Cultural Olympiad / News / Sun 14 Sep 2008

The Cultural Olympiad - the story so far (South West Region)

The Cultural Olympiad - the story so far (South West Region)


The Cultural Olympiad in the South West

A summary of the journey to date...

Document One: Open Skies (November 2007)

Document Two: The Extraordinary Mile (April 2008)

Document Three: Quest (September 2008)



Initial guidance on the Cultural Olympiad in the South West of England



1. What is the Cultural Olympiad?

2. When will it happen?

3. Why is the Olympiad important?

4. When will detailed criteria be available?

5. What might the Cultural Olympiad look like?

6. How will the Olympiad be funded?

7. How will you recognise the Olympiad programme?

8. Branding: a warning

9. What happens next?

10. How do I engage with the Cultural Olympiad?

Values & Themes – from top to bottom:



The Cultural programme is one of five themes or “flames” that are being progressed by Team South West, the team responsible for delivery of the Olympic Games in the region, via the South West England Legacy Strategy.

Each “flame” concentrates on maximising the impact of, and benefits from hosting the London 2012 Olympic Games in the South West region in the following five areas:

Business Development
Toursim and regional image
Sporting opportunity
Cultural celebration
Community engagement
These are very obviously cross-cutting themes and culture will have a role to play in all of them.

Copies of the complete strategy can be obtained from the Team by contacting Deborah Bertram at

1. What is the Cultural Olympiad?

The Olympics and the Paralympics are not just about sport.

The original vision of Pierre de Coubertin, the man responsible for reviving the Olympic ideal in the late nineteenth century, sought to realise the marriage of sport and the arts.

An arena in which everyone, whatever their talent or skill, is given the opportunity to strive for excellence.

The charter of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) stipulates that the host nation must “organise a programme of cultural events” that should:

promote harmonious relations, mutual understanding and friendship among the participants and others attending the Olympic Games;

highlight the shared values of sport and the arts in terms of excellence, endeavour and achievement;
promote the arts and culture of the host city and host nation while embracing an international cultural dimension; and

provide a dynamic and high profile context for promoting Olympism and the Olympic Games.

When London won the bid to host the 2012 Olympics this is exactly what was promised – a Games for everyone. A Games where everyone is invited to take part and get involved, not just athletes and spectators and not just people living in or around London.

This is to be a Games which will benefit the whole of the UK.

2. When will it happen?

It is important to distinguish between Handover celebrations which will take place on the closing days of the Olympic Games, August 24th 2008, and Paralympic Games, September 17th 2008. These one-off events will celebrate London’s role as the Olympic City and the UK as host nation for the four years 2008 - 2012

The Olympiad, an ongoing celebration of the richness and diversity of the UK’s culture will be launched in September 2008 and, through its planned legacy, has the potential to continue to change the lives of a generation long after 2012…

The Olympiad is not simply for the six weeks of the Games.

3. Why is the Olympiad important?

The moment the Olympic flag is passed to the Mayor of London at the conclusion of the Beijing Games, London becomes the Olympic city and the eyes of the world will turn on the UK.

The Olympics is the largest logistical project in the world. Over 200 countries participate in the Games and it attracts an estimated television audience of 4 billion people worldwide.

That’s two thirds of the world’s population looking into our shop window

Hosting the Olympics offers the UK and the region the opportunity of a lifetime to promote and celebrate the richness and diversity of our culture.

In 2012, when hundreds of thousands of visitors arrive in the UK (an estimated 100,000 will descend on Weymouth alone for the Olympic sailing events), they will be looking for things to do, sights to see and places to stay beyond the world class sport on offer.

Some will also be looking for places to return to and explore further in future years.

Others will be looking to us for inspiration and will want to invest in our innovative ideas and skills.

But it’s also an opportunity for the country as a whole to invest in its culture:

challenging what we do and how we do it;
creating new partnerships and finding new ways of working together;
working across regional boundaries, across sectors and on a larger scale; and
ensuring what we do is fit to be seen by the eyes of the World.

The Cultural Olympiad also represents an opportunity to engage with young people and raise the skills and aspirations of a generation.

4. When will detailed criteria be available?

Detailed criteria and protocol will be published early in 2008.

