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Newham Olympics Research Project

The research project was conceived as a knowledge transfer scheme to establish a reference base on the Olympic Games, past and present. Sponsored by Newham LA, it began in October 2007 with Dr Mary Smith as its project leader. The project carried out research on past Olympic host cities, paying particular attention to the experiences of the populations in those host cities. The aim was to identify research sources and sites across the field of Olympic, regeneration and policy studies which could be used for dissemination to a varied audience. At this point, various trends were identified and considered with relation to the legacy of London 2012.

The Olympics field is vast: this project acted as a kind of ‘quality control’, a filter to engage with the multitude of sources available on the Olympics, and to make them clearly understandable. The majority of work for the project involved reviewing existing research literature, and other information on the Olympics, such as legacy reports, bids, news reports, academic articles and other relevant documents.

The project's final output is a large report which presents research into the experiences of previous host Olympic cities. It combines research in several thematic areas of Olympic studies with analysis and recommendations designed for consideration by local policy makers and communities. The report is written in a briefing style, and provides added context in separate sections. Find the report here

Particular attention is paid to the dynamics of hosting the Games, and the experiences of host populations in several areas, including housing, employment, sports participation, volunteering and community. This is not an area traditionally researched on by the Olympics studies field, and the project is unique in its focus on local people and the Olympic Games. Here the project’s relevance is in the creation of a critical evidence base that will be invaluable for informing policy, practice and teaching to answer those questions, limiting the costs and maximising the potential benefits of the 2012 Olympics.

Project leader: Dr Mary Smith

Contact: m.k.smith@uel.ac.uk


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