Cultural Olympiad reinforces Britain’s reputation as a world leader in culture


The London 2012 Cultural Olympiad was the largest cultural programme in the history of the modern Olympic and Paralympic Movements

An evaluation of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad by the University of Liverpool has found that it reinforced Britain’s reputation abroad as a world leader in culture.

Cultural Olympiad Facts and Figures
”¢    177,715 activities

“¢    40,464 artists, of which 6,160 are emerging and 806 are deaf or disabled

“¢    5,370 new artistic works or commissions

“¢    10,940 new partnerships formed with cultural, educational and sport organisations, and local authorities

“¢    43 million public engagement experiences

“¢    212.6 million broadcast and online hits

“¢    over 70 per cent of London 2012 Festival audiences agree Festival was a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ experience

“¢    over 165 hours of BBC coverage of London 2012 Festival programming (excluding news) in 2012

“¢    2,403 UK national and 6,318 regional clippings mention the Cultural Olympiad or London 2012 Festival between 2003 and 11 September 2012

“¢    363 international press clippings from 38 countries cover the London 2012 Festival between July and September 2012

“¢    by the end of 2012, art critics produce 40 UK articles choosing Cultural Olympiad activity as their top highlight or cultural pick of 2012

A research team from the Institute of Cultural Capital, run jointly by the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University, spent 15 months analysing the 2012 Cultural Olympiad, the cultural programme which accompanied London 2012.

Cultural programme

It was the largest cultural programme in the history of the modern Olympic and Paralympic Movements with a geographical scale unmatched by any previous UK cultural festival.

Dr Beatriz Garcia, Head of Research for the Institute, said: “Our evaluation of the Cultural Olympiad found that it reached a huge amount of people with an estimated 43.4 million people participating as audiences, visitors, participants and volunteers as well as an additional 204.4million reached through broadcasts and online viewings.

“The Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival helped enhance the perception of Britain abroad with the UK’s overall rating in the Nations Brand Index going up one place in autumn 2012, reflecting significant rises in the rating of the UK’s sporting excellence, culture, natural beauty and tourism.”

The study found that over 170,000 events took place over the course of the Cultural Olympiad with over 40,000 artists involved from across the whole of the UK with some regions presenting as high a volume of activity as London.

New audiences

New audiences, especially young people, participated in cultural activities and events and had positive experiences.

The research team worked with the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games to capture the multiple impacts of cultural activity and to find out if the Olympiad achieved its objectives.

Dr Garcia, a Senior Research Fellow in Sociology at the University of Liverpool, directed the five-year Impacts 08 programme which set out the social, cultural, economic and image effects of Liverpool’s European Capital of Culture title in 2008.

Since 2011, she has been Head of Research at the Institute of Cultural Capital, a joint initiative of the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University.


Dr Garcia and team attempted to capture the impact of cultural activity linked to the Olympics



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