This is to give the regions and nations time to input their ideas and plans to the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG), ensuring these really will be a Games for the whole of the UK.

However, we already have a list of values and themes the Olympiad will need to reflect and support. These are to:

Celebrate London and the whole of the UK welcoming the world

Inspire and involve young people

Generate a positive legacy

bring together culture and sport;

encourage audiences to take part;

animate and humanise public spaces – through street theatre, public art, circus skills, live big screen sites;

use culture and sport to raise issues of environmental sustainability, health and wellbeing;

honour and share the values of the Olympic and Paralympic Games;

ignite cutting edge collaborations and innovation between communities and cultural sectors; and

enhance the learning, skills and personal development of young people by linking with our education programmes.

These themes have emerged at national level from discussions with the cultural sector.

It is expected that every project in the Cultural Olympiad will have to address the three core values (in bold) and at least three of the themes.

Projects are also likely to have an impact at regional or, at least, sub-regional level and to be developed and delivered by multiple partners.

5. What might the Cultural Olympiad look like?

The Olympiad will operate on a number of different levels.

At the top level there will be a series of high profile ceremonies, among them the opening and closing ceremonies of both the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Second there will be a UK-wide programme of work delivered throughout the nations and regions by one or other of the national cultural agencies (for example the Arts Council of England, the UK Film Council or the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council or their equivalents in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales).

Examples of this programme include:

Artists Taking the Lead - a major artists’ commission in each nation and region led by the Arts Council of England
Film & Video Nation- a national record of the years leading up to the Olympic Games led by the UK Film Council
International Exhibitions Programme – telling the stories of the world through redefining international collections held in the UK led by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council.

While parts of these programmes will be delivered in the regions, there will also be a third level of work distinct to each region and nation.

In the South West of England, there are significant programmes of work already in development and a number of milestone events that may help to shape that third level programme.

These might include:

2009 – Darwin 200 – a national celebration of the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth with a regional focus in Plymouth and Falmouth (the start and finishing points, respectively, of the voyage of the Beagle)

2010 – RESCUE 2010, the Surf Lifesaving World Championships and associated cultural programme, hosted by Newquay in Cornwall

2012 – Jurassic Coast Earth Festival, interpreting and celebrating the 168 natural World Heritage Sites[1]

However, it is more likely that we will use the Olympiad programme to add value to projects, developing particular strands that might not happen otherwise, rather than simply re-branding existing or planned projects under the Olympiad banner.

So, for example, the Darwin 200 initiative would have to develop a special project that addresses the Olympiad themes to qualify for inclusion.

Finding the common strands between projects planned across the region would give the Olympiad a strong regional focus and flavour. These strands might include:

Celebration – to include carnival arts, festival, circus skills, Live Sites, public art and open air performance
Routes – the rights of way, cycle networks, droves and rivers that link our coastline to our diverse landscape, heritage and communities
Information– to include interpretation, documentation and the creation of web sites and archives (to include increasing the availability of information in different formats and languages)

Each of these strands would have skills/learning, disability and a focus on young people embedded in them.

6. How will the Olympiad be funded?

Funding is likely to come from a combination of different sources that may include the Lottery Distributors (Arts Council England, South West; the Heritage Lottery Fund; the Big Lottery and Sport England), Local Authorities and commercial sponsorship.

It is also likely, particularly in pursuit of the aim of International Friendship, that a bid or bids for European funding will be made or brokered.

The Legacy Trust UK has made an allocation of money to each region or nation to run an over-arching strategic project as part of the region-wide Olympiad programme over the next five years (2008-2012).

An advisory group, representing the major cultural stakeholders in the region, will be looking to identify suitable projects for this funding over the next six months. The selected project will be expected to meet the following themes of the legacy Trust:

1. fit at least one of the three key themes of Sport & Wellbeing, Knowledge& Learning or Arts & Culture: we will welcome projects which encourage a joined-up approach across sport, education, arts and culture.

2. be highly visible and wide-reaching: we want to offer diverse communities across the UK the chance to take part in cultural, educational, and sporting activities in the build up to 2012 Games.

