From Seoul 1988 to Brisbane 2032 – The Olympic Legacy: Planning for Impact 

30 May 2024

Australia is approaching what will likely be one of the biggest and most memorable events in our history: the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games. These Games are more than just sporting events; they are cultural events as well, and the cultural impacts of the Games on the society and economy of a nation can be either fleeting or enduring.

Planning for impact is critical in ensuring Brisbane 2032 can create a profound and lasting shift in Australia’s cultural landscape. One way to do this is to look beyond our borders to see how other nations have successfully harnessed the enduring opportunities presented by the Games. Kate Fielding, CEO of A New Approach (ANA), recently spoke on this notion at the Nineteenth International Conference on the Arts in Society, held from 24 to 27 May at Hanyang University in Seoul, Korea. Her presentation was entitled ‘From Seoul 1988 to Brisbane 2032 – The Olympic Legacy: Planning for Impact’.

The Games showed both South Koreans and a global audience that the nation was ready to open up to the world and develop deeper cultural links. Seoul 1988 sparked national conversations about identity and led to South Korea joining the OECD, enabling the ‘Korean Wave’ to begin in the 1990s. In the decade that followed, successive governments in South Korea deliberately built on the opportunities from Seoul 1988, reinvigorating cultural policy and relations to amplify South Korea’s cultural position in the world.

So, how should Australia amplify and extend our cultural confidence and leadership, locally and globally, before, during and after Brisbane 2032? How do we build the capacity, capability and resilience of Australia’s cultural and creative industries which we know are directly linked to the success of the Games?

Kate suggested that we can do this by strategically planning for impact in the same way South Korea did. We can harness the cultural policy development that is in progress across Australia to support the social and economic impacts of Brisbane 2032. We can acknowledge that planning for impact requires better collaboration by all three levels of government in Australia and create a long-term, intergovernmental cultural plan. Finally, we can elevate an intergovernmental meeting of cultural ministers to report to National Cabinet, to ensure this once-in-a-generation opportunity doesn’t pass us by.

These Games can be our 20-year foundation for local, state and territory and national government collaboration on culture and creativity, securing new relationships between governments, industry, business and philanthropy for the benefit of the public.

As Kate concluded, “Sports mega-events like the Olympic and Paralympic Games have the potential to accelerate a nation’s progress towards becoming a cultural powerhouse. This is well within Australia’s grasp. Brisbane 2032 is our sporting and cultural moment to seize to create lasting impact for our nation, our region and our world.”

New Approach acknowledges that it meets, works and travels on the lands of First Nations peoples. We pay our respects to Elders past and present, and to all First Nations peoples.