Some questions about Olympic protests

On Friday, there December 11, I delivered a lecture to Alan McCusker-Thompson‘s 3rd year students undertaking a BA in Commercial Music at UWS in Ayr. The module in which this lecture was included focuses on Popular Culture and Music. My talk therefore had to show how the internet and Web 2.0 in particular has enabled, through open sourcing etc, the democratisation of cultural construction.

I chose to concentrate in the presentation on the development of web and its influence on a)distribution of music and b) communication of established and emerging artists. I chose two case studies as a pretext for debate about how the web and its feature is currently used by artists to promote their work.

More than 40 students have attended the talk and judging from their questions and reactions, they have enjoyed the presentation but also found it intriguing and thought-challenging.

The slides are below:

[slideshare id=2709145&doc=uwsmusic2-0-091213084413-phpapp02]
A guest lecture for 2009 at UWS

Today I have delivered my last guest lecture for 2009 and nicely enough it was at my home university, viagra order
UWS. I went to our campus in Hamilton and joined for one hour a group of 3rd year students following a Sports Marketing course. The course is offered to students undertaking either one of the following degrees: BA (Hons) in Sport Development, misbirth
BSc (Hons) in Sport Coaching and BA in Sport Management.

I found the preparation for this talk to be the most challenging not because I am not aware of olympic marketing mechanisms but because the time I was given was too short for such a wide topic. However, sick
I decided to prepare a powerpoint that covered in writing more than I could speak in an hour. As I upload all my slides from lectures that I give, I thought this might help students understand better the subject.

As usual, I have enjoyed the experience of delivering a lecture to students from my own university and I have appreciated their questions.

All the thanks go to Scott Barclay for having invited me today!

[slideshare id=2716124&doc=uwsolympicmarketingweb-091214110014-phpapp01]
The 14 students who took the New Media class at Katho this semester have submitted their evaluations. It is heartwarming, patient exhilarating and very motivating to receive evaluations that range from good to excellent! Moreover, case
it shows that expanding the course from one week to two has benefited the students. Some of them have indicated that they learned much more by actively using new media such as posting their in-classroom assignments and exercises on Posterous, WordPress and  on this Wiki space. Additionally, the live video guest lecture was well received – as an alternative method of delivery and not only – . Finally, the company visit at Netlog in Gent was again inspiring.

The evaluation report is below. Thank you Katho and thank you to my students!

[slideshare id=2731420&doc=kathonewmediacourseevaluationdec09-091216104248-phpapp01&type=d]
A visit to the Olympic Park

This Monday (January 18, advice 2010) I’ve been to London to apply for the Canadian visa that would enable me to go to the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. My friend and PhD colleague, Jennifer Jones, decided to join me for the day so we’ve agreed to spend our afternoon around the future London 2012 Olympic area, observing the development of East London, discussing changes from our last visits to the city and imagining how things would look in two years time from now on.

The discovery

In order to reach the Olympic area, we have decided to use public transportation for two reasons: it is the cheapest way around London (except for maybe walking when distances permit it) and it is a means highly recommended to use during the actual time of the Games, when streets tend to me busy, crowded and often jammed otherwise. However, instead of taking the rather direct route from the centre of London to Stratford, which would have left us off just where the Olympic stadium is now being built, we chose to get off to Bromley-by-Bow, a station that to us looked to be in walking distance to the future Olympic venues.

Our half-day exploration was revelatory in the sense that we saw the border of the regeneration project planned for East London and we walked along the border of the future Olympic area with the East London as it used to be. From a distance, signs of improvement were easily noticeable: council estates newly painted, new and modern buildings at different stages of construction rising invigorating the grey landscape. Also bigger advertising outdoor banners were also to be seen as well as a big number of cranes working tirelessly. However, immediately upon leaving the Bromley-by-Bow underground station it was not the colourful buildings that caught our eye but rather the busy motorway, the industrial suburban look and the lack of a close and easy connection with the future Olympic stadium. It took us quite a while to find a safe place to cross but once we found it we also encountered the first sign of a community reaction (or at least that what we’ve considered it to be) in the form of printed poster announcing closed lanes and indicating (using A0 size printed and laminated Google Satellite Maps) alternative routes to reach the Olympic venues.

