Publication - Research and analysis

An Evaluation of Legacy from the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games: Post Games Report

Published: 23 Jul 2015
Part of:

This report is the first post games legacy evaluation report for the XX Commonwealth Games it aims to generate learning for ourselves, future bidders and hosts, and to add to the international literature

118 page PDF

2.1 MB

118 page PDF

2.1 MB

An Evaluation of Legacy from the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games: Post Games Report
6. Cultural Legacy

118 page PDF

2.1 MB

6. Cultural Legacy

6.1 This chapter sets out the evidence to date that helps answer the following question in the Pre Games Report:

What effect have the Games had on the culture sector and cultural engagement?

6.2 National and city legacy aspirations included a positive impact on cultural engagement and the culture sector, principally through the Games related Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme. This chapter also summarises evidence on the educational programme associated with the Games, Game on Scotland.

The wider evidence base

6.3 The updated evidence review which accompanies this report found limited evidence to help assess what the long term impact of hosting a major event and its related festivals may be on cultural engagement and the culture sector.

6.4 Evidence, mainly from the evaluation of the London 2012 Olympiad, indicates that there can be a large surge in short-term cultural engagement, reaching a broad geographic area. It is less clear whether this engages both those already with cultural interests as well as those not usually engaged, or if this translates into sustained cultural engagement.

6.5 It is plausible that widening the range of cultural opportunities helps engage those not interested in sport. Previous major sporting events have seen equal or greater participation in the cultural events compared to the sporting events. Whether this translates into a sustained increase in cultural engagement or a boost to the culture sector is uncertain.

6.6 The evaluation of the 2012 Olympiad remains one of the few sources of evidence on cultural engagement associated with large scale Games-related cultural programming. This reported 43.4 million public engagement experiences (including participants, spectators and volunteers), more than for the sporting events. It also cites survey evidence suggesting participants are more likely to attend cultural activities in the future as a result of taking part in the programme. It is not clear, however, to what extent attendance was widened to those who do not typically engage in cultural activities and to what extent intention is translated into action.

6.7 There is some evidence that the scale and reach of cultural programmes associated with major Games can support development of the cultural and wider creative industries sector. One example is the development of new partnerships at strategic and project level, with the potential to sustain these beyond events.

6.8 Although it is common for major sporting events to have linked educational and learning programmes that can demonstrate ‘reach’, there remains little available evidence of their long-term impact.

Glasgow 2014 Legacy Investments and Programmes

6.9 Figure 6.1 distils the range of legacy programmes and investments aimed at providing opportunities to engage with the Glasgow 2014 Games through culture and learning. More detailed information on individual programmes is available on the Assessing Legacy website.

Figure 6.1. Key Cultural Legacy Interventions

Figure 6.1. Key Cultural Legacy Interventions

6.10 The key programme was the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme - a national programme of new work by world-leading and emerging Scottish and international artists.

6.11 The programme consisted of two strands: Culture 2014, a nationwide programme which ran throughout the year leading up to the Games with activity focused around key dates such as Commonwealth Day, 100 Days to Go and the return of the QBR to Scotland; and Festival 2014 a citywide programme which took place during Games time, from 19 July to 3 August 2014.

6.12 The broad aims of the cultural programme were to create world class new works; strengthen the cultural sector; promote a contemporary image of Scotland and widen the audience for the Games to those uninterested in sport. Festival 2014 was also intended to contribute to the excitement and atmosphere in Glasgow during Games time, promoting the city as ‘open for business’.

6.13 The Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme was delivered through a partnership between Creative Scotland and Glasgow Life; with National Lottery, Scottish Government and Glasgow City Council funding a total programme budget of £13.2m. It was intended to be a key part of the Games experience for spectators, visitors and residents, showcasing Scottish culture alongside creative work from the Commonwealth.

6.14 Game on Scotland, and the linked Game on Glasgow, is the official education programme for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. It is designed primarily to enable educators to use the Games as a resource for learning and teaching activities that will contribute to the delivery of Curriculum for Excellence[70]. It was also used to encourage engagement with the Games and increase knowledge and understanding of the world and Scotland’s place in it among learners.

Evidence to date of Games effect

6.15 The evaluation of the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme found it was unprecedented in scale compared to any previous cultural celebrations in Scotland.[71] The programme contained over 3,000 performances and 3,600 exhibition days and was delivered by over 10,000 artists and arts and culture professionals, supported by almost 4,000 volunteers.

6.16 Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme was the first Commonwealth Games cultural programme to have a dual city and nation focus, and the first delivered by the national and city public bodies with responsibility for culture (see chapter 8 on organisational legacy for more detail). It was the first Commonwealth Games cultural programme to start a year out from the Games. Glasgow 2014 was also the first Commonwealth Games where the Organising Committee operationally brought together all their responsibilities for the non-sport elements of the Games: QBR, the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and the Culture Programme.

