Research Programmes

Olympic Cities of Culture

The CC:RO has documented the evolution of the official Olympic Games cultural programme since it was launched in 1912 and Olympic Movement cultural policy frameworks since their first establishment in 1906. Fieldwork has been conducted in situ at Olympic Games editions since 1992. This work has taken place in collaboration with the Olympic Studies Centre (Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona) and the Centre for Olympic Studies Centre (University of New South Wales). The work has been possible thanks to the support of the Centre for Cultural Policy Research (University of Glasgow), the University of Liverpool and the Institute of Cultural Capital; and thanks to residencies at University of Technology, Sydney; the International Olympic Academy at Ancient Olympia, and the Olympic Studies Centre at the International Olympic Committee. The research has been funded by the British Academy, the Newton Fund, the Universities China Committee, Arts Council England, the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games and the International Olympic Committee.

Dr Beatriz Garcia, started her research on the Olympic Games’ cultural dimension in 1999, with a particular focus on the Cultural Olympiad. She has conducted fieldwork on every single Summer and Winter Olympic Games host since Sydney 2000 and was closely involved in the cultural legacy documentation of Barcelona 1992. Since 2000, she has contributed to International Olympic Academy Sessions either as participant or as lecturer. From 2004 to 2010, she acted as academic observer and advisor to the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad and in 2011 she was appointed to direct the London Cultural Olympiad Legacy Evaluation. Between 2008 and 2013, she was also a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Research Grant Advisory Committee. Since 2015, she acts as cultural expert within the IOC Culture and Olympic Heritage Commission.

Reflections on Beatriz’s Olympic research and the research of our Observatory collaborators are regularly published within the magazine she co-edits, Culture @ the Olympics.

Find below an overview of the main Olympic Cities of Culture projects stored within the Observatory.

Comparative Olympic city and global cultural policy studies

Building cultural bridges between Olympic cities and the Olympic Movement (2015-2017) – Project funded by an International Olympic Committee (IOC) Advanced Research grant, involving fieldwork during the Rio 2016 Games and in Tokyo in the lead to the 2020 Olympic Games. The focus is on assessing the impact of the first Olympic Cultural Action Plan on opportunities for greater visibility and understanding of the Games cultural and artistic dimensions. This research aims to contribute to the Olympic cultural programme documentation process and subsequent transfer of knowledge, as well as raise questions about the complexities of developing sustainable cultural policy frameworks in the Olympic city.

Cultural Policy of the Olympic Movement. A review of cultural agendas and structures at the International Olympic Committee (2001) – Funded by the Postgraduate Research Grant Programme 2000 of the Olympic Museum and Olympic Studies Centre, International Olympic Committee.

Olympic city research

Tokyo 2020

Tokyo 2020 Cultural Olympiad (2016 onwards) This project started with observations at the launch of the four year Cultural Olympiad programme and evolved into 2019, with final preparations towards the Olympic year. With the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Games in to 2021, the research opens new questions as to the capacity for Olympic cultural programmes to retain relevance, be used during the interim period or risk being placed in the back burner. A series of essays offer timely reactions to the latest developments in 2020.

PyeongChang 2018

Rio 2016

  • Brand image of Brazil in the wake of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (2016-2017) – Project funded by a British Academy Newton Fund, involving a collaboration with the University of Sao Paulo, as well as inception funding from Brazilian communication agency Aberje. This research has enabled detailed analysis of national and international narratives of Brazil and its two main urban hubs, Rio and Sao Paulo, as centres for creativity and artistic innovation. The research asks the question: have the Olympic and Paralympic Games contributed (or hindered) the portrait of Brazil as a creative nation?

London 2012

  • London 2012 Cultural Olympiad Legacy Evaluation (2011-2013) – Research commissioned by the Cultural Olympiad Steering Group, involving the London Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), Arts Council England, Department Media Culture and Sport, Legacy Trust UK. The research looks into the cultural, social and related economic legacies of hosting this programme and the associated London 2012 Festival.
  • London 2012 Knowledge Transfer (2011-2012) Research coordinated by Dr Vassil Girginov with funding from Podium, the Further & Higher Education Unit for the London 2012 Games. Beatriz’ contribution is focused on the analysis of the bidding, delivery and legacy framework for the Cultural Olympiad and has resulted in a chapter contribution within a two part monograph, published by Routledge.

Beijing 2008

  • Cultural programming at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games (2008 ) Research funded by the Universities’ China Committee in London. This project involved working as an embedded journalist within the Non-Accredited Media Centre at the Beijing Games and field observations of the various 2008 Olympic Arts Festivals and fringe cultural activities in the city during Games time.

Sydney 2000

  • Analysis of the programming, management and promotion of the Sydney 1997-2000 Olympic Arts Festivals(1999-2002) – Research supported by a Mobility Grant by the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), an Olympic Research Grant by the Olympic Studies Centre at the UAB, and grants by the International Olympic Academy and the Olympic Museum –International Olympic Committee. The research results have published as The Olympic Games and Cultural Policy (2012).

Rio 2016

Sochi 2014

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