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Cultural Olympiad info e-bulletin


Focus on…

Just what is the Cultural Olympiad?

display swimmers swimming in a circle

A number of people within Sync South East, in both the individuals programme and the organisations programme, have admitted feeling a little confused by what exactly the Cultural Olympiad is and how they can best engage with it.

The shortest document you can get on it is a whopping 17 pages long, so we’ve attempted a mini version here.

Want to know all about the Cultural Olympiad and in particular what’s going on in the south east region?

Read on!

A brief overview of the Cultural Olympiad

The London 2012 Cultural Olympiad is a four year celebration designed to encourage the widest range of people across the whole of the UK to get involved in the London 2012 Games. It aims to change the way culture is valued in this country and get more people participating, especially young people.

Candoco Youth Group at the Unlimited Launch

It includes a range of projects and programmes, some of which started in 2008 and all of which lead up to Gamestime 2012. In 2012 itself, festival trailblazers will start early in the new year leading to the final ‘Open Weekend’, on Midsummer’s Day June 21 2012, and the start of a 12 week celebration that will end on 9 September 2012.

There is a network of Creative Programmers throughout the UK to drive, nurture and influence the development of work for these celebrations. In the south east we have Caterina Loriggio (

So what exactly will be happening nationally?

Candoco's Unlimited image

Of course there will be the big televised ceremonies and spectacles (like the Torch Relays, the Team Welcome Ceremonies and the Opening and Closing Ceremonies in 2012) but there will also be a number of big National Cultural Olympiad Programmes, some with regional strands too:


A £1.5million commission fund to support high-quality collaborations between disability arts organisations, disabled artists and producers, and mainstream arts organisations.

Stumble dance circus

And particularly relevant to all on Sync South East, there is also Unlimited, the UK’s largest ever celebration of disability culture -

Remember, the next deadline to apply for Unlimited funding is 1 October 2010

You can read more about the ten projects that gained funding in the first round at DAO:

What else to look out for?

info featuring the open weekend design for the Liverpool Binneial

You may have just taken part in one of the Open Weekend events in July and they involved a huge range of activities. This year, Jon Adams, who is part of Sync South East, did a flag making activity as part of the Open Weekend programme

And you may have heard talk of the Inspire Mark. This is a badge of recognition which is being awarded to innovative projects and events that fit with the ethos of the Cultural Olympiad. It will help curators plan what elements receive further exposure in 2012. The Freewheelers showed part of their Inspire Marked performance and film called Trust at the Impact event last month.

Your project is only part of the Cultural Olympiad if you have the Inspire mark.

To find out more about how to apply for the Inspire mark...

And what’s happening in the South East?

some one in a carnival mask

Across all of the Cultural Olympiad, the South East has a focus on working with: outdoor arts, Deaf and disabled people, Universities and Sports Heritage and is prioritising 3 geographical areas: Dorney Corridor, Stoke Mandeville Corridor and Creative Gateways: Solent, North and East Kent, and Gatwick/Heathrow corridors.

So far, specific South East programmes and Inspire projects have included:

  • Driving Inspiration in Buckinghamshire linking disabled artists and journalists with past and present Paralympians and schools to create a living archive for Stoke Mandeville.

  • Creative Campus, a consortium of 13 universities delivering a series of cultural events

  • COPOR (Celebratory and Outdoor Performance Online Resource) providing best practice information and evaluation support

  • Blue Touch Paper Carnival designed to be the most accessible, inclusive, integrated and friendly Carnival experience the world has ever seen, run by West Sussex linked to the Carnival Learning Centre on the Isle of Wight

  • Live sites - large-scale public screens in town centres produced in association with the BBC. In the South East there are screens in Portsmouth and Dover and a temporary Live Site was situated in Herne Bay, Canterbury for Handover Day. The Village Screen project at the Glastonbury Festival is also linked in.


a wheelchair and cogs, artwork for accentuate made by artist caroline cardus

Accentuate is the Legacy Trust programme in the south east - and Sync South East is one of its projects.

Although it is not a direct Cultural Olympiad programme many projects within it will apply for the Inspire Mark. It is heavily associated with London 2012 as the Legacy Trust was established to fund legacy for the Games. More on Accentuate and the other Accentuate programmes in another bulletin soon!

Phew. That’s the Cultural Olympiad then in a nutshell - nice and simple!

Do make some time over the summer for following up on some of this information and finding out what parts of it might be relevant to you and your work.

And if you are in the organisations programme, Can you please let us know when is a good time for you over the summer to talk to us for your mid point audit? Email Jo and let her know what dates are good. And also complete your survey monkey survey about how you have found the programme so far. You can get to the survey monkey questionnaire by going to

That's all for now,

All the best,

Jo Verrent and all the rest of us at

Sync South East

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