Support for the creative economy

Written evidence submitted by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) [SCE 033]

Submission from Ruth Mackenzie (Director of the Cultural Olympiad) and Craig Beaumont (Government Relations Manager) at the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG).


This written evidence is submitted to the Culture Media and Sport Select Committee’s Inquiry, particularly noting the call in the Committee’s Press Notice that Members sought views on "How best to develop the legacy from the Olympics and Paralympics of the display of UK talent in the creative industries in both Opening and Closing ceremonies and more generally in the design of the Games."

The London 2012 cultural programme contributed significantly to the development of the UK’s creative industries. This submission sets out briefly the opportunities that have arisen from the programme, and suggests the next steps to make the most of this opportunity for the creative industries.

This evidence includes 3 short appendices: [1]

1. ’Interim results of London 2012 Festival shows scale and reach of Games culture offer’-Press release of 30 October

2. List of Cultural Olympiad/London 2012 Festival Commissions

3. Summary of funding for Cultural Olympiad/London 2012 Festival

Coverage and Ceremonies

The Olympic and Paralympic Games reached billions of UK and global TV and online viewers.

Within the UK, the Olympic Games on the BBC delivered the biggest national television event since current measuring systems began, with 52.1 million viewers (91% of the UK population) watching at least 15 minutes of coverage with 24.2 million (42% of the UK population) watched at least 15 minutes of coverage on the BBC red button.

85% of the audience agreed the coverage helped bring the nation together and 74% agreed the way the BBC covered the Olympics helped them feel part of the event. The Opening Ceremony peak audience was 28.7 million, with an average of 24.2 million, with the Closing Ceremony peak at 27.3 million and an average of 24.2 million.

For the Paralympic Games on Channel 4, coverage reached 39.9 million viewers – over 69% of the UK population (compared to 20.5 million coverage for the Beijing 2008 Paralympics). Two thirds (68%) of viewers felt the Paralympic overage had a favourable impact on their perceptions of disabled sport. The Opening Ceremony peak audience was 11.2 million, while a peak audience of 7.7 million viewers watched the Closing Ceremony. Coverage of the final day of the Paralympic Games made Channel 4 the most watched television channel across the whole day, and the most watched channel for 16-34YOs and ABC1s.

The Ceremonies and the Games provided an unprecedented platform for this country’s creative industries.

London 2012 Festival

London 2012 presented a UK-wide cultural programme which culminated this summer with the London 2012 Festival. The Festival achieved 19.8 million attendances UK-wide, including 16.5 million free attendances and 36 million viewers on the BBC from April – September 2012

The London 2012 Festival is now being evaluated by the University of Liverpool, and their evaluation will not be complete until Spring 2013. Initial findings, however, suggest that the London 2012 Festival is larger in scale than any other UK-wide festival, including the Festival of Britain.

The international marketing impact for the UK creative industries including those in the cultural and heritage sector working on cultural tourism will be a priority for the evaluation. Early research by Visit Britain suggests that 43% agreed that they have ‘made me more interested in getting out and exploring the UK’. 39% agreed they were more interested in taking a trip to London.

Initial audience evaluation shows a wide reach and range of audiences domestically. For example, the West Midlands programme has had early evaluation which shows that 43% of the festival audiences and participants were under the age of 25, 16% from BAME and 45% C2/D/E social groups. The Cultural Olympiad provided £27.4 million worth of net economic impact to the West Midlands economy and £80 million worth of gross economic activity was associated with the programme. The programme generated £11 million worth of media coverage for the region.

Reach of Cultural programme in 2012

The London 2012 Festival programme was UK-wide, and as with the Torch Relay, the programme was designed to bring exceptional cultural activities to communities from Shetland to the Scilly Isles.

The programme included over 200 commissions to world class artists to create special ambitious projects with and for UK communities, and showcased creative industry talent through the media to world wide audiences.

The commissions included all genres-film, music, visual arts, drama, dance, digital art, TV, carnival, and innovative combination of genres. As well as specific commissions in all parts of the UK, the programme included commissions and programmes which aimed to unite communities all over the UK such as ‘All the Bells’ (a commission to Martin Creed-which had 2.9million participants-to enable people to ring bells all over the UK, led by Big Ben and the bells of all the UK Parliaments, at 8.12 am on the day of the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games) and Bandstand Marathon which saw 125,000 band members all over the UK take part in a world record breaking music marathon.

The commissions enabled the festival to showcase artists from across the creative industries, attracting worldwide media attention, which the final evaluation will quantify as a benefit to the UK in marketing terms.

The festival programme also had 16.5 million free attendances and participants all over the UK. The free opportunities included the chance to see global stars such as Rihanna, Jay Z, Dizzie Rascal, Tracey Emin, Yoko Ono, Mark Rylance, Ai Wei Wei, and many more, but also enabled the showcasing of emerging stars at the events to a much larger and wider audience.

These new commissions were only possible thanks to the development of special partnerships which brought together a wide range of partners who rarely (if ever) work together. These new partnerships have benefited artists, creative industries, audiences and communities. For example, the London 2012 film commissions and training programme for young people involved Film 4 and BBC Film working together; with Creative England, BFI and First Light; independent production companies; and a range of other partners including Panasonic as sponsors of Film Nation Shorts, the film competition for young people aged 14–25 to make short films.

