Audiences of more than 2.1 million actively engaged with the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme, research published today (Monday 8 June, 2015) reveals.
Throughout Scotland’s biggest ever nationwide, cultural celebration, more than 12,000 events took place, including over 3,000 performances, 3,600 exhibition days and more than 5,600 learning and outreach sessions during this unprecedented cultural celebration, accompanying Glasgow and Scotland’s hosting of the best ever Commonwealth Games.
Launched in July 2013, the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme consisted of two strands: the Scotland-wide programme of activity, Culture 2014 and the Games-time Glasgow-based Festival 2014.
This ambitious and accessible cultural celebration was developed through a unique collaboration between the performers and artists, communities across the country, the Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee, Glasgow Life and Creative Scotland.
More than 8,000 artists and 2,500 organisers were the creative driving force behind work inspired by Scotland's relationship with the Commonwealth and the achievements of competing athletes.
More than 600,000 people participated in performances and events in a Programme that aimed to give visitors and people across Scotland and further afield the opportunity to be part of the Games wherever they were.
Artists and organisers producing work created 1,600 new partnerships with members of the cultural, educational, sport, local authority and other sectors making connections with potential to last beyond the Games and benefit Scotland's cultural sector in the future.
In Glasgow specifically, audiences of more than 1.2m engaged with the programme, in which over 470,000 people participated. Throughout the city, the Games were celebrated through more than 1,600 performances, 1,800 education and outreach sessions and 1,400 exhibition days.
The research also reports that the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme was a bold and innovative commission, producing work of real artistic excellence, whilst offering a mix of cultural experiences that felt fresh and exciting to peers and audiences alike.
Work created for the Cultural Programme has already gone on to reach more new audiences, beyond the end of the Games period.
For example, From Scotland with Love by King Creosote and Virginia Heath has played to sold out audiences and standing ovations across the UK, including at Celtic Connections in January 2015 and will be performed at Edinburgh International Festival 2015, Phil Collins’ film Tomorrow is Always Too Long is touring internationally and Dundee Rep is currently touring its production of In My Father’s Words on Broadway.
For the Commonwealth Games Federation, in the evaluation of the bids for 2022 and onwards, a cultural programme will now be part of the formal criteria.
Work was presented for the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme across all artforms, from the intimate to the spectacular, as well as ground-breaking nationwide projects such as GENERATION – the celebration of 25 years of contemporary art in Scotland, Big Big Sing and Get Scotland Dancing.
The evaluation research was carried out by research specialists BOP Consulting and Counting what Counts. They gathered feedback from artists, audiences and the organisations who created, supported and participated in the Cultural Programme.
A separate report into Get Scotland Dancing by evaluators Catch the Light, also published today online alongside the main report, found that a total of 546 dance events were delivered by this national dance initiative in 2014, with an estimated 74,500 participants.
Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop, said:
“The Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme was the most ambitious nationwide cultural celebration that has ever taken place in Scotland, bringing a national programme of new work by world-leading and emerging Scottish and International artists to communities across the country, as today’s findings show. GENERATION, the nationwide programme of exhibitions and events celebrated the last 25 years of Scottish contemporary art, while the Big Big Sing inspired hundreds of thousands of people from Shetland to Devon to unite in celebration of singing.
“The Scottish Government is committed to securing a legacy for communities across Scotland from the hosting the 2014 Commonwealth Games, and The Cultural Programme has offered an excellent platform to strengthen connections both here at home and internationally, through culture and learning, enhancing our reputation as a vibrant and culturally-rich nation.”
Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said:
“Glasgow set new standards with the best ever Commonwealth Games and nowhere is that more apparent than in the way the Cultural Programme was developed as an integral part of the Games experience. No-one who went along will ever forget Glasgow Green, the Merchant City Festival or any of the hundreds of other performances and events which welcomed over a million people and helped to create the incredible experience Glasgow had as host city. Glasgow’s reputation as Scotland’s cultural powerhouse has been enhanced globally as a result and will reap rewards for the city for years to come.”
