Author Archives: David Jarman

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay: ‘Big Bang’ on 1 January 2013 #blogmanay

One element of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay festival is often a piece of street theatre designed to capture the audience’s imagination, provide a spectacle and some encourage some re-imagining of the city as a cultural, creative space. Some of Edinburgh’s most iconic thoroughfares have been used in the past, including the Royal Mile and George Street. Last night, 01/01/2013, an expectant crowd gathered in and around Buccleuch Place, in the university area of the Old Town near George Square. The air was still and dry, though cold, for a production from Plasticien Volants of France – a piece called Big Bang. There was plenty of humour in the show, the soundtrack went through different genres and we had occasional pieces of commentary to provide a little narrative and context. The biggest delights from the audience were when the flying ‘objects’ transformed themselves in mid air – the blobs in the first photo (body parts?) turned themselves inside out and became fish. Sometimes the French performers brought the balloons down to almost head level, and there were plenty of times when they engaged with each other to good effect.
This post is mainly for the photos that follow. They were all taken with an iPhone 5 and you can see from some that I was playing with the panorama feature, with mixed results! They are presented in chronological order and I’ve tried to tidy them up a bit. I think the phone did well in the low light conditions, handling the colours and contrast ok although failing to get particularly sharp focus at times.
Fortunately there’s greater focus in the work that goes into putting on such events. During the three days of Hogmanay the Torchlight Procession, Street Party, concerts, events and New Year’s Day activities set Edinburgh apart in what it’s trying to do by way of entertainment, shared experiences and destination promotion. Edinburgh’s a great place, made all the better for such high points through the year.

These images are also up on my Flickr page and you’ve welcome to use them should you wish, with attribution please:

The Future of (Book) Festivals: West Port Book Festival, 26 November 2012


A trip to Inspace is always a treat – they put on a series of events that are broad in their scale, ambition, range and content, yet always intimate. Back in November I went along to an event which was being produced as part of the West Port Book Festival, focusing on the future of festivals, with book and literary festivals to the fore. Nick Barley was on the panel, representing himself and also the Edinburgh International Book Festival. We were also joined by Claire Squires of Stirling University and, live and direct from Melbourne via Skype and a very early alarm call, Lisa Dempster. The notes that follow are not a full minute of the event, but hopefully flag up some of the topics that came up and the opinions of the key contributors. The theme of ‘change’ was in the air: the size of the book festival market growing; the influence of ebooks; the place of social media in the festival experience; the need for festivals to find/retain their sense of personality and character.

Please read on and note any questions in the comments.

And happy new year!


The Future of Festivals
Part of West Port Book Festival

On the panel…
Claire Squires (University of Stirling)