3. be distinctive, new or innovative: we will encourage new ideas, approaches and collaborations and exemplar projects

4. offer a coherent programme of high quality activities with clearly defined outcomes

5. able to demonstrate a lasting legacy by making a sustained difference to the community

6. enjoy public support and demonstrate community engagement

7. maximise the number of beneficiaries or participants by keeping overheads low and making best use of existing community resources and facilities

8. be accessible to all and foster community inclusion by encouraging active citizenship and greater participation in community life

9. encourage the development of participants which will help build their personal capacity, thereby helping them to achieve their potential

10. be able to lever significant resources: we will look to support projects which can expand their reach and impact

11. be not for profit and revenue projects (although under the Trust Deed some capital expenditure may be considered for cultural projects at the discretion of the Trustee).

7. How will you recognise the Olympiad programme?

All projects included in the Olympiad programme will carry a common brand, the Inspired mark, which will relate to the now familiar London 2012 brand.

All projects carrying the brand will have been given express permission to do so by LOCOG and the IOC (International Olympic Committee).

Clearly no event or programme of activity will be able to carry the brand before the launch of the Olympiad in Autumn 2008.

8. Branding: a warning

The London 2012 and all Olympic brands (e.g: the five coloured Olympic rings) and all Olympic-associated words and wording (e.g: Olympic Games; Olympiad; London 2012) are trademarks protected by the law.

Any project, event or conference, organisation or job title, however large or small, that wants to associate itself with the Olympic or Paralympic Games or with the Cultural Olympiad via use of any of these brands or words should go to for guidance and advice.

If in any doubt consult the 2012 Creative Programmer (SW).

9. What happens next?

Now that the 2012 Creative Programmer (SW) is in place and has met with the major stakeholders in the cultural sector in the region, as well as the LOCOG team and other Creative Programmers from the regions and nations, the next steps for the South West are to:

Carry out an audit of venues and agencies that might participate in staging or delivering elements of the Olympiad programme.
Publish full guidelines and protocol for engagement with the Cultural Olympiad with LOCOG in early 2008.
Guide and inform the work towards identifying potential programmes of work that might be funded by the Legacy Trust UK and/or populate the Cultural Olympiad programme in the region. By the end of June 2008.
10. How do I engage with the Cultural Olympiad?

The first point of contact and information on the Cultural Olympiad in the South West is Richard Crowe, the London 2012 Creative Programmer (SW), who is based in and managed by Culture South West.

If you want to receive future updates about the Cultural Olympiad in the region please e-mail Richard giving your explicit permission for your information to be included on a database for this purpose (we will not share your details with other organisations or send you information about other initiatives unless you have already requested these through a previous communication).

If you have an idea for a project that you would like to nominate for inclusion within the Cultural Olympiad programme and have checked its eligibility against the information available in this document, please contact Richard by e-mail with a brief outline of your proposal.

However you may be better advised to wait until early 2008 when detailed criteria for inclusion in the programme will be available.

Richard is anticipating a high volume of e-mail enquiries in the first instance. So please be patient, he will reply to all communications in time.

Contact details for Richard Crowe:

Culture South West

Sterling House

Dix’s Field

Exeter EX1 1QA



What is culture?

The government defines culture as a combination of all the processes involved in creating, presenting, understanding and learning about seven activity areas[2]:

· the visual arts (including 2 and 3D work, public art, graphic design, textiles, fashion, ceramics, wood and stone carving, metal work and photography)

· the performing arts (including dance, drama, musical performance, physical theatre, storytelling, street arts, carnival arts, festivals, puppeteers, performance poetry and circus)

· audio-visual presentation (including the making, recording and editing of animations, games, websites, film and music)

· books and press (including libraries, poetry and prose)

· sport and health (including Olympic and non-Olympic sports, extreme sports, rural and urban trails and walks, cycle networks and the rights of way network)

· heritage (including museums and archives, the built and natural heritage/environment, landscapes, coast and parks and gardens)

· tourism (including food and drink, attractions, slow tourism initiatives, cultural tourism, accommodation and hospitality services)

Values & Themes – from top to bottom:

i. The International Olympic Committee

the Cultural Olympiad should:

promote harmonious relations, mutual understanding and friendship among participants and others attending the Olympic Games
highlight the shared values of sport and the arts in terms of excellence, endeavour and achievement
promote the arts and culture of the host city and nation while embracing an international cultural dimension
provide a dynamic and high profile context for promoting Olympism and the Olympic Games

ii. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)

Our mission for 2012 is to inspire people to get involved, try new activities and change the way they live their lives. We want to motivate people in the UK, especially young people, to take part in new activities, learn new skills and discover new links with people around us, whether they lives across the street or on the other side of the globe.

