There’s a lot of talk, and indeed a lot of clench-teethed muttering, about how the London 2012 will be a ‘cultural olympiad’. Opening and closing ceremonies have come under particular scrutiny.
The Great North Run Cultural Programme is a great example of how you can make meaningful connections between sport and the arts, and over the last few years has done both commissions of the first order (eg Wilson Twins, Michael Nyman) and mass participation arts ‘events’. I think it’s an exemplar for 2012. There is a natural connection as the driver behind it has been former world-record holder Brendan Foster, whose company runs (pun intended) the Great North Run. Brendan has been a real champion of involving artists in this phenomenon. He has a refreshing directness that many in the arts don’t have, too. It’s worth looking through what the Cultural Programme has been up to in recent years – it is a real achievement.
(One of this year’s moving image commissions - Run for Me by Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, currently to be seen at BALTIC in Gateshead - features a member of our Communications team, Kathryn Goodfellow, and her dad. Kathryn's doing the run for the first time in October. Personally, I think you can take art and culture links too far and will stick to fiveaside … Like many people Kathryn’s being sponsored: join in here. Ali Simanwe from our Finance team is also running it and you can sponsor him here. Go on.)