Cultural Olympiad Funders Celebrate Communities

Legacy Trust UK announces Community Celebration winners in Northern Ireland

Legacy Trust UK announced the winning projects in its programme of Community Celebrations, which allows communities across the UK to come together to stage large-scale outdoor celebrations as part of the Cultural Olympiad. Legacy Trust UK is an independent charity set up to create a cultural and sporting legacy from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Trust has committed £3 million to this national programme, which celebrates the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and aims to create a cultural legacy in each of the successful areas.

The winners were:
Land of Giants: Northern Ireland (managed by Land of Giants Ltd)
Tree of Light: South East (managed by Oxford Inspires on behalf of Thames Art Consortium)
Games Time: East Midlands (managed by Déda Producing)
Speed of Light: Scotland (managed by NVA)

Land of Giants in Northern Ireland takes its inspiration from a number of ‘Giants’ that are present in Northern Ireland’s history both ancient and modern. Special focus will be given to four giants – Finn McCool, the giant who built the Giant’s Causeway, Gulliver, whose giant features are outlined in the hills surrounding Belfast, Samson and Goliath, the two cranes which have dominated the Belfast skyline for the past forty years and the Titanic together with her less famous sister ship, the Olympic. The cultural inspiration of these giants will fuse together in a Giant Party linking to the Olympic values, and the aspiration of Northern Ireland for a ‘shared and better future’. The party will be the largest outdoor arts celebration ever staged in Northern Ireland. Legacy Trust UK contributed £750k to Land of Giants, and the project has so far secured a considerable £80k.

There is a possibility for the projects to travel to London and bring elements of their performances to the capital during the summer months of 2012, sharing their celebrations with a wider audience and connect with the Games in different ways. There are few precedents for a project of this scale and ambition and it presents a unique opportunity to celebrate on the streets of the UK like never before.

Dugald Mackie, Chair of Legacy Trust UK said: 'These Community Celebrations will help spread the magic and excitement of the 2012 Games outside London and leave a lasting legacy across the four regions involved. The Games aren’t just for two weeks, and they’re not just for sports fans. Through projects such as this, they will have an enduring impact on many people’s lives.'

Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport said:  'Community Celebrations is proof that the Olympics and Paralympics are much more than a sporting event; that culture and community are also at the core of a successful Games. These events will give people across the country the chance to take part and help create a lasting and meaningful legacy well beyond 2012.'

Ruth Mackenzie, Director of the Cultural Olympiad said: 'I congratulate Legacy Trust UK for giving artists and communities the chance to think big and take artistic risks. The potential for individual and community change and legacy is exciting and we will only understand the full impact in the years after 2012.'

Land of Giants Partners Beat Initiative, Young at Art and Belfast Community Circus said:
'This choice by Legacy Trust UK represents a huge vote of confidence in the Outdoor Arts sector in Northern Ireland. The drive, energy and passion for delivering a unique high quality experience which will engage tens of thousands of people across NI has secured this welcome investment into the arts at a time when good news is thin on the ground. We believe that Land of Giants is just a first step towards creating extraordinary experiences for audiences beginning with 2012, but with potential for 2013 City of Culture, the World Police and Fire Games and even going into Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.'

Belfast City Council’s Lord Mayor, Councillor Pat Convery, praised the work of those involved in the consortium for bringing the Land Of Giants proposal to this important stage. He said: 'The innovation, originality, enthusiasm and vibrancy of Belfast’s arts and cultural organisations are rightly known and respected the world over, and an exciting project such as Land Of Giants clearly demonstrates what these groups can achieve in terms of enhancing the life of the city and increasing our profile on the international stage.'

Legacy Trust UK is a principal funder of the Cultural Olympiad and the London 2012 Festival, and is in a unique position to help communities across the UK gain lasting and life-changing benefits from the 2012 Games. The Trust has allocated £40 million of funding to 12 programmes in each nation and region of the UK and four national programmes. This funding will act as a catalyst to link grassroots activities across into the Olympic programme, so that people from all walks of life – not just athletes and sports fans – can be a part of this once-in-a-lifetime event.