Skip to main content Skip to site map (in footer)

London 2012 Open Weekend inspired the south east to ‘challenge yourself’ in 2010

  • Date: 28 September 2010
  • Artform: None
  • Area: South East
blindfolded people being led on a guided walk Four Senses walk, ArtSway, Open Weekend, 2010, Photograph: Emma Purchase

Artists and arts organisations across the south east were busy this summer during London 2012's third Open Weekend, a series of sporting, arts and cultural challenges that took place across the UK from Friday 23 to Sunday 25 July 2010.

Organisations created opportunities for people to set a new personal best by trying something for the first time or taking an existing interest to the next level. A total of 153 organisations in the south east registered to take part.

Open Weekend is a just one way that people across the UK can get involved in the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad - the largest cultural celebration in the history of the modern Olympic and Paralympic Movements. Spread over four years, the Olympiad is designed to give everyone in the UK a chance to be part of London 2012 and inspire creativity across all forms of culture, especially among young people.

The London 2012 Cultural Olympiad  is funded through a National Lottery grant of £15.6 million from the Olympic Lottery Distributor, Legacy Trust UK and Arts Council England. British Council will commit £3 million to the international development of London 2012 Cultural Olympiad projects. Commercial partners include BP, BT and Panasonic.

Over the past three years 500,000 people in the south east have attended Open Weekend events.

This year, challenges ranged across the arts and sports and included a Sing a-long Mamma Mia; getting down to Shakespeare; being part of a public artwork; and being a break dancer, belly dancer, street dancer and ballroom dancer in one day.

'Open Weekend is a terrific opportunity for people to get involved in London 2012,' said Caterina Loriggio, 2012 Creative Programmer.

'The south east has always delivered a fabulous programme and this year the quality of events was much higher, resulting in 12 Inspire Marks. Our local authority partners did an excellent job of delivering programmes across districts and counties and four of our universities also joined in.

'I had a great weekend dashing round the region seeing as much as I could. If you missed out, don't make the same mistake next year!'

Here's a snapshot of some of the exciting events that have been taking places around the south east.

Milton Keynes

Carnival arts organisation Festive Road challenged the public to find out how many people it takes to bring a giant Musical Kettle to the boil in Brewing Up-Bringing the Kettle to the Boil.

On 23 July, they had a giant tea party outside Midsummer Place, in the midst of IF: Milton Keynes International Festival 2010. The tea party was complete with a giant Musical Kettle, a performing tea set and 30 young musicians from street bands across the south east.

The public were invited to make music and drink tea, while performers and musicians helped participants collectively 'let off steam!'

Brewing Up was a Carnival Network South East project.


Arts Council England regularly funded organisation South East Dance challenged the public to dance non-stop for 12 hours in 12 different dance styles in a sponsored Dance-a-thon. On 24 July, from 9am to 9pm, they ran 12 hours of dance classes for beginners and experienced dancers to participate in styles such as bollywood, tango, salsa, samba, yoga, and capoeira.

The Dance-a-thon raised money for Moving Voices, South East Dance's flagship dance-related volunteering programme for young people, run by young people. Moving Voices helps young people make their dance ideas happen in their local neighbourhood.


Arts Council England regularly funded organisation ArtSway challenged the public to explore the smells and sounds of Sway and the New Forest in Four Senses. On Saturday 24 July, participants were blindfolded and led by artist Emilia Telese, south east regional Arts Council member, on a New Forest's flora and fauna walk. Ornithologists, perfumers, and food and plants experts helped participants understand what they could smell, hear, taste and touch.

Four Senses was part of Discovering Places Launch Weekend, one of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad programmes.


Arts Council England regularly funded organisation Farnham Maltings challenged the public to keep their hula hoop up in Theatre Meadows, a three-day professional theatre and circus festival programmed and organised entirely by Waverley young people (aged 14-26). From 23 to 25 July, the circus themed festival hosted performances, workshops and market stalls under a big top tent.

Theatre Meadows received the Inspire Mark, a part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad that recognises projects and organisations that give young people an opportunity to take part in sport participation, education, sustainability, volunteering, and business opportunities and skills. 


University of Portsmouth's Creative Campus Initiative project challenged the public to take part in a new UK-wide temporary public artwork called Field of flags - Dysarticulate. The Inspire marked project was led by artist Jon Adams, south east regional Arts Council member, with the aim of creating tens of thousands of recycled 'flags' to be placed in various places around the country.

From 23 to 25 July, the public were invited to create their flags from old books, bamboo skewers, and PVA Glue and decorate the ground with flag designs on the beach, hillside or village green, window boxes, urban gardens or parks. The most unusual, creative, largest or most inspiring flags will be shown on BBC Big Screens in September and October.

The flag fields are meant to inspire further expression, and participants were encouraged to preserve their fields on Google map, websites, blogs, or through story, poetry, music, song, photography or film.

Dysarticulate encourages people to think about disability, human fragility and the nature of public art.

For more information about Open Weekend and the projects that took place this year, go to

If you would like to get involved in next year's Open Weekend from 22-24 July 2011, stay tuned to the Open Weekend site