  • Nick: future: festivals will have to be better, know their speciality, have a personality
  • Nick: festivals coming to rely on passion: of organisers and audiences
  • Claire: in a digital age festivals have a role in providing a connection between authors and readers, while high street shops close down, etc.
  • Lisa: agrees with Nick that the current festival boom won’t last forever
  • Lisa: festivals bring people together, a focus for debate and connections, a site for fun too – leading to a more relaxed type of event with more engagement and a move away from the lecture plus q and a model
  • Lisa: festivals need to know what they’re for and who they’re working with, what their expectations are
  • Claire: commenting on uses of social media to widen the audience for an event, even though it breaks the physical link
  • Nick: says he has a journalistic role, editing an event to meet a variety of different audiences and interests; but also present a world view that brings some degree of consistency and focus to the event
  • Nick: flags up the differences between festivals of different scales, what can you achieve with the larger festivals?
  • Lisa: Emerging Writers Festival in Australia: lots of work with social media, redefining the structure of the event in order to bring in the audience and their expertise, alongside a Twitter audience
  • Lisa: Twitter has facilitated a community around the festival, giving people a chance to contact others – including enabling Twitter users to meet each other
  • Lisa: resistance to Twitter? Festival board brought some resistance to the idea, so needed convincing, but once it was shown to work it built up steam; recommends not apologising and just going for it
  • Nick: resistance: notes that some feel that tweeting during events is annoying; Nick appeals for the joy of losing yourself to the experience of an author and an expert chair – tweeting is great, but the key to the event is the quality of the conversation on stage
  • Claire: financial sustainability: different models of book sales – giving it over to a company like Waterstones, or doing it yourself? What sort of revenues are possible through digital books?
  • Nick: envisaging that festival boards are likely to be asking their festivals what their ebook strategy is… such as eibf who are trying to delay the switch to move to digital. Switches focus to production rather than consumption: what do authors demand of their authors and will this change as people’s commitment to reading changes?
  • Lisa: believes that festivals and bookshops should provide means by which customers can get hold of books
  • Nick: media driven by what people have written, whether it be social media or mainstream news, which helps reinforce the value of the book as a generator of these news cycles
  • Lisa: books as an antidote to the sound bite; sophisticated audiences who can engage with numerous ideas through different media
  • Are pure festivals de
    ad? More cross genre festivals to reflect our lives? Lisa: maybe yes… cites Latitude, though it’s still a way away; though notes Adelaide writers festival is part of the wider arts festival
  • Nick: doesn’t see an end to the literary festival, examples exist of successful festivals around the world which have their niche
  • Nick: reflects on 2012 Writers’ Conference as a shift in focus from books to writing, authors talking about why they write
  • Claire: what of those who don’t want to engage with all the new event types? There will be some authors who are not as effective on stage, whose work is effectively less favoured in the festival model
  • Lisa: agrees that festival producers need to reflect on what works best for each author
  • Nick: it’s about giving each author the opportunity to present their work; programming is about a conversation with authors – what works best for them?

Image: ‘Mini Book II: Inside cover’  |

Dr Simon Gage: Edinburgh Napier University, 27 September 2012


Back in September we welcomed Dr Simon Gage to Edinburgh Napier University, part of a rolling series of public talks by the directors of Edinburgh’s foremost festivals and other guest speakers. Simon heads up the Edinburgh International Science Festival, which has enjoyed a very successful 2012 with some innovative new events and the second instalment of their Abu Dhabi takeover. I remember the date as it was my birthday, but I’m only now making the time to post my notes from the evening. They might be a little opaque without having been there to set them in some kind of context, so any questions in the comments will be answered as best I can.

‘Geek chic’ as a new cultural phenomenon and the role science festivals play in making it so
Dr Simon Gage

Science in popular culture
  • Aspects of science that have made their way into popular culture
  • Methods and media: broadcast, publishing, museums, hands-on science centres and festivals
  • On science centres: engagement is generally between human and machine, while human to human is more engaging
  • Science events: stealing from other performances ??? theatre, etc. Kids performing fake operations with real kit. Dad dancing… based on testosterone levels?! Coffee event: what’s the science behind the drink?
  • Festivals: good sci festivals have allowed those with enthusiasm for science to find an audience that otherwise they couldn’t reach
  • Examples: Genoa learnt from Edinburgh; Abu Dhabi using Edinburgh, aimed at children, with the same activities being toured to different places; New York (‘World Science Festival’) commissioning major artistic works based on science, performed on Broadway
  • Beyond science festivals: Uncaged Monkeys is mainstream; Secret Cinema; Guerilla Science popping up at other festivals… science outside the ghetto
  • iPhone apps: Dream:On, from Richard Wiseman, getting social neurology into the public eye, finding a massive sample for research
  • Things are changing: science is reaching out and is being done professionally

  • What’s driving the change?
  • Very few trying to do it for money…
  • …but there are various stakeholders who want to see it happen:
  • Economic impact: councils, etc. want to attract investment in science: knowledge based economies, with talented people attracted to your location. Notes that the richer a country gets the less likely its population is to want to work in science and technology. There’s a role for festivals in providing opportunities for kids to experience science and find their vocations
  • Recruit young talent
  • Engage with public: governments aware that they need to get public support for spending on science, so they spend a lot of effort explaining what they do to try and win over the public. Note recent controversies that have seen the public oppose science
  • Educational desire: formal and informal
  • Scientists keen to share and find and audience: see Richard Wiseman at Science Festival; Richard Dawkins wanting to get his message out
  • Each festival has its own drivers for making them happen: Fringe, Tattoo, etc.
    • The market?
    • These audiences have to be created and found ??? they’re not there to be pinched from others
    • Once you’ve found an audience you can put stuff in front of them in new ways
    • Bring someone else’s audience to you: bring in stars, the BBC, existing brands

