Memorandum submitted by the Arts Council
Thank you for your letter of 1 November inviting
the Arts Council to provide written evidence to your inquiry into
Staging International Sporting Events.
In our submission to the Committee for the original
inquiry in 1999, the Arts Council of England made some recommendations
regarding the staging of future international sporting events.
Briefly, these recommendations were as follows:
1. That international sporting events should
be seen as national cultural occasions rather than merely a sporting
contest. Artistic activity must be at the centre of planning from
the outset and not tacked-on as a peripheral "entertainment"
venture. Moreover, it is important that the cultural apsect of
any sporting competition should be integral to the whole event
and as such will not lose importance as other pressures, especially
financial, come to bear upon the organisers.
2. That levels of funding for cultural programmes
are clear from the earliest stages. Budgets should be identified
and those planning the cultural festival should be informed in
order that they can plan accordingly.
3. That cultural activities around international
sporting events should be organised nationwide and not merely
centred on host cities. The Arts Council is keen for such cultural
activity to be inclusive and accessible to all.
4. That cultural activities surrounding
a sporting competition are designed to leave a lasting legacy
of longer-term cultural benefit to the nation.
Your letter requested information about the
impact of the 1999 Cricket World Cup and the Rugby World Cups.
The Arts Council of England regrets that there was no discussion
at a national level with the organising committees of these competitions.
We believe that had those responsible for organising these events
considered the cultural aspects of the tournaments, and applied
the recommendations above, each competition would have had a far
greater national impact.
The Arts Council of England was disappointed
that England was not selected to host the 2006 World Cup finals.
We had preliminary discussions with representatives from the 2006
campaign and were encouraged by the response. The campaign team
were clearly keen for the cultural programme to be one of the
core ingredients of the World Cup finals.
MANCHESTER 2002 COMMONWEALTH
The Arts Council has been working with M2002,
the Spirit of Friendship Festival, North West Arts Board and the
Department for Culture, Media and Sport to ensure the arts are
an integral part of next year's Commonwealth Games. The Arts Council
of England is committed to:
Making available all of our appropriate
funding programmes to enable and encourage applications from arts
organisations and artists seeking to undertake activity relevant
to the Commonwealth and the Commonwealth Games. This means that
these arts organisations and artists will be able to apply for
funds from our £10 million a year National Touring Programme,
funded by the National Lottery, and the £22 million a year
Regional Arts Lottery Programme (RALP) which is allocated by the
Regional Arts Boards. Other open application programmes will also
be made available. These are now in their final stages of development
and will be made public in March/April 2001.
Diversity 2002 is a major initiative
in Black, Asian and Chinese arts which will provide a platform
for a celebration of the achievements from within these communities.
We are developing our Diversity 2002 programme to complement the
cultural programmes surrounding the Games.
Providing £100,000 over two
years from 2001-02 to North West Arts Board to fund the post of
Creative Producer who will contribute to the arts element of the
Spirit of Friendship Festival. This will be a festival of major
international presentations and performances. Early plans are
that the festival will encompass six core elements, which are:
a major international events programme; a Games Animation programme
with artists animating city spaces such as the airport and shopping
centres, and carnival activities in the streets; a Commonwealth
Arts Festival dedicated to the presentation of culturally diverse
work; a Community and Education programme developing people's
participation in processional and celebratory arts, such as South
Asian Mela and Carnival, and enabling "electronic exchange"
via the Internet for all schools with children from the Commonwealth;
the Athlete's Villageathletes recording and archiving their
own experiences and feelings; and the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.
The Creative Producer will develop
all of these strands and will work closely with M2002's Spirit
of Friendship Director. Other partner funds to support the festival
are being given by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office/Visiting
Arts, Single Regeneration Budget and North West Arts Board.
The Arts Council has not, however, created a
dedicated fund to support the cultural elements of the national
Spirit of Friendship Festival. Our budget for 2001-02 is already
fully committed. The additional and welcome resources made available
to the Arts Council as a result of last year's Comprehensive Spending
Review (an extra £100 million by 2003-04) have already been
committed to three key specific areas:
Theatre, which as is publicly acknowledged,
is in dire need;
Education, which will result in our
Creative Partnerships initiative;
Core funding, which will enable us
to address the problems faced by arts organisations as a result
of historical underfunding.
The Arts Council of England is keen to see a
strong cultural programme at the core of the 2002 Commonwealth
Games. By making our existing application programmes available
to the relevant projects, by linking elements of Diversity 2002
to the objectives of the Games' cultural programme, and by providing
£100,000 to fund the post of Creative Producer for the arts
element of the Spirit of Friendship Festival, we will make a significant
contribution. However, without considerable additional and dedicated
funds we will be unable to achieve a truly nationwide cultural
festival. With an additional £10-£15 million we could
deliver a significant cultural programme of real national and
international impact. For example we could:
Launch a nationwide celebratory programme
of community events that would reach out to involve local communities
across the UK;
Invest in a world-class arts festival
through funding the arts element of the Spirit of Friendship Festival
to programme major works from across the Commonwealth;
Support tours of the large and epic
productions out of the festival to the rest of the UK;
Distribute a range of major art works
from across the Commonwealth digitally and through publishing
and recordings, linking to the education sector;
Develop a national programme of cultural
exchanges between UK artists and those from across the Commonwealth.
This could lead to lasting legacy of co-operation and collaboration
between UK and Commonwealth countries.
Additional monies, as well as attracting new
partnership fundings, would also provide a catalyst for genuine
creativity and artistic activity on a national scale.
The Arts Council believes that public support
is vital to the success of international sporting events hosted
in the UK. Of equal importance is the willingness of organising
committees to engage with cultural agencies from the outset of
any bid. The recommendations provided by the Arts Council to the
Committee during its original inquiry, and repeated here, should
be applied by the governing body of any sport wishing to host
major tournaments in this country.