photo of one of the pieces being exhibited at the Olympics and Culture exhibition

Olympics and Culture explored through exhibition and symposium project

A major touring exhibition and symposium project explores the theme of Olympics and Culture through sharing histories and legacies, questioning and proposing how they might be relevant to communities and cultures today and in the future.

The research project is part of a successful partnership between Loughborough University and Joshibi University of Art and Design, which has had a successful exchange programme for undergraduate students over the last decade, as well as an interest in exploring cultural research synergies and promoting greater working ties between the UK and Japan.

The project, Olympics and Culture: Tracings, Projections and Intersections, investigates and highlights the creative and cultural capital that can be generated by hosting the Olympic Games.

The exhibition – which runs until 3 August at the Joshibi Art Museum in Kanagawa, Tokyo - comprises art, design and cultural artefacts created by researchers, offering opportunities for the visitor to reflect on the achievements and issues of hosting a major global sporting event.

photo of some of the pieces being shown at the exhibition in Tokyo

The display of works depicts a ‘collective memory’ of the Olympic Games shared across cultures, with researchers engaging in shared dialogues during the construction of works and suggesting how these memories feature in everyday life.

Such memories are communicated across time and space through conventional, social and mass media, and by extension explore how communities are formed and developed through shared memories and re-enactment of creative works.

The objectives of this project are to encourage dialogue, debate and discourse of the following points:

  • The exhibition will act as an internationally inspiring celebration of the major themes of the Olympic movement on the citizens of Tokyo in a cultural capacity
  • The collected artworks will encourage, educate and inspire participation in sport and leisure activities, illustrate healthy choices for lifestyle and promote sport as integral to citizens health and wellbeing
  • The exhibition will create an inspiring and informative backdrop against which to launch, host and develop participatory events for the wider community in Tokyo and London
  • The exhibitors will visualise concepts in ways that are surprising, inspiring, inventive, unexpected and transformative, bringing sport and arts into a symbiotic union
  • The exhibition will encourage the planning of related events such as workshops, seminars and invited lectures, developing social and community participation with the ideals of the Olympic movement.

Andrew Selby, Associate Dean for Enterprise in the School of the Arts, English and Drama and Co-Director of the project explains: “Through the lens of creative practice, the project aims to explore themes as diverse as environmental transformation, sustainable living, health and wellbeing, ecological transportation and sustainable travel choices, economic impact, changes in social mobility through education and urban regeneration.

“This affects the local population in Tokyo but also impacts upon national and international visitors to the Games.”

Professor Alison Yarrington, Dean of the School of Arts, English and Drama commented: “This exhibition and symposium affords the opportunity for researchers from both institutions to consider the economic, political, social and cultural impacts of hosting the Olympic Games.

“Both institutions have an indelible history with the Olympic movement, through actual athletic participation, providing internationally recognised support through professional and academic services, and offering hosting facilities for the welcome and comfort of athletes, administrators and global visitors.‘

The exhibition will return to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park before the start of the 2020 Games, continuing the Olympic legacy and promoting the research findings to the public using novel exhibition spaces, a planned trail experience and symposium.

Joshibi Art Museum also plays host to the Olympics and Culture symposium on 25 July, where Professor Paul Wells and Dr David Howe will present papers examining cultural and social legacy of the Arts in the Olympic Games.

A catalogue has been published to showcase exhibition works, practice-based research processes and a timeline of the two institutions close involvement with the Olympics movement.