Capturing the Cultural Olympiad in Scotland: the case for multi-criteria analysis

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Abstract

This article examines the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad through the lens of a devolved Scotland, exploring how the Scottish cultural programmes and projects are being evaluated, and what this approach might offer for the wider UK and international context. Structurally, the article begins with a discussion of the relationship between sporting mega-events and culture, focusing specifically (although not exclusively) on the sport and cultural nexus around the Olympic Games. The discussion then moves to consider conceptual, policy and practice debates around cultural value, examining the extent to which existing research tools and techniques satisfactorily capture the contribution of culture to major events, public and social policy. Methodologically, the article draws on elite interviews with strategic stakeholders directly involved in the design, delivery and evaluation of Scotland's London 2012 Cultural Programme. The authors conclude that, when taken alongside other cultural evaluations conducted nationally and internationally, there is a need to develop a multi-criteria analysis (MCA) that can more effectively capture cultural value around major sporting events in the UK. This study has demonstrated a level of dissatisfaction within the Scottish cultural community about the limitations of existing mechanisms for measuring the value of culture within the mega-event platform. A robust, but nuanced, impact assessment is required because, unlike the UK as a whole, Scotland has a unique opportunity to undertake a longitudinal study assessing the conditions for legacy put in place as a result of the London 2012 Olympic Games for the subsequent 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. However, further research is required into the efficacy of the MCA for assessing cultural value generally and within the framework of major sports events, in particular.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-28
Number of pages11
JournalCultural Trends
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 May 2013

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