Jo Morrison, Digital Projects Director at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, looks at how her colleagues have incorporated art, design and creativity into London 2012 and keeps her fingers crossed for tickets to watch their work in action.
It was a fabulous moment when Caroline, who heads up the jewellery design course at Central Saint Martins, hurried in waving that morning’s London Metro newspaper. The open page showed a picture of the beautiful London 2012 Paralympic Medals being held aloft by our colleague Lin Cheung. Lin had been sworn to secrecy by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) not to reveal her designs until they were officially launched at the British Museum the previous night. How she had managed to keep her silence over such a prestigious commission was incredible; but the medals she designed are now on display at the museum for everyone to appreciate.
This news was just in time for the fourth and final “2012 staff gathering” at the University of the Arts London (UAL). Sir John Tusa, Chairman of Governors, hosted the afternoon that brought together people from across the university to learn about the myriad ways in which our community is engaged in the creative and cultural aspects of London 2012. The UAL comprises six colleges: Central Saint Martins (CSM); London College of Communication (LCC); London College of Fashion (LCF); and Chelsea, Camberwell, and Wimbledon Colleges of Art and Design (CCW) – all of which are involved in stellar Olympics activities.
To launch the event, the Arts Council England presented their Vision 2012 programme, which includes the major disability arts project Unlimited. Alex Bulmer, one of our recent MA Screenwriting graduates, has been commissioned to write two plays for the Unlimited programme as part of London’s Olympic and Paralympic Games. ‘Breathe’ will be part of the Opening Ceremony, and ‘The Garden’ will be performed at London’s Southbank during the Games. LOCOG then spoke of the ways in which they are hoping to attract students to volunteer for many roles at the Games, and CSM alumnus Martin Richman gave a beguiling and intimate presentation about the surface designs he has created for bridges and underpasses at the Olympic Park.
A unique opportunity, and one that I would relish, has been developed by CCW’s Professor Stephen Farthing – it is the Rootstein Hopkins Doctoral Bursary in the Role of Drawing in the Olympic Games. A PhD student will be part of a team looking at anything that might be called ‘a drawing’ that was created as part of the planning process for London 2012. For instance, the research will take a journey through architecture and the logistics of security and transport, to the detailing of athlete’s kit, and the design of the stadia. The deadline for applications is 31 October 2011 so there’s still time to apply!
In a previous article I highlighted the amazing contribution that the university’s alumni are making to many creative and cultural elements of the Games. Along with the iconic work undertaken by Anish Kapoor, Stella McCartney, David Hillman, and others, graduates are also undertaking community arts projects based in London boroughs. LCC alumnus Lorenzo Belenguer recently celebrated the launch of ‘Testimonies’ at the BAR Gallery in Willesden Green. The exhibition focuses on the stories of Brent residents, young and old, and their engagement with both the 1948 London Olympic Games and the forthcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games. Belenguer hopes that the stories will eventually be broadcast at the Olympic Park. A second LCC graduate, photographer Matt Thompson, is involved with the exhibition Taking Part – he is one of 12 photographers documenting 48 sport and leisure groups within Waltham Forest. It’s heartening to see that the UAL’s alumni are involved in such a range of meaningful and inspiring activities connected to London 2012.
At the moment, those of us who have applied for tickets to attend the Paralympic Games are finding out if our applications have been successful. I have my fingers crossed that I shall be lucky, because as well as seeing terrific competitions, I shall see Lin’s gorgeous medals being awarded to the winning athletes!