The Aim of my research as a PhD student over the last two and half years has been to examine how the Japanese and Tokyo governments, through sports diplomacy, will use the Olympic Games as a soft power tool. The phrase ‘the Olympic Games as a Weak excuse’ stems from the data collection and coding process of my research to examine the effectiveness of Japans soft power strategy in using the Olympic Games as a soft power tool. The organisation of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games has been an incubator of narratives, an Olympic Games like no other. This is because of the Emergence of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) that led to a global pandemic, resulting in the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. (more…)
For a few months now the summer sun – punctuated with episodes of deluging rain – has provided the backdrop for the continued gradual reopening of our social, sporting and cultural venues. In turn, these developments have presented us with the opportunity to begin returning to social and spaces as audience members, engaging with events in closer proximity with others than has been possible for quite a while.
Navigating the return to a state of near normality has been – and for some continues to be –challenging. If the preceding months have taught us anything, it has perhaps been to ‘expect the unexpected’. Yet, it is also clear that festivals and events of all stripes do not thrive on uncertainty. (more…)
Football is Nothing Without Fans – Matt Busby
Bellshill’s finest football thinker, Matt Busby, predicted the uncanny experience of people watching cultural and sporting events take place in empty spaces during the Covid-19 pandemic.
I’m currently writing a book about theatre in-the-round for Methuen Drama (Bloomsbury) and the pandemic has caused me to re-think my introduction to this monograph entirely. My view is that the recent ‘presence of absence’ of the spectator in live streams from stadia and performance spaces has re-emphasised the value, and therefore the influence of audiences on cultural and sporting organisations. (more…)
The global COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant changes to the way we live our lives and interact with others. This was only too evident with national lockdowns putting an end to all but essential contact in early 2020. Being reliant on social contact and interaction, the global events industry all but ground to a halt and while this dynamic industry is used to evolving and adapting to its external environment, the COVID-19 pandemic presented unprecedented challenges with the postponement or cancellation or live face-to-face events around the world. The impact upon the industry was devastating with businesses closing, workers being made redundant or furloughed, and freelancers facing an uncertain future. The very nature of the industry meant that it was one of the first to close but would be one of the last to reopen – indeed, while we are starting to see a return of some live events throughout the summer of 2021 the ongoing uncertainty surrounding social distancing and concerns about the underwriting of insurance have meant that many iconic events have made the hard decision to cancel for a second year running. (more…)
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdowns, many museums developed and put in place online digital offerings. This prompted quite a lot of handwringing and self-reflection across the sector, as well as for me personally. I immediately felt slightly guilty – what is the point of a museum? Is it really that important? Is it relevant? Who are we for? Why are we here?
Big questions… (more…)