    • Questions:
    • Identifies a local, not national audience: stakeholders want to attract a local audience, although tourism is on the horizon
    • Abu Dhabi: benefits Edinburgh through money, opportunities to see talent around the world, a need to sharpen your game to meet high expectations
    • Reaching out to new industries: forging links to new stakeholder groups from the arts to new university departments
    • Science take up: anecdotal evidence that science festivals increase take up of academic courses… but very tough to provide evidence on a firmer basis

    Making a festival
    • The growth of science communication as a recognised profession
    • Notes that there’s a learning process: to get from a homespun event to something that looks great
    • Go the extra mile to produce something wonderful and it becomes truly engaging and magical
    • Recipe: science, communication, training, working together
    • The lack of functioning markets in this content: other cultural areas have an established market, but it’s hard to see where this is for science festivals; without the market the industry is lacking, a market will speed up the trading of ideas, content, performers and buyers
    • Some events can be pretty techie, but if you know your audience and you can put them in the right environment you can be ambitious
    • Competition: pitching yourselves against others in the same quadrant: high participation + high impact
    • Work with
      your competitors: the zoo, theatre companies, shopping malls, etc.
    • Edinburgh: very competitive, so you gotta be good to survive in this city; but you can learn from the other festivals; the city helps set Edinburgh apart, likewise their work with families

    Future of EISF:
    • International contracts
    • Plans to invest in training teachers
    • Continuing to be good, rather than pushing for growth

    Image: ‘2010.0807 Spirit of the Wild’  |

    Social media talk: 3 December 2012, Sighthill


    As part of an event for ‘Supporting Researchers at Edinburgh Napier University‘ I’ve been asked to put together some resources and reflections on the ways blogs and blogging can play a part in the life of a humble researcher, such as me. Rather than produce some slides for my twenty minutes in the spotlight I’ve bundled a collection of links into this blog post. Please post questions, suggestions and more connections in the comments below ??? particularly if you’re in the audience for the talk.

    This isn’t the first time I’ve used this blog as the basis of a presentation ??? follow these links to other posts for…
    • previous conference talk on using blogs, including links to websites that can provide you with a (free) space online to start your own and lots of tools to make it look good
    • lecture I presented to a fourth year class when my guest speaker fell ill with an hour or so before the class
    • some slides that were used at an industry focused training day, where I presented on social media
    I find it all too easy to neglect my blog, particularly during a busy autumn term when I get distracted by teaching and programme leadership. Fear not for there are many other resources out there, such as the Guardian HE Network ( Within their site you’ll find resources such as…

    The next set of links is a hand picked collection of ways I’ve used blogs and blogging, gathered together in a few categories:
    • Developing my research ideas and interpreting different topics, particularly those related to my PhD themes
  • Keeping a record of conference talks, events attended, books and papers read
  • Engaging with other bloggers: David McGillivray (UWS)
  • Publication
  • Teaching links
      • When I created the blog in the summer of 2010 I decided I was primarily writing it for myself. I wanted to have a space for my thoughts, somewhere I could write and publish work on a variety of topics and be able to find it later. Rather than keeping it to myself I also saw it as a space in which to have a presence online, but somewhere I could control rather than having to abide by the rules of Facebook or another comprehensive social media platform. It is important to me that my blog is open to anyone with an internet connection and isn’t locked up in an online walled garden. I spent a small amount of money buying a domain name to suit me (, but this isn’t compulsory by any means. I’ve been happy with the blogging platform I use (Posterous), but as they’ve since been bought by Twitter there’s a degree of uncertainty about the future.