If everyone joins in and takes part, we can make the following happen:

Make the UK a world-leading sporting nation
Transform the heart of East London
Inspire a generation of young people to take part in local volunteering, cultural and physical activity
Make the Olympic Park a blueprint for sustainable living
Demonstrate the UK is a creative, inclusive and welcoming place to live in, visit and for business[3]

iii. The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG)


Inspire and involve the widest range of London and UK-wide communities
Generate sustainable long-term benefits to our cultural life
Create outstanding moments of creative excellence across the full range of performing arts and creative industries
Connect future generations with the UK’s artistic communities and with their peers around the world
Promote contemporary London as a major world cultural capital
Drive tourism and inward investment and use the creative industries to boost economic regeneration; and
Embrace the Olympic movement values of excellence, respect and friendship and the Paralympic movement vision to “empower, achieve, inspire”

Celebrate London and the whole UK welcoming the world – our unique internationalism, cultural diversirt, sharing and understanding

Inspire and involve young people

Generate a positive legacy (for example through cultural and sports participation, ausience development, cultural skills, capacity building, urban regneration, tourism and social cohesion, international linkages)


bring together culture and sport;

encourage audiences to take part;

animate and humanise public spaces – through street theatre, public art, circus skills, live big screen sites;

use culture and sport to raise issues of environmental sustainability, health and wellbeing;

honour and share the values of the Olympic and Paralympic Games;

ignite cutting edge collaborations and innovation between communities and cultural sectors; and

enhance the learning, skills and personal development of young people by linking with our education programmes[4]

iv. Team South West

The Cultural Olympiad is a unique opportunity to:

· Use culture to promote the Olympic and Paralympic spirit and values of fair play, peace and friendship

· Encourage people to participate in cultural activities and get involved in volunteering

· Showcase the South West’s creative talents and cultural assets (people and places) to worldwide audiences by playing a leading role in the major national elements of the Cultural Olympiad, in particular the opening and closing ceremonies, team welcome ceremonies, Olympic and Paralympic youth camps and the UK Torch Relay

· Deliver an inspiring cultural programme celebrating all that is best about the South West

· Develop new creative cultural collaborations and sustainable relationships between culture, sport and education as a legacy that will last beyond the Games

· Capture the memories of the London 2012 Games cultural programme for future generations

· Celebrate inter-culturalism

· Make the young people of our region central in formulating, developing and delivering the cultural programme

Under a themed strand or strands, there will be a concentration on the themes of:

· Inspiring and involving young people

· Generating a positive legacy; and

· Trying something new

Richard Crowe

London 2012 Creative Programmer, SW

November 2007


THE EXTRAORDINARY MILE Guidelines for Engagement

If you have a project proposal you want to put forward for inclusion in the Cultural Olympiad programme, please read these guidelines carefully and then send a short, written description of your project to me at:

Please note: this is a preliminary process, not a detailed application for funding. Please keep this short and sweet. No more than 4 sides A4 in total, absolute maximum. These questions should act as a prompt to help you think through your project. They are not designed as “hoops” to jump through. At this stage, as with any other project idea you will work on, there is no money to help you develop your ideas, so don’t invest too much unpaid time at this point.

1. Project Description: No more than one side of A4 on the vision of your project. Key questions you should answer here are:

What is it?
Why are you doing it?
When will you do it?
What are the anticipated outcomes?
Keep this lively and creative. This is probably your only chance – in an otherwise pretty dry process – to communicate your passion and inspiration.

Don’t go over the top on the superlatives, however, as you will need to get this down to 300 words by the time you come to apply for the Inspired By mark, the brand you will need to get to associate your project with the Cultural Olympiad.

2. The Budget and Funding Sources: Key questions you should answer here are:

How much will it cost?
Where have you thought, or started to look for funding?
Has any funding been committed yet?
Who are your partners in the project and are they committing any money to it?
If this is a three/four year programme of work, it’s going to have to be broken down into individual years as the Inspire Mark can only be awarded for a 12 month period (after which it has to be re-applied for).