Unlimited, the largest ever programme of commissions to disabled and deaf artists, brought together the Arts Councils from all 4 UK nations, the British Council, the Olympic Lottery Distributor, National Theatres in Scotland and Wales, the South Bank Centre in London, the Secretary of State for Culture from the State of Rio, and artists and producers from round the world. The programme of commissions developed capacity, skills and ambition in the sector and fed into the training and artistic development of the Paralympic Opening ceremony, which showcased disabled artists to a global audience.

The Ceremonies shared the vision (and many of the artists) to showcase the best of the UK creative industries, in the context of the best artists from round the World, showcasing not only the artists but also a vision of a culturally diverse, innovative, and excellent creative sector which welcomed and participates with talent from round the world.

The London 2012 Festival similarly showcased UK artists and cultural and creative leaders in a global context with Damien Hirst at the Tate, next door to Shakespeare in 38 languages from countries round the world next door at Shakespeare’s Globe; with Damon Albarn and Paul McCartney supporting artists like Senegalese Rokia Traore and 80 musicians from Africa, USA and Europe on Africa Express; and with Turner prize winner Jeremy Deller touring his life-size inflatable Stonehenge round the UK free to participants of all ages. Many commissions are already enjoying a continued life – the film commissions have recently played the Rio film festival and Beijing Festival has also just showcased artists from the London 2012 Festival. Inflatable Stonehenge is now touring internationally and is currently in Paris.

Both the Ceremonies and the London 2012 Festival showcased UK creative industries across genres - from Shakespeare to street art, from high art to hip hop - and the University of Liverpool evaluation published in Spring 2013 will accurately define the impact and benefits.

Cultural Tourism opportunities

The London 2012 Festival programme worked in many instances with the Olympic and Paralympic Torch Relays, highlighting cultural tourism sites round the UK as part of the programme.

The Festival worked with a wide range of local partners on new commissions to showcase some of the most outstanding UK heritage and sites of natural beauty-projects such as Deborah Warner and Fiona Shaw working on 9 Beaches in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and England; Richard Long at Boxhill; Hans Peter Kuhn at the Giant’s Causeway; Carabosse at Stonehenge; YesYesNo at Hadrian’s Wall, Lakes Alive at Windermere. These projects attracted media and audiences to these landmarks and marketed them around the world in a way never done before.

Projects like Piccadilly Circus Circus and Elizabeth Streb’s One Extraordinary Day combined marketing funding with cultural funding to create free one-off spectacular events which had an impact beyond the live audiences thanks to on-line and social media, press and TV. The impact of these hugely ambitious events required years of planning in collaboration with the Mayor of London and a wide range of operational partners, and their marketing impact will only become clear later.

The London 2012 Festival partnerships with local authorities to create one-off ambitious special projects in cities such as Manchester and Birmingham are assessed not only for their artistic impact for local audiences, but also for their cultural tourism impact, and inward investment and creative industry growth opportunities-showing the cultural standards, innovation and ambition of the cities to global audiences.

The Festival’s commissions and projects with the free national museums in London and elsewhere in the UK reminded a global audience through press and online of these important visitor attractions, as did the special free partnership events undertaken with the Society of London Theatres.

Next steps

With the Games, the Cultural Olympiad and the London 2012 Festival now complete, the Organising Committee is now being dissolved. 90% of staff have left LOCOG and the remainder will leave shortly. However, all partners, artists and organisations have been aware that LOCOG would not be around to monitor and drive the cultural legacy from the Games, and so plans have always been put together with that very much in mind.

The London 2012 Festival evaluation by the University of Liverpool will be made available in Spring 2013. This definitive research should inform policy-makers as they look to capitalize on the platform for the creative economy created by the Games this year.

The innovative partnerships that have been forged through the cultural programme will now continue to bear fruit. The creative sector that thrived working with new partners will work in the same way again, and it is hoped that they will be inspired to seek further new ways of working and new partners.

We know that artists and the rest of the creative sector that were energized by the opportunity to showcase their work as part of London 2012 are now looking at future work with vigour, with many using their experience to secure commissions here in the UK in major cultural festivals and new opportunities such as Glasgow 2014, but also further overseas in international aspects of future Olympic host cities and nations such as Sochi 2014 and Rio De Janeiro 2016. These opportunities need to be disseminated as far as possible through our creative sector.

Public policy on ensuring legacy for the creative sector should, therefore, be focused primarily on the framework that the creative industries operate within. Ways to ensure dissemination of opportunities across the creative industry need to be further developed. With the Games gone, where and how the creative industries meet to create partnerships-online, or at local, regional or national events-should be examined.

Finally, it is important to note that having a strong cultural programme as part of our London 2012 bid in 2005 helped to secure the Games for London. That is proven by the strong cultural programmes we have seen throughout all bidding cities ever since. This also points to a public policy priority. London and the UK should continue to bid for major events, and by doing so we will create new opportunities for the creative sector to be involved, and to showcase the world-beating cultural work we produce in this country. There are already plans to attract other major international sporting events to this country as part of a ‘golden decade of sport’, alongside our existing cultural events. If further international events come here, we can ensure they have strong cultural elements. And by adding these to our existing astonishing cultural festivals, this will be a ‘golden decade for the creative industries’ too.

November 2012

[1] Not printed.

Prepared 17th November 2012