        At times my attitude towards using the blog is ???sharing by default???: if I attend an event I might automatically write a post as my way of recording what happened, which is then shared with the world. I don’t see my work as being commercially sensitive, although I know of other researchers who wouldn’t consider publicising what they’re doing ??? perhaps they’re contractually obliged not to! At the back of my mind I ask myself what my students, employers and parents might think of the things I write and publish, whether it’s for the blog or on Twitter. In my experience it doesn’t tend to take long for new users to get used to the cultural norms of conversation and sharing on a given social media platform, but if you???re not familiar then it???s advisable to spend time reading and observing before jumping in.

        I don’t think I make full use of the tools available: I don’t blog often enough, rarely dip into organised Twitter conversations (such as #PhDchat) and could do more with video and audio to liven up my corner of the web. But I enjoy it nonetheless and am very glad I’ve got an easily accessible record of my PhD progress thus far.


      Image: ‘Blog 62’  |

      London 2012 Olympic photos: last day, men’s marathon, Victoria Park


      The final day of the 2012 Olympic Games, with the sun shining again and lots of folk out on the streets to enjoy the marathon from wherever they could find a vantage point. I caught a little bit of running action, then
      headed along Embankment and past Belgium House. A little further was Case Brasil, where a large exhibition held Brazilian art, information about the 2016 Games and what’s being done in Rio to get ready. (You could hold the Rio 2016 brand in your hand! Very exciting.)

      Finally a first visit to an official Live Site since Edinburgh some two weeks earlier and then the Park Live site within the Olympic Park. The Victoria Park experience was carefully controlled (hence a rapid scoffing of sandwiches outside the entrance before they were confiscated). There were several screens up, with lots of folk lounging around in the warmth. I was tempted to stay on for the closing ceremony, but the warmth and comfort of home was too tempting. There were many who did watch it from there though – I was going against the tide on my way back to the tube station.

      It’s hard to know what to make of the Victoria Park live site experience. I’ve head these places described as being on a ‘music festival’ model, with stages, food stalls, over priced beer and parched grass. I suppose that’s a reasonable analogy, although visitors know that the live site experience is only a second hand experience – you don’t get that feeling at music festival with live performances. There’s also a lack of the usual peripheral attractions at a festival, with little choice of food, few tents and stalls to have a look at and not a lot laid on to encourage people to make new friends. This was an opportunity to sit and watch sport from the commercialised comfort of baked earth and tired grass, which I guess is why I head back to a comfy sofa for the bizarre closing extravaganza.

      London 2012 Olympic photos: volleyball and football


      These photos are from two events: men’s volleyball at Earls Court and women’s football at Wembley stadium (CC licence as normal). The two venues are separated by a few miles, but also be a few decades of progress in stadium design. The wooden seats of EC are to Wembley what oilskins and a sowester are to the latest Gore-Tex breathable waterproofs. Functional they may be, but they’re not particularly comfortable, you don’t get a great view of the action and the price differential of building the two venues might be of a similar order. That said, I’ve been to some very impressive Boat Shows at Earls Court where they’ve flooded the main halls for ocean going yachts and the odd dinghy race.

      The volleyball was good fun, with some very vocal Polish fans round about not enjoying their national team’s defeat to Australia. The bits that are shown on television look great, as you’d expect, with mobs of volunteers on hand to wipe the court whenever they get the chance. Good atmosphere too, whether because of or inspite of the pitch-side entertainment, enforced Mexican waves and gurning fans on the big screens.

      Wembley Stadium is impressive, this was my first visit. It’s really… big. Big pitch, lots of seats, lots of people. Lots of climbing as well, up to your seat in the Gods (if you were sitting near me anyway). The Mexican waves here were largely spontaneous, among the 61,500 crowd, though we still got our fill of entertainments outwith the pitch action. As you can imagine there were some queues to get out – we were herded along ‘Olympic Way’towards the tube station. It took a while, but the police kept us all in order, held us back in waves and so when we reached the station there was no crushing and plenty of space on the platform. Just a shame my phone died during the wait so I couldn’t text ahead to say I’d be late…

      There are also a few images from The Mall, with its red tarmac. These are of the back of the beach volleyball arena and the barriers in place for the marathon and whatever else was due to take place outside Buckingham Palace. And yes, it was a lovely sunny day.


