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5 good olympic things

December 16, 2010

I spoke at the Future Directions Create Skills event on Monday in the Deutsche Bank offices on Bishopsgate. Photo out the window above. The aim of the event was to bring people together from across the ‘creative and cultural sector’ (designers, gallery people, writers, crafts people, journalists, musicians etc etc) to commit to help young people into careers in the creative industries, which currently tend to be dominated by people who are (a) white and (b) middle class. People like me basically (sorry).

There was a really positive atmosphere at the event. I thought Ruth Mackenzie, who runs the Cultural Olympiad, made probably the best speech of the day by expressing the question of diversifying people working in the creative industries as ‘how can I help people who are not my family, or people from my friend’s families?’ The problems in the Creative Industries are deeper than nepotism alone – but for many this is probably a good place to start. In all the time I worked at Demos we never, to my knowledge, took anyone on as an intern because of a family connection.

In anycase the good vibes at the event made me want to clarify some reasons to be cheerful about the Olympics.

The Five Host Boroughs Strategic Regeneration Framework
Radical strategy that aims to bring the 5 host Olympic borough’s level with the rest of London on a whole host of health, education and social outcomes. Would be amazing even if they reach a couple of these targets.

The London Orbital

The London Overground used to be filthy, frightening and slow. Now it’s none of those things and it’s still dirt cheap compared to the tube. By 2012 you should be able to go all the way round London – possibly without changing.

Bus Tops
I know the people who do this so I’m biased, but it should be really cool. Screens on top of bus stops across London by July next year, that people can interact with and load content onto till the end of September 2012.

A programme from the Olympic Legacy Trust, probably about to get going quite soon. I just think this is an awesome idea: ‘somewhereto gives 16 to 25 year olds the support to access spaces that are not available to them, to do the things they love doing’. Hope it works.

Tech City
Its easy to be cynical about government’s getting involved in something which is cool, innovative and dynamic – but wherever the creative industries have grown around the world subsidies and interventions haven’t been far behind.

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