Entering Pudding Mill Lane, we left behind a mixt landscape for a territory clearly marked as belonging to the Olympics. The streets were brand new, a Porche shop was just at the corner of the street where brand new luxury apartment buildings were rising on both sides. From behind branded walls sounds of construction work were filling the air. In places, electric wire fences were protecting and revealing the areas where works to the connecting routes from the motorway were continuing. A particularly interesting sight was offered to us by the welcoming signs for the workers which were advising them to stay safe. The Olympic Park thus, as accessed from an indirect route, looked like an area where visitors were not particularly expected, where locals have accepted the ongoing works and where security was highly valued.

The thoughts

Seen from the outside, there is still little so far to hint into how East London will look in two years time. However, the hints reveal a promising landscape with vibrant architecture, clean designs, and memorable images. Right now there is a visible contrast between the old and the new but the hopes, I believe, are that the new will, in time, enhance change and enable further beautification projects in the entire area. These, in time, will lead to an aesthetically coherent and cohesive neighbourhood and to a renewed and rejuvenated community, more connected to its space through its space.

Barcelona and its Olympic Port, which I have visited last year, stand as witness that both coherent looks and renewed communities around former Olympic venues can be Olympic legacies. There, a beautiful neighbourhood emerged in the place where the Olympic Village once stood. It is only for the Olympic passionate that the streets and parks in the area could still tell a story about the Games. Otherwise, for the regular visitor, the Olympic Port in Barcelona provides a memorable experience in a part of town with a more recent history of change.

But such results as those now visible in Barcelona can be achieved only with the collaboration of the people that choose to live in the former Olympic areas and with a continued support that goes into continuing the regeneration projects started for the Olympics. The path for change has been already created and the potential for change is high however it needs collaboration, participation and engagement from that same community the London 2012 Games experience is supposed to rejuvenate.

The East London we left behind and kept contemplating while comfortably sitting in the over-the-ground train to Canary Wharf looked homely, exciting and welcoming> It also provides less of a contrast than the images we’ve seen from Bromley-by-Bow. The stadium too, said to have a demountable lightweight steep and concrete upper tier aimed at reduced its size after the games, blended better with the curves of its surroundings while all the other works going on were hardly noticeable.

In terms of Olympic construction and development, two years might seem a little but the changes they can bring are enormous. Every Olympic host promises something new, but unlike the grandeur of Beijing I for one have witnessed and have been impressed by in 2008, London promises to offer what Barcelona did in 1992: a breath of fresh air, an opportunity for rejuvenation and for reinvention.
With less than a month until the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics are scheduled to start, erectile
voices of dissent are being heard more and more loudly these days. Just in the past couple of days, cure as the torch makes slowly its way to the Olympic site, reports of protesters welcoming it side by side with Olympic supporters and fan made headlines both online and offline.

Last week for example, the torch is said to have been effectively blocked in several First Nation territories while in others it was met by a line-up of aboriginals bearing signs in the memory of the hundreds of murdered or missing aboriginal women. On the other hand, other First Nations representatives like former head, Phil Fontaine, carried the torch without facing disruptions. Recently Reuters Canada reported on talks about convergent efforts of Olympic opposition to meet in Vancouver during Games time. While Reuters quoted a medical researcher at the University of British Columbia and a member of the Olympic Resistance Network, a coalition of activist groups, News1130 has published the program of another activist coalition aiming to organize no less than seven protests, including during the Games….

MORE (the complete post is to be found on AA and JJ in Vancouver 2010 Posterous blog)


  1. It is truly unfortunate that you fail to see the good the Olympics does for Canada and other host countries. Never have I been prouder to be a Canadian than when I watched the opening ceremonies from Vancouver this evening. You should be too.

    Look at the numbers, your views are not shared by the majority of people for a good reason. They are misguided.

    If you must wave something around outside the Olympics, drop your placards and pick up a Canadian flag!!

    • Ken,
      Thanks for leaving your comment. However, I do not know to what numbers you refer that I got wrong as this post makes no reference to numbers other than mentioning years of previous Games editions. Moreover, I didn’t make any negative reference to Vancouver. What I questioned was media’s portrayal of the protests of Vancouver in comparison to those of Beijing and the “novelty”, if there is one, of the Vancouver protests in an Olympic context. Also, please note that the original post was published on January 14. You can read it in its entirety here:

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