areas over the long term. It questions whether the current practice, of creating a delivery vehicle for each event that is disbanded immediately afterwards, is the best way to ensure lasting legacy.
Deborah Bull, Director, Cultural Partnerships at King’s College London, said: ‘62% is a significant proportion of the UK population and demonstrates that people have come to expect culture and the arts to be an integral part of major events. The overwhelming conclusion to emerge from the conversations we had through the Enquiry was that if that extraordinary summer of 2012 is to be more than just an unforgettable one-off, the time to act is now. I’m looking forward to working with colleagues across King’s and stakeholders who have contributed to the report over the coming months to realise the ambitions it sets out.’
Moira Swinbank, Chief Executive of Legacy Trust UK said: ‘After the outstanding success of the Cultural Olympiad, as part of London 2012, it is important that we continue to think, learn and act to use culture to make future landmark events a real success. This is why we passionately supported and funded this enquiry so we can ensure we have a long term distinct cultural legacy for the whole nation,’
Fran Hegyi, Director of the Cultural Enquiry and Senior Cultural Advisor with the London 2012 Culture Team, said: ‘The experience of last summer shows that arts and culture really can make a difference to how an event is perceived and valued by spectators, international visitors and our local communities. There is no reason why other major events cannot have a similar impact, at scale, in the future. However to do that we must harness the learning and expertise now.
‘We found that the space in which sport, arts and culture come together in major events is a hugely powerful one which can create real benefit, yet it is not well understood, managed or shared. This disconnect is creating a missed opportunity for the event industry and communities around the UK.
Dr Katherine Grainger, Olympic Champion and King’s alumna, said: ‘Major events are bigger than just sport. They are multicultural celebrations of achievement. The inclusion of culture in those events makes for a more enjoyable experience for the athletes, our friends and families and the spectators. I have seen first-hand, through competing in the Olympics and the World Championships, the benefits that arts and culture can bring, so this Enquiry, with its recommendations to bring these experiences to more events in future, is very welcome.’
Cultural Institute at King’s College London connects academic and student communities with practitioners, policy makers, producers and participants across arts and culture, creating space where conventions are challenged and original perspectives emerge. Its Cultural Enquiry programme offers a neutral space in which the cultural sector can come together with relevant academic expertise to address shared questions and common concerns, identifying solutions that will deliver value to the sector as a whole.
We are delighted to launch our lifetime review publication and film, which captures some of the key learnings from the review. The full publication can be downloaded from our Publications page, and you can check out our film below.