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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 June 2007, 17:48 GMT 18:48 UK
Culture paves way to 2012 Games
Olympics 2012 Logo
Organisers say the Games should celebrate diversity
A nationwide festival to showcase the best of British culture has been announced for the four years running up to the 2012 Olympics in London.

There are 10 major projects planned, including an International Shakespeare Festival and an Olympic Carnival.

And in a singing week, youngsters will stage performances on public transport.

Organisers are calling it "the largest-ever Cultural Olympiad", and are encouraging individuals, artists and organisations to get involved.

The director of culture for London 2012, Bill Morris, said this was the first time any host city had created a Cultural Olympiad as inclusive and far-reaching.


Winning the right to stage the Olympic Games in 2012 was always about more than simply hosting a few glorious weeks in sporting excellence in five years' time.
Tessa Jowell

He described the capital as the most culturally diverse city in the world. "The Games are an opportunity to celebrate this diversity by developing new cultural collaborations which last beyond the Olympic and Paralympic Games."

The ten big events include a project known as Film and Video Nation, described as a mass observation of social life in the 21st century.

Twelve artists are also to be commissioned to place works in unusual places, though locations have yet to be confirmed.

New logo

Organisers also said they would use a new logo to promote community and cultural projects.

That will be created by the same company which came up with the controversial London games symbol, which was heavily criticised after its unveiling earlier this month.

The new logo, described as work in progress, will be awarded to exceptional not-for-profit projects, and is said to fit into the "brand family" of London 2012.

Welcoming today's announcements the Culture Secretary, Tessa Jowell, described the Cultural Olympiad as "absolutely central" to the vision of what could be achieved.

"Winning the right to stage the Olympic Games in 2012 was always about more than simply hosting a few glorious weeks of sporting excellence in five years' time," she said.

London Mayor Ken Livingstone also gave his endorsement: "The summer of 2012 will be a once-in-a-lifetime unique cultural celebration for every Londoner and for every visitor to the city," he said.

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