Scotland’s Cultural Olympiad

Scotland’s Cultural Olympiad

We don’t tend to paste press releases, but this does such a good job of summarizing Scotland’s activity over the next few weeks, we couldn’t summarize it better ourselves. Enjoy…

2020 Update: Here’s the official pdf of Scotland’s Cultural Olympiad

Monday 13 August – Sunday 26 August 2012

Welcome to today’s round up of what’s happening across Scotland’s London 2012 Cultural Programme.

The Programme – which represents the culmination of the Cultural Olympiad – is part of a roster of events happening across the UK.

Throughout the year, Scotland is hosting 50 projects and over 250 events taking place across the length and breadth of Scotland and involving more than 500,000 participants.

Coming Up Over the Next Two Weeks…

With the London 2012 Olympic Games drawing to a close and the build up to the Paralympic Games well under way, here’s how Scotland is celebrating London 2012 over the next two weeks…

NVA's Speed of Light (Photo: Ross Aitken)
Edinburgh International Festival 

NVA’s Speed of Light (Arthur’s Seat, Holyrood Park, until 1 September)

Guided walking groups meet at Speed of Light base every 15 minutes from 9.15pm – 11pm (15-19, 22-27, 29-31 August and 1 September).

In partnership with the Edinburgh International Festival and embracing the Olympic sporting theme, Speed of Light brings the iconic peak of Arthur’s Seat to life in a mass choreographed act of walking and endurance running, as hundreds of runners wearing specially designed light suits take to the intricate path networks below. Members of the audience are invited to become part of the work, carrying portable light sources set against the dark features of the hill.

Don’t miss NVA’s Speed of Light on BBC’s Culture Show 22 August and BBC Scotland’s Artworks documentary by George Cathro on 28 August.

The Lowland Hall at the Royal Highland Centre (Various dates in August)

As part of the Edinburgh International Festival’s contribution to the London 2012 Festival, the 4,500 square metres of the Lowland Hall at the Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston, has been specially transformed into a performance space designed to accommodate shows of a huge scale.Three productions are taking place in the historic venue:

  • 2008: Macbeth sees acclaimed Polish director Grzegorz Jarzyna’s relocate Shakespeare’s work to a contemporary and brutal Middle East, produced by TR Warszawa (15 – 18 August).
  • Theater Basel’s witty production of Meine Faire Dame – ein Sprachlabor, loosely based on My Fair Lady, directed by Christoph Marthaler (14 – 15 August, 17 – 19 August).
  • Legendary French director, Ariane Mnouchkine’s production Les Naufragés du Fol Espoir (Aurores) transforms the Lowland Hall into a spectacular world of the imagination and fantasy. (23 – 25 August, 27-28 August).

Richard Causton’s Twenty-Seven Heavens (Usher Hall, 23 August)

As part of New Music 20×12, Richard Causton’s Twenty-Seven Heavens will be performed by the European Union Youth Orchestra at the Usher Hall on 23 August. The concert will also be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on 11 September.

You can watch an interview with Richard Causton on the EIF website.

Other EIF Highlights:

@edintfest | #edintfest |

Leaving Limbo Landing (Photo: Matthew Andrews)
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Leaving Limbo Landing (St Andrew Square, 16 – 20 August)

Caroline Bowditch presents Leaving Limbo Landing – her ambitious, brand new outdoor show as part of the Made in Scotland programme at Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Dancers and aerialists perform in air, water and on land in this must-see experience.

Leaving Limbo Landing is a project about journey, placement, displacement, settling, arrivals and departures. It is inspired by Caroline’s personal move from Australia to the UK, as well as stories from others from across the globe. These individuals’ stories of choosing (or not) where to settle are brought to life by a powerful all female cast.

Caroline received an Unlimited commission to develop the production – a unique programme celebrating disability, arts, culture and sport as part of the London 2012 Festival that has challenged disabled artists across the country to make their most ambitious work to date.

