A great start on Monday with three new arrivals to the Culture Ceremonies and Education Team. Darcia and Nathan joined us on a special London 2012 scheme to welcome exceptional school leavers. Inspiring young people is at the core of what we’re about, so what better than having a couple of inspiring young people at the heart of the team?
Mike Gibbons also joined us from the BBC to run our Live Sites (big screens) project and to coordinate key moments when the whole of the UK will get together to celebrate great 2012 moments. He’s already started work on the opportunities for us all to join the party for the Olympic and Paralympic Handover Ceremonies next summer.
And on the subject of Handover, Tuesday gave us a set of enthralling presentations about what we might do for our eight minute Handover Ceremonies in Beijing. Some wonderful creative ideas and less than a year now to pull it off.
Wednesday was our first chance to greet a new network of 2012 Regional Creative Programmers – one for each of the English Regions, more for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales and special teams from the five Host Boroughs and the rest of London. We think it must be the first Olympic and Parlaympic Games to have such a dedicated network around the whole nation – and they’re about to start work curating the Cultural Olympiad with us. If the first day of discussion is anything to go by there’s no shortage of passion, creativity and determination to make it happen.
The same day saw our Education team joined by 17 teachers and headteachers from across the UK to help shape our Education Programme. They too were full of ideas and enthusiasm for ways to bring 2012 into the classroom. There are some big ideas brewing in our Education team and this session played a really helpful role in moulding them to go forward.
The accent was firmly with youth on Thursday too. First we celebrated 2012’s new partnership with adidas. Surely there can’t be many brands with a better understanding of youth culture. Later it was over to Stratford, where, just a bulldozer’s dig from the Olympic Park, you’ll find the “Discover” centre. I’ve never seen anything quite like it – a couple of derelict old buildings turned into a treasure trove for children to wallow in storytelling, play and fantasy. Benjamin Zephaniah was there to open a new studio space built into a redundant basement. Newham’s children were also there in force to greet him and to gather under a banyan tree and listen to stories of the Caribbean.
Mental note; must tell our Creative Programmers and the 2012 Education Team about this place – fantastic…
Another form of story telling on Friday – stories of the world at the British Museum, as a group of us from London 2012 went to see the Terracotta Warriors exhibition. The Museum’s Director, Neil McGregor, was even on hand to show us around. Neil is a national treasure himself and the exhibition more than lives up to the hype. Galleries around the world competed to host this unique exhibition but its little surprise that the Chinese chose London and the BM. With so many of our thoughts focusing on Beijing next year and the start of our Cultural Olympiad, the Terracotta Warriors appear to come to life to tell their own stories. Last week the Prime Minister opened the exhibition and explained with pride that it represents a benchmark for what London’s Cultural Olympiad will offer. He could have said the same about Stratford’s “Discover” Centre – and both would get my vote.
Second mental note; check next week’s diary – meetings, graft and toil, or any chance I can strike lucky twice in a row…?
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