Blog post

The London 2012 Games can have a real cultural impact

4 January 2012

I am a Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Liverpool, with a focus on cultural policy and event-led regeneration.

Beatriz Garcia - Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Liverpool

Since 2011, I have been Head of Research at the Institute of Cultural Capital, a joint initiative of the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University. Specifically, my research approach focuses on the analysis of city narratives – including institutional city marketing/branding, media representations and individual interpretations - and their effect on local self-perceptions and national or international image projection. I am also a member of the Culture and Education Advisory Committee of the London Organising Committee for the 2012 Olympic Games (LOCOG).

The Olympic and Paralympic Games come with very standardized structures of delivery, for example, there will be 16 days of elite sporting competition. I am interested in how London, as hosts, will leave their mark on the Games. Given that the city has worldwide cultural status, it will be interesting to see how this culture infiltrates the Games and helps to shape its narrative.

There is a real opportunity for change and the chance to get involved with sporting excellence can have a big impact. When London won the bid to host the Games back in 2005, creative programmers were put in place to coordinate activity and make sure that every region of Great Britain would be inspired. I would like to look into how much of an affect this has had and how visible the London 2012 Games have been as a result. It would be very interesting to look at the nationwide picture.

The London 2012 Festival is also very important as it integrates both Olympic and Paralympic activity, and there is no distinction between the best. This brings together both sides of the Games and is fantastic for generating interest and debate.

I believe the London Games stand as good a chance as any that have gone before to make the most of these cultural initiatives, put a legacy in place and influence people.

Beatriz Garcia is a Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Liverpool. 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. Beatriz is a Podium Games Expert and she was talking to Podium reporter Stuart Appleby.

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