Coventry University’s impact on London 2012 highlighted in new report

As Universities Week 2012 commences (April 30th– May 7th), a new report launched today shows Coventry University’s involvement in the UK’s Olympic and Paralympic Games contribution.

The report – entitled Olympic and Paralympic Games: The impact of universities – demonstrates the diverse contribution that universities are making to the 2012 Games, the overall impact on the UK sports industry and the work institutions and academics are doing around the Cultural Olympiad and 2012 legacy programme.

Coventry University students’ role in the ‘Godiva Awakes’ project is highlighted in the report as a good example of a higher education institution working with local companies to become a key part of the Cultural Olympiad – the largest cultural celebration in the history of the modern Olympic and Paralympic movements.

Godiva Awakes: Zandra Rhodes at Coventry University

Godiva Awakes: Zandra Rhodes at Coventry University

A team of fashion undergraduates from the University has teamed up with renowned style icon Zandra Rhodes and local arts company Imagineer Productions to create a contemporary-style medieval gown and gold, hand-painted godets for a 10-metre tall puppet of Lady Godiva as part of the project.

The Godiva Awakes initiative – which is being led by Imagineer Productions – will see the giant puppet ‘awake’ in Coventry city centre in July this year to a spectacular performance involving dancers, aerialists, musicians and pyrotechnicians. Cyclists will then power the puppet on a journey to London in time for the start of the Games.

The third annual Universities Week campaign – which aims to increase public awareness of the wide and varied role of the UK’s universities – is this year taking an in-depth look at the contribution that universities are making to the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the sports industry and society as a whole.

The Universities Week 2012 report reveals that more than 90%* of the UK’s higher education sector are engaged with the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, with 65% expecting to gain legacy benefits from their involvement.

On top of the Godiva Awakes project, Coventry University is also working with Coventry City Council to organise and deliver the Coventry Ambassadors programme, which was awarded the highly-prized official ‘Inspire’ mark of the Olympic Games. The initiative will see a team of 300 volunteers welcoming and providing assistance to visitors to the city during the Olympic Football competition.

Professor Madeleine Atkins, Vice-Chancellor of Coventry University, said: “Universities Week 2012 is an excellent opportunity to showcase the work which universities are contributing to the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The outstanding creative flair our fashion students have demonstrated in designing and producing garments for the Godiva Awakes project is very much in the spirit of the Games, and we’re delighted to see their efforts acknowledged in this report.”

Claire Maddocks, founder and co-director of Imagineer Productions, said: “It’s very exciting that Zandra is working with, and developing the skills and experience of, budding fashion designers at Coventry University. Through Godiva Awakes we are creating a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for young people of all backgrounds to engage in an ambitious project, and in doing so support a new generation of makers, performers and event producers.”

To find out more about how Coventry University is contributing to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, please visit www.coventry.ac.uk/universitiesweek.

Copies of today’s report are available on request from universitiesweek@fourcommunications.com, and later for download from www.universitiesweek.org.uk.

*Conducted by SPEAR, Canterbury Christ Church University, March 2012:  Podium Stakeholder Research, The Engagement of FE & HE with the London 2012 Games in 2011.