During May 2014 Mckeown was asked to undertake a presentation to the Almaty 2014 Cultural Forum, in Kazakhstan, with regard to his work, disability and large scale cultural events such as the London 2012 Festival.
The Cultural Forum was a conference aimed specifically addressing the integration of culture in to large scale events, such as sporting events, including events occurring in Kazakhstan in years to come.
The conference heard from artists and cultural organisations in the early stages of planning large-scale events, such as the Olympic Games (London 2012), European Green Capital (Bristol 2015), Universiade 2017 and Expo 2017 and how their early involvement can significantly enhance the occasion, whatever the thematic focus of the event. The benefits of the successful incorporation of cultural programmes into such events includes increased economic impact, greater social engagement and cohesion, and a legacy of cultural images and reputation which can reach a broad range of national and international audiences, including visitors and tourists, for years to come. Debbi Lander Director of Encounters Short Film Festival and Mckeown presented with and by invite of Stella Hall of the British Council, also spoke about their practical involvement in major events in the UK and other countries.
Simon was also able to visit an Almaty (Kazakhstan's main cultural city) NGO which specialised in working with disabled adults and children which also had an excellent art and performance department with successful exhibitions in Russia and Japan.
At the same time of the conference the British Council also presented a festival based around the work of Alfred Hitchcock and his silent movie period which they had arranged to be restored and presented with live orchestral accompaniment.
The British Council is the United Kingdom's international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. www.britishcouncil.org
Stella Hall - Producer
Simon Mckeown at Almaty Kazakhstan
Simon Williams, Director of the British Council, Almaty, Kazakhstan