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Artists taking the lead

Artists taking the lead sees 12 visual artists creating spectacular projects across the UK. See more


Unlimited is a project at the heart of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad that celebrates disability, arts, culture and sport on an unprecedented scale. See more

Stories of the World

Stories of the World aims to showcase innovation and excellence in museums, libraries and archives to a worldwide audience. See more

Arts Council England is a principal funder of the Cultural Olympiad and, its culmination, the London 2012 Festival. The Cultural Olympiad is a nationwide programme of the UK's best arts and culture running alongside the Games. With more than 10 million free opportunities to get involved, it is the largest cultural celebration in the history of the Olympic and Paralympic movements.

The Arts Council's investment has enabled artists to innovate and push boundaries on an international stage, collaborate in unprecedented ways and deliver ambitious work to excite and enthral audiences of all ages across the country. This is embodied in our flagship programmes Artists taking the lead, Stories of the World and Unlimited.

With a huge number of local projects and ambitious large-scale performances having taken place across the UK already, 16 million people have taken part in the Cultural Olympiad so far. 

Find out what's happening near you

Visit or download a brochure for your region: EastEast MidlandsNorth EastNorth WestSouth EastSouth WestWest MidlandsYorkshire and Humber.

Browse key projects, latest news and videos

Browse the links below to find out more about key projects and scroll down for latest Cultural Olympiad news and videos.

Artists taking the lead Unlimited Stories of the World Legacy Trust
Paralympic inspirations Our sporting life People's Record  

Video feed

Claire Doherty on the Nowhereisland expedition

About to enter international waters


An Arctic island travels south. Nowhereisland arrived off the coast of Weymouth for the opening of the Olympic sailing events and, was hosted as a visiting island nation. The island made a 500-mile journey around the south west coast. An art project by Alex Hartley, produced by Situations.

Nowhereisland Logbook - Claire Doherty

Logbook entry by Claire Doherty during the Nowhereisland Arctic expedition.

Vidal Sassoon - Nowhereisland Resident Thinker - Trailer

Vidal Sassoon will be Nowhereisland's Resident Thinker for the week beginning 16th October. Join the conversation at

Forward Maisokwadzo - Nowhereisland Resident Thinker

Forward Maisokwadzo, exiled journalist from Zimbabwe, urges the citizens of Nowhereisland to consider the life of the refugee.

Show 14 more videos

Alex Hartley's message to Nowherians on Christmas Day

Alex Hartley, artist leading the Nowhereisland project, speaks to the citizens of Nowhereisland on Christmas Day.

Nowhereisland Animation

This wonderful animation was made by the Magic Hour film club at High View Primary School in Efford, Plymouth.
The group was led by Hana Backland with assistance from Gemma Ward.

Thanks to Take A Part for funding the film.

If you embed or use this video elsewhere please use the following credit:

Film made by Magic Hour, High View Primary School, Plymouth and produced by Take A Part. Commissioned by Situations for Nowhereisland.

Testing the axle

David Willcox testing the axle