6.17 The evaluation concludes this represents a step change in terms of Commonwealth Games cultural programming and the status of the culture elements within the overall Commonwealth Games event. From 2022, a cultural programme will be part of the formal criteria for judging bids by the Commonwealth Games Federation.

Impact on participation

6.18 The programme attracted a mass audience. Attendance at cultural events and participation in cultural activities were high – the programme attracted an estimated 2.1m attendances and 600,000 participants. Notable elements of the programme aimed at inspiring participation at scale included Get Scotland Dancing and Big Big Sing.

6.19 A large proportion of the events took place in Glasgow, though the year-long nationwide Culture 2014 ensured events were programmed and audiences reached throughout Scotland. Given that ticket sales for the sport events in the Games were 1.2m, it is clear that the Culture Programme contributed to increasing participation in the Commonwealth Games related events in Scotland in 2014.

6.20 The evaluation also provided evidence that the Culture Programme provided a high level of affordable opportunities to take part. Over 8 in 10 projects in the Programme reported that some or all of their activities were provided free of charge.

6.21 However, and related to the well-known difficulty in gathering demographic data for free events[72], the evaluation could not robustly assess the extent to which the programme attracted new audiences for culture and the arts. The evaluators conclude from the limited data that does exist[73] that the pattern of participation in the Culture Programme is likely to have reflected long standing differences in participation in culture and the arts in Scotland and other countries[74].

6.22 There is evidence, however, from the Games Time Visitor Survey that Festival 2014 contributed to broadening engagement experiences of those who did attend. One in six (14%) visitors reported they had experienced cultural activities and events that were previously unfamiliar. This increased to 23% among residents of Glasgow. And there is evidence from a range of sources of a high level of satisfaction and enjoyment among participants in Games related cultural events[75].

6.23 It is too soon to say whether the high levels of attendance and participation in the Culture Programme noted above will impact on the national statistics on cultural engagement. The national data that is available to date shows an increase between 2012 and 2013 in attendance in culture and the arts at Scotland and Glasgow levels (see figure 6.2 below).

6.24 Some of the 2013 data was gathered in the second half of the year, after the launch of the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme, so it is possible that Programme projects contributed to this increase. However, it is expected that any impact would be more evident in the 2014 data. This will be available later in 2015.

Figure 6.2. Attendance at cultural events and visiting places of culture in the last 12 months, Scotland and Glasgow, 2012 and 2013

Figure 6.2. Attendance at cultural events and visiting places of culture in the last 12 months, Scotland and Glasgow, 2012 and 2013

Source Scottish Household Survey

Impact on the Culture Sector

6.25 Evidence on the impact of the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme on the culture sector in Scotland is clearer. Chapter 8 sets out the extent to which the programme created new partnerships in the sector in Scotland. It also suggests that the model of the delivery by partnership between Scotland and Glasgow’s public bodies for culture, rather than an externally commissioned curator, means the experience, skills and knowledge developed have been retained in Scotland - in these bodies and across the thousands of artists that created and delivered the programme.

6.26 Several individual cultural works produced as part of the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme already have a life beyond the Games and the end of the programme. Examples include Dundee Rep Theatre, touring In My Father’s Words, a play in Gaelic and English, to New York in 2015 and From Scotland With Love[76], a film and original score that uses archival footage of Scotland, playing at international film festivals in Argentina and New Zealand, and to be performed in the Edinburgh International Festival in 2015.

6.27 Beyond individual examples, the evaluation found producer capacity in Scotland has been built, and the programme provided a showcase for predominantly Scottish art (in contrast to other high profile cultural programmes in Scotland like the Edinburgh International Festival).

6.28 However, while the evaluation concludes the programme constitutes a step change in how culture sector partners work together in Scotland, and how major event related cultural programmes are conceived and delivered, it is too soon to talk of a step change for the entire Scottish arts and culture sector as a whole, not least because of the range of wider trends and forces that will have an influence over the long term.

Learning and youth leadership

6.29 The evaluation of the official Games related educational programme, Game on Scotland, found evidence of delivery of enhanced learning opportunities and the development of a wide range of well used learning resources related to the Commonwealth[77]. Over 90% of Scottish schools, across all local authorities, took part in the programme.

6.30 Links between schools in Glasgow and in Commonwealth Countries have increased since 2009 through the Connecting Classrooms across the Commonwealth legacy programme. It is possible these national and city education programmes related to the Games have contributed to enhanced learning experiences, in particular around global citizenship.

6.31 Finally, a number of youth leadership programmes were developed as legacy programmes including Young Scot Youth Legacy Ambassadors and sportscotland’s Young Ambassadors. Young Ambassadors in sport is delivered through the Active Schools Programme mentioned in chapter 5, and the target to have two ambassadors for sport in every secondary school in Scotland has been exceeded – there are 1,313 now in Scotland. Their key role is to inspire other young people to participate in sport. A similar initiative in Glasgow, the Sports Leadership Award, has also expanded, from 250 young leaders receiving awards in 2009/10 to 1,303 in 2014/15.


Email: Niamh O’Connor