Participants have been left inspired, enthused and buoyed up by the positive effect activity has had on their lives, and they will take part more in the future. The effects will continue to ripple on. But in order to help build on the momentum, the Cultural Olympiad has established five tangible long-term projects.

Dancing for the Games

Over the next year DanceXchange will be capturing and sharing learning from creating work for outdoor and unusual spaces through a series of digital resources. These will be added to this website, that will provide a space for dance providers to exchange ideas, form new partnerships and create new projects. In addition, several of the projects continue. For instance, Being Frank and Warwick Arts Centre are planning to continue the Boys Dancing programme, with the aim of rolling it out nationally. Punch Records’ Desi Moves has been given a future as a result of a major investment by a local Birmingham business, and many of the young dancers recruited for The Voyage will continue to work together under the banner of Motionhouse Youth Dance. 2Faced’s classes in rural Herefordshire are carrying on, together with a new programme of training and development for dance artists in the county. Spill, created for parks in the West Midlands, look set to tour in the UK and abroad.

Arts outdoors

Arts Council England has commissioned a piece of research in the West Midlands looking at the potential to build upon the outdoor work created during the Cultural Olympiad. The research will look at:

  • The evidence base and research needs of the sector
  • Creating an archive of work
  • Funding and business models
  • Producers and artists engaged in or potentially interested in creating outdoor work

The report will be published in February 2013 to aid further planning and identify potential resources.

Community Games

The programme ‘went national’ in the spring of 2012, having successfully secured a grant of £2 million from the Social Action Fund. The national programme is being led by the County Sports Partnerships Network and the YMCA. To date, 1,929 Community Games have taken place across England. It is estimated that by the end of 2013, Community Games will have engaged 2 million people.

Culture and tourism

The research outcomes relating to tourism and the visitor economy have emphasised the power of cultural events to draw people to locations. These finding are being used by Arts Council England to advocate for the value of culture to the tourism sector. Arts Council England in the West Midlands has made an award to Shropshire Council to continue the work that took place in Much Wenlock and Ironbridge during, and in the lead-up to, the London 2012 Games, encouraging ‘cultural tourists’.

Economic impact

In 2011, the West Midlands for 2012 team designed and developed an Economic Impact Toolkit resource – a series of online Calculators which support users to estimate the impact of UKbased cultural events and activities. With 518 registered users and counting, the resource has proved popular with cultural sector practitioners across the UK. From November 2012, the Toolkit will be managed by The Audience Agency, which has committed to keep the Toolkit free of charge for a period of at least 3 years.

This article was originally published in Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival in the West Midlands: A Record. Reproduced with kind permission of Dancing for the Games.

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