No more early morning sprint to the school gates to avoid missing the bell this week. Instead families up and down the country can wake up to the sound of bell ringing on Friday morning without having to leave home.
“All the Bells,” is a concept dreamt up by Turner prize-winning artist Martin Creed, to celebrate the start of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. At exactly 8.12am on Friday 27 July bells will be rung as quickly and loudly as possible throughout the country for exactly 3 minutes.
Churches across our region will be participating as will places like Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge who will be holding a special early morning event to mark the occasion, and we’re all invited to join in this bell-ringing marathon. “You can ring your own doorbell – you don’t need to leave home to take part in this!” explains Liz Hughes, Creative Programmer for London 2012 for the East of England. “There’s even a ring tone you can download.”
Why bells? “At key moments the bells in our country have been rung in celebration …it’s a typically British sound, the ringing of church bells in particular, but it’s broadened out to include all different types of bells so whatever bell you’ve got to hand. I know some people from the British Antarctic Survey based in Cambridge will be ringing bells down at Rothera Base on the Antarctic Peninsula, so it’s truly a local and international project touching everyone across the country.”
And this is just one of many community and cultural events taking place this summer as part of the London2012 Festival. Liz, who lives in Cambridge, has spent the past 5 years working on the programme which runs alongside the Games. “The purpose of the festival is to showcase the best of British and world class artists in the largest festival the UK has ever seen” says Liz, with events quite often taking place at the end of your road. “Look out for things wherever you’re going to be!”
Liz’s role has been to work with people “to identify what the opportunity is for them so that when the Games end there’s some meaning and legacy and value left behind. For the Fitzwilliam they’ve used that to explore their connections to a range of communities in Cambridge…for example through their China exhibition with the Chinese community and now they’re looking at how they use other aspects of their collections to work in detail with other communities across Cambridge.”
So what kind of events can we expect?
“In Cambridge we’ve got a number of exhibitions running at the moment,” explains Liz.” At the Fitzwilliam we’ve got the extraordinary Search for Immortality; the Anthropology Museum’s got an exhibition “Unlimited Global Alchemy” between South African artists with HIV working with British artists and there’s a very powerful film accompanying that exhibition. There are going to be celebrations over the summer around the Paralympic Torch - over the bank holiday weekend there are going to be a series of events - and we’ve been working over the years with the Cambridge Film Trust on a number of outdoor screenings and we’ve got a region-wide project “On Landguard Point”which is a film that will be shown at the Picture House on the last day of the Cultural Olympiad which is the 9th September.”
Most of the events are free, the exhibitions are free and all of Cambridgeshire’s museums have been holding events for the holidays recording people’s experiences of the Games.
With such an array of events running this summer, we’ve picked out a few highlights of the festival.
For families keen to get children reading during the holidays, take a trip to your local library and take part in the Summer Reading Challenge which this year has got an Olympic theme.
For film lovers, “Itch of the Golden Nit” (PG) screened at the Arts Picturehouse on 25 August is a not-to-be-missed Tate Movie Project inspired by young people across the UK including some from Cambridgeshire.
For theatre buffs there’s an event at the Junction on 29 September “Devoted and Disgruntled Readshow” which takes the form of a dialogue and is your chance to voice your opinions and influence the future of theatre.
The Paralympic Flame is set to visit all parts of Cambridgeshire this August Bank Holiday with an array of events across our region
The artistically-minded might like to take a trip over the bank holiday weekend to Holkham Beach in Norfolk to see local artist Caroline wright’s project.
For more information on the London2012 Festival follow these links: UK wide, East of England..
To catch up on key events you may have missed, click here.