Janet Archer, Chief Executive of Creative Scotland, concluded:
“The artistic community of Scotland responded to the call to create the most ambitious programme of cultural activity this country has ever seen with breath-taking energy, imagination and skill. They reached out to people and communities throughout Scotland to make the absolute most of the once in lifetime opportunity presented by Glasgow and Scotland’s hosting of the Commonwealth Games. The result was an inclusive, multi-faceted programme pulsing with artistic excellence, innovation and quality that has set in motion new ideas, new partnerships, and renewed confidence for Scotland’s bright, brilliant artistic future.”
555 new pieces of work presenting the best of Scottish Culture inspired by Scotland's relationship with the Commonwealth were created for the Cultural Programme.
World premiere pieces included GRIT, based on the life of pioneering musician Martyn Bennett with a creative team of International and Scottish dance, theatre and circus artists and directed by Cora Bissett. Dundee Rep Theatre's In My Fathers Words told the moving story of a father and son and the recovery of language and identity, Scottish Dance Theatre’s SCALE dance gave toddlers and parents unique chances to dance and learn as part of a wide ranging series of events in Dundee, while Away with the Birds explored the relationship between birdsong and Gaelic in a site specific performance on the Hebridean Isle of Canna.
With Festival 2014, the Host City was brought to life at Live Zones across the city and by shows which were integrated with the sporting programme.
Packed programmes of free entertainment for the whole family at Glasgow Green Live Zone included The Big Big BIG Sing which saw an inspiring day-long series of events for people of all ages and abilities with 40,000 joining in the singing. Collective Architecture and Louise Welsh's exploration of Scotland's relationship with the North Atlantic Slave Trade at The Empire Cafe and Random Accomplice's nightly satirical take on the day’s events during the Games, News Just In, brought the hugely diverse Cultural Programme to people throughout the city.
Stephen Deazley, choirmaster from the Big Big Sing, said:
“A landscape changes dramatically when a mass of people gather in one place. And when this happens in celebration and in song, nothing seems impossible. Without any doubt this was the lasting impression of our day on Glasgow Green. Thousands of voices, from all walks of life, able to forge instant and powerful connections between friends, neighbours and strangers through the simplest human act of singing together. No barriers and no fuss, but a lot of joy! Indeed this was the experience, the lesson shared through the exhilarance of singing in venues throughout the country, some intimate, others grand, all places of community - and all these experiences will last long in the memory. The Big Big Sing reached out to people across Scotland and beyond and continues to do so.”
Though the majority of activity was located in Glasgow, 45 per cent of audiences and 21 per cent of participants took part in activity outside the Commonwealth Games Host City with performances and events spread right across Scotland and beyond.
Work took place in both traditional and new sites, with 70% of respondents saying they had used a novel or adventurous setting and more than 320 outdoor places and spaces being used.
The Skye Bridge became the stage for just one of the hundreds of Big Dance Pledge performances choreographed by Scottish Ballet as part of Get Scotland Dancing; the formerly derelict South Rotunda on the Clyde which became a venue for the National Theatre of Scotland's The Tin Forest Show; and the Transition Extreme Skatepark in Aberdeen which saw the premiere of GRIND, just one of the UK wide performances which took place as part of the New Music Biennial.
Laurie Sansom, Artistic Director of the National Theatre of Scotland, said:
“The Tin Forest is one of the most exciting projects the National Theatre of Scotland has ever created. Its far-reaching impacts on the communities, participants and audiences that we engaged with throughout 2014 were game-changing. The project involved a major international youth theatre festival, street theatre performances across the city, both in partnership with Scottish Youth Theatre; a 9 month long city-wide community arts project encouraging Glaswegians to celebrate their industrial heritage, a magical puppet labyrinth experience for Commonwealth Games visitors, and the transformation of the South Rotunda, an iconic Clydeside building."
