Department for Culture Media and Sport

cultural olympiad

The 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games are not just about sport. They will offer a unique opportunity for the British people to engage with and participate in a major cultural celebration.

From the closing ceremony of the Beijing 2008 Games, the UK will commence its "Cultural Olympiad", a developing, four-year period of cultural activity designed to celebrate the Olympic spirit throughout the UK.

The Cultural Olympiad will showcase British talent and innovation and will reflect the key themes of the London 2012 Games:

  • Celebrating London and the whole of the UK welcoming the world
  • Inspiring and involving young people
  • Generating a positive legacy

It will inspire people around the country to participate in a range of cultural activities, which will reflect and celebrate the diverse communities which make up London and the UK.

Key Dates

24 August 2008 – Beijing hands over the Olympic Games to London
17 September 2008 – Beijing hands over Paralympic Games to London
26-28 September 2008 – The Cultural Olympiad launches



News | Get Involved | London 2012 Cultural e-newsletter | Advisory Forum (CCAF) | Creative Programmers



When the Beijing Games close on the August Bank Holiday weekend, the baton officially passes to London. We have been working with the Organising Committee for 2012 (LOCOG) to usher in the start of our Olympiad with celebrations across the UK. This includes:

  • Dozens of live sites (giant television screens) around the UK. Find out about the ones in your region.
  • A free pop concert for 40,000 people in London
  • Over 400 venues across the UK will raise the Olympic Handover Flag, as well as in overseas missions around the world.
  • Local councils, voluntary organisation, and sports, arts and cultural bodies are organising their own local celebrations.

Also coming up in the next few weeks:

  • Schools and colleges can lead the Paralympic Handover celebrations here in the UK on 17 September
  • The weekend of 26-28 September sees the launch of the Cultural Olympiad - the weekend will open up opportunities for people to get involved in imaginative activities with many events across the UK.  


Get Involved

On 11 March 2008 LOCOG announced further details about how to get involved in the Cultural Olympiad. Interested organisations can now contact the Creative Programmers in the regions with their ideas for projects and events. 

London 2012 Culture E-Newsletter

For the latest on the London 2012 Culture programme, you can subscribe to receive the latest news from the Culture, Ceremonies and Eductaion Team of the London 2012 Organising Committee.


The Culture and Creativity Advisory Forum (CCAF)

The Culture and Creativity Advisory Forum was launched by Tessa Jowell on 6 April 2006.  It met 5 times under the chairmanship of the Minister for Culture and contributed to the development of the Cultural Olympiad.  Many of the members are continuing to work in partnership with LOCOG to help deliver the cultural programme.

The role of the forum is to advise and support the Government in developing the cultural programme for the 2012 Olympics and ensuring a lasting cultural legacy.

Creative Programmers

On 26 September 2007, Margaret Hodge announced the appointment of Creative Programmers, in each of the English regions outside of London, to take forward plans for an inspiring Cultural Olympiad in the run up to the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

These will create, validate and shape a package of high-quality, accessible and innovative cultural activity across the UK. Based in the regional cultural consortiums and working with key regional partners and stakeholders, their work will contribute mainly to the Tier Three (UK-wide festival) of the Cultural Olympiad.

More information about Creative Programmers and the three tiers of the Cultural Olympiad.


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