You can see a specially commissioned film of Caroline Bowditch talking about the work on The Space as part of the Push Me Collection.

World Fringe Congress (16 – 20 August)

The inaugural World Fringe Congress is bringing together Fringe directors and organisers from across the globe. Taking place during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the Congress will inform and inspire the Fringe community worldwide and create a legacy of lasting networks to foster international collaboration.

Mary McCarthy at the 1962 Edinburgh International Writers' Confernence. (Photo: Alan Daiches with permission of National Library Scotland & Daiches Family).
Edinburgh International Book Festival

Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference (Charlotte Square Gardens, 17 – 21 August)

Edinburgh International Book Festival’s World Writers’ Conference is an ambitious programming partnership with the British Council, to mark the 50th anniversary of the seminal 1962 Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference, which brought together some of the most important writers of the 20th century.

50 world renowned writers from 25 countries will gather for the five-day series, that features a stellar line up including Egyptian writer Ahdaf Soueif, Scotland’s Irvine Welsh, Turkish author Elif Shafak, and British writers Ben Okri and Nick Laird.

If you’d like to be in the audience for one of these groundbreaking discussions, tickets are priced at £10/£8, are available online or through the Book Festival Box Office on 0845 373 5888. Each event will also be broadcast live on-line at

After Edinburgh, the Conference will go on to visit 15 different cities over the next 12 months giving writers and readers in different countries the chance to add their voice to the growing debate about writing and its relationship to contemporary life.

@edbookfest | #worldwritersconf

International Culture Summit (13 – 14 August)

The first International Culture Summit will take place on 13 and 14 August, during the Edinburgh Festival and just after the close of the 2012 London Olympics.

The summit, where over 40 government arts ministers will meet and discuss policy and partnerships, will be hosted in the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood. It has been set up as a collaboration between the Scottish Government, the UK Government, the Edinburgh International Festival and the British Council.

This year’s summit programme has been devised around three main ideas:

  • The role of the arts and culture in deepening and broadening our understanding of the complex relationships between cultures and nations.
  • Sustaining private and public support for culture.
  • Future skills for the creative industries and the role of technology.

@CultureSummit | #CultureSummit

Keep Her Lit (Photo: South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture)
‘Keep Her Lit’ – a new film by Roderick Buchanan (Glasgow Film Theatre, 21 August)

Roderick Buchanan’s new film ‘Keep Her Lit’ captures a portrait of Scotland through theSummer of Song – a project that saw some 30 musical performances of new commissions and local choirs on the Olympic Torch Relay route from Stranraer to Shetland.

The stars of this film are the people, the landscapes and the places. Whilst the Torch wagons rolled into their staged daily events, Roddy’s film captures the essence of Scotland and a real sense of place and community.

‘Keep Her Lit ‘premieres at Glasgow Film Theatre on 21 August at 18:30. The screening will be introduced by director Roderick Buchanan and will last approx 90 minutes. Free tickets are available on the day from GFT’s Box Office.

The Film will also launch on the BBC’s The Space on the same evening as the GFT is a new way to access and experience all of the arts – for free.

Human Race – FREE Making Movie Animation Workshops

(Throughout the day, City Art Centre, Edinburgh, 18 August)

A great opportunity for young people (10-18 years old) of all abilities to make an animation with the award winning animators from Red Kite Animations, makers of TV series Dennis and Gnasher.

Using the themes of the Human Race exhibition, you’ll bring puppets and objects to life with cameras and computers. There will be something for everyone and you don’t need to be able to draw to make a great film!

All part of the FREE event programme at the City Art Centre Edinburgh until September.

Culture Kitchen Relay 

(Launched at The Hidden Gardens in Glasgow, 12 – 2pm, 19 August)

The Hidden Gardens has joined forces with The Fife Diet to create this one off recipe relay around Scotland throughout August in the lead up to Blasda – Scotland’s Local Food Feast on 15 September.

