London 2012 : developing a cultural legacy for local communities in Hackney

Stevenson, Nancy

(Final report submitted to the IOC Olympic Studies Centre in the framework of the Postgraduate Research Grant Programme 2009)

This study sets out to identify and investigate the factors that influence Cultural Legacy by considering the development and delivery of the CO in connection with the 2012 Games. Its significance to the Olympic Movement arises from its focus on the local perspectives, processes and practices emerging in the enactment of the CO and their impact on Cultural Legacies that might arise after the... Plus

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    Summary
    This study sets out to identify and investigate the factors that influence Cultural Legacy by considering the development and delivery of the CO in connection with the 2012 Games. Its significance to the Olympic Movement arises from its focus on the local perspectives, processes and practices emerging in the enactment of the CO and their impact on Cultural Legacies that might arise after the Games. This study focuses on three events and two projects, the majority of which were developed in Hackney Wick, a ward which lies adjacent to and partly within the Olympic Park. It was developed from the experiences and perceptions of people who were involved in the development and delivery of projects associated with the CO in Hackney. It draws from interview material to identify factors that influence the delivery of the CO including the status and funding of culture in wider policy making for regeneration and a lack of understanding of the dimensions of culture and the CO. By developing a study from the local perspective it is possible to identify some of the tensions that arise in the enactment of the CO such as the concerns that cultural funding tends to be awarded to projects which are more externally focussed e.g. on image and attracting people to visit the area. There are concerns that the CO has not led to more monies being available for the more inclusive aspects of culture with many existing initiatives being "rebadged" under the 2012 Banner. The interviewees identify Cultural Legacies that might arise locally and challenges that they face in securing benefits for the residents of Hackney. One possible legacy is the improvement in partnership working and the creation of networks to deliver regeneration. However the experience of working in partnership to deliver the CO has been challenging. A second possible Cultural Legacy is the creation of community capacity and leadership. The study indicates that a number of community activities have developed in the context of the rapid changes in the area. These changes have enabled the community to encounter one another in consultation meeting and have facilitated the organisation of a range of events and activities. However these voluntary networks appear to be relatively fragile and fluid and there are some concerns that it will be difficult to maintain them post-Games. The third possible Cultural Legacy arises from the cultural regeneration of the area in a way that supports the existing creative industries. The interviewees for this study identify the challenges arising from wider economic processes associated with regeneration e.g. the increases in land prices and rents leading to the gentrification and a loss of artistic activities in the area.