When it comes to applying for funds, bear in mind that funders will want to see yours, your partners’ and your stakeholders’ commitment to the project. So ensure you have some match funding in place. Remember that every little helps to oil the wheels and “nothing will come of nothing”.

3. Project delivery and marketing: Key questions you should answer here are:

What mechanisms will you put in place to deliver your project on the ground?
Does your organisation have the capacity to do this or will you be using other partners/stakeholders to do this?
Who is the target audience/s for your project?
How will you reach them

4. Regional Programme: the Key question you should answer here is:

How does your project/programme fit into the Regional Programme (outlined below)?
Title: The Extraordinary Mile

A series of Extraordinary Journeys through the unique environment of the South West and beyond in search of:

· Extraordinary People: explorations of who we are, identity and diversity; traditions and innovation; celebrations of the South West’s heroes from the past (Darwin, Drake and Thomas Hardy) and present (Tom Daly and our Paralympians); the ways in which we welcome the world to our region and the provision of appropriate skills to ensure the future health of our creative industries and tourism

· Extraordinary Places: from Stonehenge, Glastonbury and Bath, to Portland, Holton Lee and Eden, the South West is full of iconic places, structures and milestones; the Olympiad gives us the opportunity to reassess their significance, the stories and myths that surround them, and the ways in which we present and interpret them today

· Extraordinary Spaces: journeys that make connections between our urban and rural communities and from the coast into the landscape; explorations of how we animate and humanise public spaces (from town squares and housing estates to public rights of way, our National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty)

· Extraordinary Events: and experiences that mark moments, celebrate the environment and raise the bar in terms of quality and levels of access, participation and aspiration

Extraordinary Challenges: creative responses to, and subversion of the paradoxes and difficulties that often surround the Games, from the potential conflicts between competition and collaboration, to perceptions of the body beautiful and the relationships between sport, culture and politics
Underpinned by an Extraordinary Commitment to minimising the carbon footprint of every project we present. Taking our lead from the power of the wind at Weymouth, a commitment to making journeys on foot, by water or by bicycle; encouraging audiences to do the same and Local Authorities, public transport providers and politicians to increase the opportunities for doing this

5. National Priorities: the key questions you should answer here are:

· How does your project address all three of the 2012 Values?

Welcoming the world*

Inspiring young people

Delivering a legacy

*this is the one where you may need to be creative. Think about the image we project to the world as a region; diversity in its widest sense of the word and how this is represented in your project; any international links you might foster; cultural exchanges or how the area in which you are working has links with other parts of the world (e.g: through mining; exploration; archaeology; town twinning; ports and gateways etc)

· How does it help to deliver at least three of the 2012 Themes:

bring together culture and sport;

encourage audiences to take part;

animate and humanise public spaces – through street theatre, public art, circus skills, live big screen sites;

use culture and sport to raise issues of environmental sustainability, health and wellbeing;

honour and share the values of the Olympic and Paralympic Games;

ignite cutting edge collaborations and innovation between communities and cultural sectors; and

enhance the learning, skills and personal development of young people by linking with our education programmes.

in what way your project is “excellent” (ie: goes the extra mile or raises the bar for you or your organisation, other individuals or the region)? and

how it is inspired by London 2012?

6. What can I do for you?

On the basis of the above, I should be able to give you a pretty succinct answer as to whether:

· This is a project we are likely to include in the Olympiad programme

· It’s a project that needs more work and shaping before it can go forward

· It’s not a project for the Olympiad (not a comment on the project’s worthiness or quality, just its fit to Olympiad values/themes)

If this is a project that I want to include, I will bend over backwards to help you (within obvious time and resources constraints). So it would be useful if you could let me know the most effective way in which I can support you (e.g: facilitated development time; locating additional partners; signposts to funding).

Need a preliminary conversation?

Contact me on 07956 050756 or at

Richard Crowe

London 2012 Creative Programmer, SW

April 2008



The Quest is a four year programme of work being proposed by a consortium led by Desperate Men, Cirque Bijou and Innovate Creative Industries Hub (Plymouth University), has emerged as a strong contender for the delivery of the Extraordinary Mile.