Clementine Sandison (artist, grower, and creative producer of Culture Kitchen) will be teaming up with Najma Anwar (passionate cook and volunteer with the Hidden Gardens Cultural Cookery Group) and Kathryn VandenBerg (community gardener and co-ordinator of SAGE) to embark upon an epic road trip around Scotland passing recipes from one community to another.

The focus of the recipe exchange is family dishes that have been passed down through generations and are based on local produce, including home-grown fruit and vegetables, foraged wild plants and berries, freshly landed fish and seafood, and locally farmed meat and dairy.

A collection of recipes from the trip and a series of photographs and videos will be exhibited atThe Briggait as part of the Glasgow Blasda celebration on 15 September.

@Hidden_Gardens | #CKRelay

Ménage à Trois - Clair Cunningham (Photo: Sven Hagolani)
Ménage a Trois (7:30pm, Tramway, Glasgow, 24 & 25 August)

A hauntingly beautiful study of love, obsession, loneliness and manipulation, Ménage à Trois is a visually stunning piece of dance theatre from award-winning performer Claire Cunningham and choreographer/video artist Gail Sneddon, in partnership with National Theatre of Scotland. Set within an extraordinary, animated environment, it envelops the performers in a surreal, imaginary world.

Ménage à Trois is part of the Unlimited programme and transfers to London’s Southbank Centre 8 September.

Watch a trailer on the Tramway website.

Forest Pitch (25 August)

The Forest Pitch football matches will take place on 25 August and are the centrepiece of an arts and football project on a specially-created pitch in the heart of a Selkirk woodland.

Craig Coulthard’s Forest Pitch commission aims to encourage debate about national identity, the natural world, sustainability, the nature of collective memory and the benefits of sporting participation. Forest Pitch is part of Artists Taking the Lead.

Photo: Cameron Morgan
Paralympic Torch Relay (26 August)

12 – 4pm, Tramway, Glasgow.
7.30pm – 9.40pm, Flame Festival, Meadowbank Stadium, Edinburgh.

Edinburgh is hosting one of four UK Flame Festivals as part of the Paralympic Torch Relay. The four flames from Edinburgh, Belfast, Cardiff and London will then be united at Stoke Mandeville on 28 August to create the Paralympic Flame, before a 24-hour Torch Relay to transport the Flame to the Olympic Stadium.

A Paralympic Flame will be lit in Edinburgh on the morning of 26 August and it will then visit local community groups in the build up to the evening Flame Festival.

Glasgow will also host a Paralympic Flame Celebration on the afternoon of 26 August at Tramway and the Hidden Gardens. This event will take the form of a family day, with inclusive participative arts and sports activities, dance and music performances, and a special celebratory moment when the Flame is officially welcomed to Glasgow. The day will celebrate achievements and inspire others to realise what they can achieve, responding to the Paralympic theme of ‘the spirit of human endeavour – making everyone believe that anyone can do anything’.

Get the BIGGER Picture

Full information about all events can be found at on the London 2012 Festival website.

You can also download our Guide to Scotland’s London 2012 Cultural Programme to find out about on-going projects like Poetry 2012: The Written World, Tall Tales from the Riverbank, Hansel of Film, Peace Camp, Unlimited, Human Race and Maters and Champions.

Share Your Inspirational Stories

If you have a success story to report, and would like to be included in this fortnightly digest which is distributed to Scotland’s London 2012 Cultural Programme spokespeople, London 2012 Festival spokespeople, London 2012 Festival funders & sponsors, and all Scotland’s London 2012 Cultural Programme delivery partner communication teams, please

In tandem with your own Twitter and Facebook channels, you can also show the excitement and energy of your project as it happens by feeding your stories through the London 2012 Twitter and Facebook channels:

Follow us @london2012fest and join the conversation #london2012festival on Twitter.

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Contact Us
If you have a question about the programme, you can contact us by