Culture 2014 framed and celebrated the Games, with activity reaching a peak as the Queen's Baton Relay toured Scotland in June and July 2014. After the Games, Culture 2014 was at the heart of Edinburgh's world famous Festivals.
Among the Cultural Programme projects adding to the vibrancy and fun for communities along the Queen's Baton Relay Route, which wound its way across Scotland, were Clare McGarry and Grinagog Theatre telling stories of Glasgow's East End in an ice cream van with The Pokey Hat while Sports Stories from the African Commonwealth brought film screenings, talks and workshops to locations along the route.
Clare McGarry, Director of Grinagog Theatre, said:
"I have such fond memories of last summer and the carnival atmosphere there was in communities big and small across Scotland on the route of the Queen's Baton Relay and in Glasgow during the Games. The Pokey Hat was a celebration of what is great about growing up in Glasgow; going to the ice-cream van, holidays doon the water and how Italian people found their way over to Scotland to make their home. It was a joy to travel across Scotland to share these stories and to hand out over 5000 ice-cream cones along the way!”
After the Closing Ceremony, Handspring Puppet Company's Ubu and The Truth Commission was performed to critical acclaim at the Edinburgh International Festival and a South African season came to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival as part of the Cultural Programme, while Glasgow saw Indepen-dance host Gathered Together, Scotland's first International inclusive dance festival, after the Games.
Nationwide projects, GENERATION, Big Big Sing and Get Scotland Dancing spanned the different stages of the Cultural Programme, taking place in venues across Scotland.
Simon Groom, Director of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, on behalf of the partnership said: “We are delighted that GENERATION: 25 Years of Contemporary Art in Scotland made such a distinctive and significant contribution to the 2014 Cultural Programme.
"GENERATION resulted in 62 exhibitions taking place across Scotland. It has been hugely successful in showcasing the very best contemporary art by artists from all over Scotland and has demonstrated there is a very strong public interest in, and appetite for this work. We are especially pleased with the projects that have engaged with our children and young people, many of which will continue well into the future to seed the next generation of artists and audience.
“The project saw an unprecedented number of arts organisations, and other agencies, coming together to achieve a truly ambitious, national project. A key achievement is that it has been able to encourage more strategic, and supportive partnership working across the visual arts sector, and beyond."
Almost 1,600 new partnerships were created between arts organisations presenting work and other organisations. This included new partnerships with almost 280 organisations working in education, more than 200 community organisations and almost 200 sports organisations.
McLaren 2014 took a celebration of Scottish filmaker Norman McLaren into cinemas, schools and arts centres, with 4,000 animations being made and Chemikal Underground's The East End Social worked with libraries, schools, community centres, libraries and care homes, while Active Events brought together Maori, Aboriginal and Scottish artists and organisations to create and perform Boomerang in New Zealand, Australia, the Isle of Lewis and Glasgow.
Stewart Henderson at Chemikal Underground said: “Chemikal Underground was delighted and honoured to have the opportunity to develop our East End Social project as part of the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme. It's our hope that The East End Social will continue to develop over the coming years, building on the relationships forged last summer and delivering a raft of music initiatives within and for the communities of Glasgow's east end.”
The Cultural Programme also engaged with an online audience of around 2.75m web visitors.
9.88 Films was an online challenge to create a film in under the time the leading 100 metre sprinters crossthe finishing line. There were almost 600 entries from filmmakers at all levels from across the Commonwealth including Singapore, Australia, Canada, Pakistan, India, Nigeria, Malaysia and more. 6,000 visits were made to the 9.88 site and the project reached over 2million people through Facebook.
The invaluable support of a number stakeholders and partners including the Scottish Government, Glasgow City Council, National Galleries of Scotland, BBC Scotland, Channel 4 British Council, EventScotland, and Festivals Edinburgh helped realise the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme.