Lorna Fulton

Lorna Fulton is the Creative Programmer for the Cultural Olympiad in the north east of England.  She has worked in the cultural sector as an artist and programme director and is experienced in working in a wide range of social, cultural and regeneration contexts, including working with young offenders on court orders with the Youth Justice Service to using culture based consultation to develop regeneration programmes of work. Lorna graduated from Sunderland University and Manchester Metropolitan University with a BA (Hons) Fine Art and MA Youth and Community Work.

Lorna was appointed as London 2012 Creative Programmer, North East in October 2007

Lorna, tell us a bit about your role – what it is you do…

As Creative Programmers for the North East, i am the regional representative of the London 2012 Culture team and lead on bringing the Cultural Olympiad to life in the region. Acting as both catalyst and hub, my role aims to galvanise support for the Cultural Olympiad across the North East, creating a pathway for 2012. My role is to drive, nurture, influence and connect programmes.

Many subscribers to the Digest are involved in the education and professional development of cultural practitioners. What would you say has best prepared you for your role as creative programmer?

Over my working life, I have developed a broad understanding of the UK cultural sector and of the relationships and potential connections to other key sectors, managing projects and high profile events, and festivals, particularly those conceived by and delivered in partnership with a range of organisations. Together with a belief in the Olympic and Paralympic movement and the ideals it promotes and how these can be achieved through cultural activities and engagement: these are critical to this role.

If the Cultural Olympiad succeeds in delivering your aspirations with regard to the cultural life of the regions, what will we all remember?

The Games are the largest logistical project in the world in peacetime. Over 200 countries participate in the Olympic Games and it attracts an estimated television audience of 4 billion people worldwide.

That’s two thirds of the world’s population looking into our shop window.

Hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games offers the UK and the region the opportunity of a lifetime to promote and celebrate the richness and diversity of our culture.

In 2012, when hundreds of thousands of visitors arrive in the UK they will be looking for things to do, sights to see and places to stay beyond the world class sport on offer, some will also be looking for places to return to and explore further in future years.

It is the largest cultural celebration in the history of the modern Olympic and Paralympic Games, designed to give everyone in the UK a chance to be part of London 2012.

Inspiring creativity across all forms of culture, especially among young people, the aim is to make a real impact. Its legacy will last well beyond 2012. People will remember the biggest celebration of culture and sport the UK has seen, with unprecedented opportunities to participate.

What kind of opportunities are there for artists to engage between now and 2012?

There are myriad opportunities for artists and the cultural sector to engage in programmes and projects for 2012; from the national projects such as the Shakespeare Festival (for both professional and amateurs) to a short film competition for young people called Film Nation:Shorts, to utilising the network of Big Screens across the UK to coming up with a proposal yourself which fits the Cultural Olympiad themes and values.

In the July issue of the Digest we included a report by Debbi Lander and Richard Crowe on delivering a Cultural Olympiad which posed the challenging question: ‘Will the world think London and the UK is as multi-cultural as we think it is?’

How would you respond to that question?

The Cultural Olympiad aims to be for everybody- all communities from across the UK; throughout 2012 we aim to represent the diversity of the UK. We need to enthuse communities, working with them to sustain work and develop new work and how they best take advantage of the amazing opportunity that the Cultural Olympiad offers.

There’s been quite a lot of negative press about the Cultural Olympiad. What would you like us all to do to get behind the programme and ensure its success?

The Cultural Olympiad is a once in a lifetime opportunity to show the richness and diversity of our arts and cultural life in the UK to an international audience: we need to seize this chance to showcase the best of this right across the UK.

The finale of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad will be a 12-week cultural celebration across the whole of the UK. This once-in-a lifetime curated festival will have a core of commissions with UK cultural partners to exceptional artists from around the world, including the best artists in the UK. We look forward to revealing more details this UK wide cultural celebration for 2012 in the Autumn.