      More Olympic headlines, stories and so on

      It seems the first post of headlines and comments hit Posterous’s limit, so for the final day of the games, closing ceremony and the post-Games press conference see below…

      12 August
      • The last day of the Games.
      • On the streets of London there’s a big turnout for the men’s marathon, which is the last event of the track and field programme. The warm weather probably helped – London has been blessed with some exceptional weather compared to what came before in June and July.
      • Listening to BBC Radio 5 live there’s a lot of discussion to review the Games, look ahead to the future and work out how to make the most of this surge in interest.
      • Daley Thomson makes the point that if sports clubs aren’t ready to help children and families they won’t get a second chance. Handball, Taekwondo and other minority sports won’t see this level of interest again, so they need to be able to do something with the attention they’re getting.
      • On the route of the marathon is Casa Brasil:
        • This is Brazil’s exhibition at Somerset House to show what they have in store for the world in 2016.
        • Lots of photos, colour and culture on display.
        • The legacy theme is present too, with projections on what’s going to change in Rio over the next four years – roads, venues, etc.
        • There’s a large section on the branding of the Games, both Olympic and Paralympic. The logos, colours, themes and message they want us to take away from our time with Brazil.
      • Out at the ‘BT London Live’ live site at Victoria Park there’s a lively atmosphere. It’s about a mile from Mile End tube, with limited number of special signs in place to guide you there.
        • What you see on the way are a few hand drawn and otherwise improvised signs directing you to local attractions: a floating market and other attractions. Some say they’re a short cut to Victoria Park, all are there to try and share in the spending power of the large number of people in this part of London.
        • There isn’t much to spend your money on as you walk to the park, the occasional pub along the way.
        • Once at the Park there’s a large area to gather in before you filter through the lanes. This is a handy place to eat your packed lunch as you won’t be allowed to take it in with you.
        • Once inside there’s a festival air, with stages, big screens, The Sun Pub, The Sunday Times for sale and places to purchase beer, food and so on. This is also the place that Boris Johnson got stuck on the zip wire.
        • It’s a place for families and friends – just about everyone is in a group or a couple, soaking up the sun. There doesn’t seem to be much in the way of ‘making new friends’, so this tends towards bonding rather than bridging activities.
        • That said there’s still a lot of shared enjoyment at the sporting endeavours being shown on the screens: the men’s basketball final (USA beat Spain), the men’s volleyball final (Russia beat Brazil) and the women’s modern pentathlon (where a ‘Team GB’ athlete gets the silver).
        • There are many, many people heading that way in the late afternoon to get a good spot for the closing ceremony.
      Speaking of which…
      • The closing ceremony lacks the cohesion of the opening, with pieces of narrative interspersed with pop and cultural performances.
      • As noted on Twitter the arrival of the athletes lightens the whole thing and makes for a joyous atmosphere. Others commented that this made it feel like someone else’s party, to which we’ve been allowed to watch from afar.
      • Highlights (either on artistic merit or sheer bizarreness) include the Spice Girls riding around on taxis, Russell Brand singing I Am the Walrus through a megaphone, Fat Boy Slim doing a short DJ set (miming, surely) from the middle of an inflatable octopus and of course Ray Davies – a lovely rendition of Waterloo Sunset.
      • The BBC’s coverage of the closing ceremony focuses on the performances, as well as picking out lots of athletes from the crowd, some now famous others still unknown to UK audiences.
      • The coverage was preceded by a long introduction featuring memories of the Games and thoughts about their impacts and legacies. This sets the tone for the following days where the media narrative switches to these themes.

