Kent is right at the heart of one of the most exciting cultural sporting events in Britain’s recent history.
The legacy the games will leave behind will be far-reaching, not only in facilities, but in education, sports and culture.
Here at Christ Church, we have been actively involved in the build-up to the 2012 Games, from our nationally-acclaimed Olympic research to creative work in Kent and Medway’s schools.
Researching the legacy
Our academic staff are leading the way in many areas of Olympic research.
Jan Burns, Professor of Clinical Psychology, is a member of an international research group which has directly influenced the re-inclusion of athletes with learning disabilities into the Paralympic Games 2012.
Inas, the International Federation for sport for para-athletes with an intellectual disability, and the International Paralympic Committee, funded an international research group to devise a new robust classification system. Subsequently, Jan is also Head of Eligibility for Inas, a global position managing the system which ensures that elite athletes meet the initial criteria of having a learning disability before entry into Paralympic level events.
Our Centre for Sport, Physical Education and Activity Research (SPEAR) is also at the forefront of Olympic Research. Dr Dikiai Chatziefstathiou has received the Pierre de Courbetin prize for her world-leading research and also presents at international conferences on the subject. Similarly, Professor Mike Weed led a world-wide review commissioned by the Department of Health on the potential impact of the Games on the nation’s physical activity, sports participation and health.
Planning for the Olympics
Kent County Council has been a leading player in the South East regional planning arrangements of the legacy and the Cultural Olympiad since the announcement in 2006.
Christ Church is looking forward to supporting the Games from the research directly impacting on the selection process, sponsorship of the 20in12 learning programme, our student volunteers at the Games to the University being designated as a potential training camp.
We are providing the tourism industry and businesses with the skills to compete for contracts and are directly involved with engaging young people in the Get Set programme – in fact Kent has the highest ratio of schools engaged in the Get Set programme of any county in the country.
An arts and cultural partnership with sport
De Courbetin’s Olympic vision was always one of broad cultural celebration, where sports at the heart of events were surrounded by expressions of artistic and wider cultural excellence.
Christ Church has been a major partner in the Creative Campus Initiative for the 2012 Cultural Olympiad. 12 universities across the South East have combined to use a wide variety of cultural forms, digital media, animation, film, photography and music to showcase the arts and sports dialogue.
The Improbable Curve exhibition in 2011 showcased creative projects and Dan Richards, former Animator in Residence at Christ Church, worked with schools in Kent to make animation films around the Olympics and what they meant to the young people. He also created a film exploring what art and sport have in common and what separates them.
Schools countdown to the Games
Christ Church has been a major sponsor of the Kent 20in12, aiming to get every young person in Kent involved in an educational experience relating to the Olympics and Paralympics.
Paul Carney, Broadstairs Campus Director, is part of the executive group working hard to encourage participation. The University’s aim is to see local schools and colleges adopt the values of the Olympics and Paralympics to inspire their learning right across the curriculum - not just in sport.
And they have responded in creative ways, including the ‘Maths and Sports Countdown to the Games’, helping pupils to discover the maths hidden inside the sports and planning of the Games; and Swalecliffe County Primary School planting an Olympic garden with flowering Olympic rings - to name but a few of the many projects.
The Kent 20in12 Learning Programme has also been awarded the ‘Inspire Mark’ by the London 2012 Organising Committee in recognition of its impact.