It proposes a “region-wide” structure but with local delivery, enabling us to promote and celebrate local distinctiveness, via eight journeys through the sub regions of:

Gloucestershire; Swindon & Wiltshire; West of England; Somerset & North Somerset; Dorset & Bournemouth and Poole; Devon & Plymouth & Torbay; Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly and a journey by sea.

The shape and aims of the Quest programme, delivered through a series of issue-based themes, are outlined below.

Over the next few months (to December 2008) it is anticipated that we will be looking for proposals from sub-regional consortia for the delivery of the Quest programme in their areas.


A series of actual, virtual and metaphysical journeys through the landscape, connecting the coast with the landscape and urban with rural communities.

Each journey will be “sparked” and inspired by a core troupe of world-class artists, performers and storytellers. These Questors will progress through each sub-region of the South West, undertaking a series of extraordinary challenges, presenting extraordinary performances and helping each sub-region recruit its own troupe of Questors along the way.

These local troupes will take the journeys under their own power, supported by a mobile recording/editing resource (sustainably powered) and an entourage of skilled professionals from other sectors (e.g: archaeologists; engineers; soil scientists; athletes).

Their collective quest will be to undertake a series of challenges and tasks set for them and arising from the communities they travel through on a journey of discovery to explore and deliver on a series of themes:

• regional identity – through the particular stories, songs, traditions and language associated with the people and places they encounter and shared between generations and communities on the way

• interpretation and access – using digital technology to explore new ways of opening up the countryside to new visitors and providing discreet interpretation (e.g: creating games that start “online” but involve detective work out in the landscape to move to another level; the use of mobile phone and GPS technology)

• training and skills – in recording and editing techniques, event management and technical (backstage) skills (led by the South West Music Forum), helping to ensure we have appropriately skilled creative industries, cultural and voluntary sector workforces by 2012

• data collection – led by Audiences SW to establish current cultural provision and demand through the region

• diversity – ensuring that the comprehensive range of voices and viewpoints from across the region are an integral part of the narrative developed through each journey

• sustainability – looking at cultural choices we make and how these may have to change in response to the challenges the planet is facing with a focus on activity (e.g: building large, sustainably powered, structures for festival/carnival; or making a detailed examination of habitats or a square metre of soil)

• regional digital archive – the creation of a comprehensive “snap shot” of where we are in the first years of the 21st century and perhaps the last years of the “petrol age”, accessible to all as an online resource or on tour in a variety of exciting formats (projections; panoramas)

Each journey will begin, end or be punctuated by a Hotspot of activity in one of the region’s larger towns or venues. This activity will complement an existing festival, event or celebration (for example Bournemouth 200 or Rescue 2010) or other region-wide programmes, particularly RELAYS (Legacy Trust UK programme), making the best use of resources available to the region.

Hotspots will give each troupe the opportunity to:

· showcase work undertaken with local communities

· accept and issue challenges

· provide stages for local young bands and performers, run and managed by apprentices and volunteers

· exchange knowledge and skills

The Quest will culminate in 2012 when the core troupe will be joined by all the sub-Regional troupes on a progression along the Jurassic Coast and onto the final Hotspot in Weymouth and Portland, hosts for the Olympic sailing and windsurfing events.

Richard Crowe

London 2012 Creative Programmer, SW

August 2008

[1] This list is for illustrative purposes only. Inclusion in the list does not represent a guarantee of inclusion in the Cultural Olympiad Programme at either regional or national level.

[2] ‘The sum of activities and necessary resources (tools, infrastructure and artefacts) involved in the whole cycle of creation, making, dissemination, exhibition/reception, archiving/ preservation, and education/understanding relating to cultural products and services (and) covering the following seven domains: Visual Art, Performance, Audio-Visual, Books and Press, Sport and Health, Heritage and Tourism.’

Department for Culture Media & Sport (DCMS) and English Regional Cultural Consortia: A Regional Cultural Data Framework: A Users’ Guide for Researchers and Policymakers, November 2002.

[3] Extract taken from Our Promise for 2012, How the UK will benefit from the Olympic and Paralympic Games , published by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport

[4] Extract taken from Culture Update, published by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games, 2007

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