      13 August

      Press conference: Jeremy Hunt, Boris Johnson, Seb Coe
      • Coe identifies three things needed to run a successful Olympic Games:
        • Partnerships
        • Vision
        • A clear idea of why you’re doing it
      • Coe on why he’s taking on a legacy ambassadorial role post-Games: the Prime Minister wants him to continue to lend his experience and expertise, working alongside others who are focused on making the most of the legacy opportunities.
      • Ethnic diversity question: while some sports ha
        ve clearly benefited from waves of immigration to the UK (athletics, boxing) there are others which don’t demonstrate such diversity (the sitting down sports, which happen to be the more expensive ones) – can this be addressed? Coe says track and field is a good representation of UK society, and maybe has lessons that can be passed on to other sports. Investment in these sports will continue to help break down barriers to participation. It’s not just participation though; administration and management should also be accessible to all.
      • Have the London games been better than Sydney? Boris says let’s not get into that; each games is special.
      • Legacy keeps coming up as a theme [note that Michael Johnson says London is the first games to have truly embraced this idea, while previous games had focused on not losing money].
        • Government seeking to use Olympics to push for more competitive sport in schools.
        • Venues to be re-used, given back to the community (eg Greenwich Park) with some still available if you’d like to bag yourself a venue.
        • Whose responsibility is paying for this legacy: state, philanthropists…? Hunt says governments can’t do it alone and that it’s not just about money – it’s also about culture and enthusiasm to create a lasting benefits.
      • Hunt feels that politicians have stepped back and avoided seeking the limelight. There’s some mutual backslapping between political parties: Johnson thanks Livingstone, Hunt thanks Jowell.
        • This has also been a perfect example of joined up government according to Hunt, despite journalist’s criticism that different government departs haven’t been working together to follow a cohesive policy.
      • Coe says he’s happy if others are happy, but even happier if the athletes are happy – they can only break world records if they’re physically and mentally ready, so the village needs to be right and the venues.
        • Coe believes you can’t put too much money into elite sport: elite success is the greatest motivator for others, driving aspiration and a desire to succeed and engage.
      • Coe and rest of senior team at LOCOG have been given the Olympic Order by the IOC – part of the trappings which the IOC grants itself.
      • £13 billion of benefits are expected: Cameron has pledged to achieve this figure, which was calculated by Lloyd’s [I think]. This is due through investment, deals done at GB House and other unquantified ambitions.
      • Funding for arts and culture: said not to be in line to miss out despite plans to pump more money Lottery into elite sport over the coming years to Rio 2016. Arts companies said to have been on show to great effect through the Games, Cultural Olympiad, Opening and Closing ceremonies.
      • Boris has some foreign trips lined up: China is on the list of places to visit to try and drum up more trade and investment:
      Newsnight special on the impacts and legacies of London 2012:
      • Opening report:
        • Notes that there’s been lots of hyperbole, but good arguments for it?
        • As a sport event lots of records were broken and GB did well.
        • A third of medallists went to private school, part of an elite group of athletes.
        • Boris Johnson said to have more political capital than the government.
        • Marked a turnaround from early problems about security, etc.
        • Price tag: 3.4bn rose to more than 9bn a few years later… but it’s ok because Cameron says we’ll be reaping 13bn over the next four years.
        • An over corporate games? Notes choice of sponsors, empty seats, etc.
        • Volunteers: gave of them time, got lots of praise from Rogge and other top brass.
        • Said to have given the rest of the world a different vision of GB: opening ceremony and diversity of winners.
      • Interview with Jeremy Hunt:
        • We’ve welcomed the world, with a smile, and shown that we’re a confident nature and one that likes to win every so often.
        • So when did Britain stop being broken? Were we ever really broken or were there just pockets of problems, just as there are in lots of countries? Hunt says we still have problems to deal with, but the Games have shown what we can do if everyone pulls together and we tackle something big.
        • On schools, including scrapping the two hour target for PE: it’s not all about targets. Hunt says there’s a problem with the small number of pupils engaged in competitive sport… but has problem naming a school where there’s an ‘all must have prizes’ culture.
        • To tackle this in schools we should empower head teachers to be able to do something about this, to change a culture where schools don’t believe in the importance of competitive sport. Changing values and changing ethos.
