Written evidence from the British Council (OLL 24)

 

The British Council believes that the 2012 Games will stimulate grassroots participation in sport, culture and education, and enhance cultural life across the UK and abroad. We also see the Games a significant opportunity to project a positive image of the UK, and to develop the UK's international cultural relations, bringing benefits in terms of trade, trust and understanding.

 

Our special contribution to the London 2012 legacy agenda is to ensure that it has a strong international component. This will allow:

 

cultural events in the UK to inspire by being genuinely world class

the UK sport sector to build skills and networks through international contact, contributing to the development of a world-class sport system in the UK and future bids for major events

artists and cultural institutions to undertake innovative work with counterparts abroad, developing their skills and networks, and consolidating the UK's role as hub for the creative industries

educational institutions to extend their international links, sharing best practice and giving life-changing opportunities to their students

young people in the UK to develop their curiosity about and engagement with the world, leading to improved skills and community cohesion.

The London 2012 legacy promise included inspiring children and young people across the world to choose and participate in sport. This is being delivered by International Inspiration, which aims to give 12 million young people in 20 countries the chance to take part in sport and thus gain valuable life skills. International Inspiration is delivered by the British Council, the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) and a range of partners including UK Sport, Unicef and the Youth Sport Trust. We aim to link over 200 schools in the UK to over 200 schools in other countries through this project, with teachers and young people at both ends developing projects based on sport and PE.

 

The popularity and emotional power of the Games will attract new audiences and participants to cultural and educational activities. The British Council's role is to ensure the quality and impact of this work by helping to develop the international dimension. For example, we are designing and delivering an international strand for the Unlimited Cultural Olympiad project. This will ensure that the festivals of disability arts between now and 2012 feature collaborative work between artists from Britain and abroad; that links between disabled artists and disability organisations are strengthened, and that there is increased understanding worldwide about the UK's distinctive approach to disability rights, equality and expression. Unlimited will use the Paralympic Games to raise the level of achievement and participation in disability arts.

 

It is important that the domestic legacy builds on the fact that in 2012 the UK will "welcome the world", and that after the Games the UK's young people are more aware of and connected with the wider world. LOCOG's UK education project Get Set already promotes school links and other international educational collaboration through the Global Gateway web portal, which is managed by the British Council for DCSF. We are now exploring with LOCOG how an international educational product could help millions of young people worldwide to develop their English language and other skills through engagement with the London Games and the Olympic values.

 

January 2009