        • Business of legacy of £13bn: analysis of potential contracts that might be won on the back of the Olympics – eg tourism strategy expected to bring in an extra four million visitors a year.
        • £1
          3bn figure from Oxford Economics, commissioned by Lloyd’s Banking Group (one of the sponsors): 70% of this, according to the report, is expected to come prior to and during the Games, leaving about five billion to come afterwards. Hunt: corrects information on the source of the figure, though it’s stated by Gavin Esler that Boris Johnson used the Oxford report… Hunt says the figure came from UK Trade and Investment.
        • Hunt: figure calculated from big deals made, investment in contracts, business won. (Therefore not at all guaranteed.)
      • On Stratford: what’s the impact been there (report)?
        • Local residents says the Games aren’t for them, that they fear only a small amount of the benefits will filter down to them, they don’t know anyone who’s got a ticket and been to see the events.
        • Seven years of looking forward hasn’t led to benefits: legacy doesn’t pay the bills.
        • It’s all nice… if you don’t come from round there. Looks good from afar, but if you live two miles away it ain’t nice, leaves a sour taste.
        • Regeneration = gentrification? That residents will become more marginalised, squeezed out, unable to afford their own homes?
        • Local council ambitions include ‘raising the aspirations’ of residents, but it’s said that the council doesn’t understand those residents, who are quite capable of following their own aspirations.
        • It’s clear that some local residents are optimistic: young people, who have gained experience through the Games, hoping that they can use the experience to further their own lives and aspirations.
        • Allotment holders (Manor Garden), who had been forced out during the development work, have been promised a place in the new park. They see this as an important link with the past for that site, a key to its history. Local community going back into the park, helping the local authorities understand how locals are going to go back into the area and resettle it. Raises spectre of other host cities, where the Olympic park has become a no go zone, without local support and involvement.
      • Discussion:
        • Good things: great infrastructure, shopping and transport, with lots of community spirit. But some feel this is at risk under current plans.
        • Mayor of Newham: there was a promise of improvement, with hopes that local folk will get those jobs, etc.
        • A sense of dislocation is a fear if the existing environment and community is pulled apart by force. Mayor says he is focussing on the people who already live there, but local resident say he fears marginalization.
        • General agreement in the idea of involving local community, local businesses: organic development.
      • British national identity on display during the Games:
        • Carol Ann Duffy reads from her poem.
        • Recognition that the Games showed a diversity of contributors: we are all in this together.
        • Have we changed? It’s too soon to say, but Jowell says it’s clear that lots of people have felt part of it. Also that lots of people would like the same spirit to continue, but it’s hard to know how to follow up on that.
        • Politicians: need to stand back and allow the public and agencies to play their part. Jowell says there was cross party support for this.
        • On the opening ceremony: gave the games a lift by demonstrating the new way of representing the country. We can poke fun at ourselves too, which other countries will not be able to do.
        • What of our sense of community and unity: would conservative ideals of the union and independence from the EU be trumped by multiculturalism? (As asked by Toby Young.) Through the athletes it was clear that although we may be multi ethnic, Britishness can still trump cultural identities: see Farah as proudly British.
        • A reflection of what we’ve become: a diverse city, very creative, but still encouraging people to retain their identity.
        • Jowell on presenting the bid: from the start there was a bid that reflected the diversity of modern Britain, not all beefeaters. But it’s too soon to say what this all means – different regions will respond differently, just as they responded differently to the torch relay as it came through.
        • Young on Alex Salmond: won’t have been cheered by the British identity displayed by Scottish athletes. Sir Chris Hoy can’t be claimed by the Nats.
        • What will the legacy be all about: having ploughed £10bn into the park, will it be for us, as citizens and taxpayers, or will it be sold off to private companies? Jowell notes the strong links to surrounding boroughs, which are currently closed off but will be opened up.
        • The volunteers: lots of support, with likelihood that more people will now want to volunteer as a result… But don’t forget that we need real jobs of substance, not just more volunteering opportunities.

      14 August