DD1412 Sacrilege – Olympic Legacy Project

Type of decision: 
Director's decision
Date signed: 
09 October 2015
Decision by: 
Jeff Jacobs, Head of Paid Service

Executive summary

Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller was jointly commissioned by the GLA and Glasgow International to make a new interactive artwork, Sacrilege, as part of the London 2012 festival. Sacrilege is a full scale replica of Stonehenge as a bouncy castle. Sacrilege toured the UK and internationally during the London 2012 Festival. It is now set to tour to a number of other international venues, including San Antonio Texas and Adelaide before the work will be formally decommissioned. Hire fees are distributed to the artist and the co-commissioners, Glasgow International Festival and the GLA for each venue. This document relates to the income through the hire fee, and the distribution of that income among the partner organisations for the final hires. It also sets out a proposed strategy for the de-commissioning of the work. 


The Executive Director approves:
•    the entry into and execution of hire agreements with hosting partners for the next hires;  
•    the receipt of hire fees up to a total of £100,000 for the hires of Sacrilege;
•    the payment of 40% after costs to Glasgow International from the hire charge received by the GLA for each hire of Sacrilege (as set out in the partnership agreement with Glasgow International);
•    the payment of 20% after costs to the artist, Jeremy Deller from the hire charge received by the GLA for each hire of Sacrilege (as set out in the contract with the artist); and
•    the allocation of income to cover any GLA costs for the management of the hires,  including project management, storage and transport. 


Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1    The Mayor of London and Glasgow International Festival co-commissioned Jeremy Deller, a celebrated international artist to create an innovative piece of artwork that would showcase London and Britain as part of the London 2012 Festival.  Sacrilege is the result of that commission and is a life sized replica of Stonehenge built as a fully functioning bouncy castle. 

1.2    Sacrilege was shown to great success during the London 2012 Festival. It toured over 32 venues across the UK, was seen by an estimated 300,000 people and bounced on by almost 90,000 people. Sacrilege represents the first major Cultural Olympiad Legacy project on the international stage. 

1.3    Following the success of the London 2012 Festival the GLA culture team has established the delivery of an ambitious Cultural Legacy programme, building on three areas which are participation, London’s position as a leading cultural destination and international partnerships. 

1.4    This strategy sees signature cultural projects activated to retain and strengthen London’s position as a world city of culture, capitalising on the aspiration, creativity and momentum created by the arts and creative industries during 2012. It builds on the unprecedented numbers of people who participated in culture during the Cultural Olympiad and maintains the strategic partnerships between cultural institutions, tourism partners, arts organizations, museums, galleries, corporate sponsors and agencies from countries participating in the Games. 

1.5    Sacrilege, as a signature project, tours venues internationally and within the UK as part of the Cultural Olympiad legacy. The GLA has been approached by several festivals and partners worldwide to show Sacrilege and it has toured to festivals in Hong Kong, the Sydney International Festival and the Perth International Festival, among others. 

1.6        In each case a hire agreement is entered into between the GLA and the hosting organisation. The hosting organisation is responsible for organising and paying for the transportation, insurance, operational requirements and installation of Sacrilege. The hire starts at the point at which Sacrilege is transported from storage and continues until it has been returned, or has arrived at the next venue. 

1.7        Sacrilege has been a huge success. It has been bounced on by close to 400,000 people and has generated world-wide media coverage. However, despite a complete repair in early 2015, the work is unlikely to last much longer and a de-commissioning strategy is being put in place with the artist, which may involve the artist gifting the piece to a public collection. Other options will be investigated, including recycling of the material into innovative product. 

1.8    Previous hires have been approved in decisions: ADD216; DD1053; ADD105

Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1    As a work by a British artist, developed and manufactured by a British company, this is an opportunity to showcase British art and innovation to an international audience. Sacrilege has become an icon arts ambassador profiling London as a cultural capital and highlighting its importance as a gateway to the UK for tourism, culture and industry. 

2.2    Based on the successful tour so far, expected audience numbers are 100,000 visitors and ‘bouncers’. 

2.3    As set out in section 1, this is part of the strategy to celebrate the Legacy of the London Olympics and Cultural Olympiad, by highlighting a key, innovative and successful Olympic commission on an international stage.

2.4    The de-commissioning of this highly successful Legacy project provides an opportunity to celebrate its success and international reach as well as taking a responsible approach to recycling the materials used. The artist will decide on the appropriate methodology, but it is expected that the de-commissioning will be self-funded. 

Equality comments

3.1    All Sacrilege hire events are open to all (and are free) and, where possible encourage people who share a protected characteristic to participate in any activity in which their participation is disproportionately low.

3.2    All proposals for the de-commissioning process will be assessed in terms of accessibility to ensure we minimise disadvantages suffered by people who share a protected characteristic. age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, gender, religion or belief, sexual orientation

Other considerations

a)    Links to strategies and Strategic Plan

The Mayor’s Cultural Strategy (2010) specifically recommends support of the Fourth plinth programme in Policy 4.5: “Through the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Programme, Art on the underground and site-specific projects, the Mayor will continue to ensure that high quality public art enhances the public realm and contributes to the vitality of living in London”
The Mayor of London, through the Fourth Plinth programme has established a reputation for commissioning ambitious and high quality contemporary art for the public realm from world class artists. Sacrilege represents another exceptional artwork that undoubtedly inspire others to commission artworks that are fun, interactive, mobile and still critically acclaimed.

b)    Impact assessments and Consultation

This commission was developed in close partnership with the Glasgow International Visual Art Festival and the London 2012 Festival. Funds for production of the work were awarded by Arts Council England through an unprecedented condition-free grant. The ongoing tour of the work to international venues constitutes the most successful Cultural Olympiad Legacy project on the international stage. The tour of the commission is being managed and developed by the Culture Team with support of a project manager.  

c)    Risk

A risk connected with this artwork is linked to health and safety. The Manufacturers of the artwork provided detailed and comprehensive installation and care guidelines and the work has been produced to a registered standard. All hosting partners must contract SSG, which has significant experience of managing this project, having managed the full Cultural Olympiad Tour of 32 locations in the UK. The hire agreement requires that the hosting organisation take out appropriate insurance to cover public liability risk as well as any other insurance that may be requested by the GLA.

Financial risks to the GLA are linked to damage or loss of the work either in transit or during the exhibition. This is mitigated by insurance that is required under the hire agreement for the full replacement value against all usual risks. 

Hosting organisations are responsible for providing insurance cover throughout the hire period and has provided the relevant insurance certificate as part of the hire agreement.  

Financial comments

5.1    The cost of this annual event is borne by the host organisation. In addition, a management fee is paid to the GLA, to Glasgow International (GI) as the co-commissioning body and to Jeremy Deller, the artist and owner of the work. Any costs to the GLA (storage, project management) are also covered by this fee. It is being proposed that this decision lasts for the lifetime of the work, which is estimated to be for a maximum of 3 years (2015-16 to 2017-18) and the receipt of up to £100,000 of income and associated expenditure. Any variation to this will be subject to the GLA’s normal approval process. An estimated budget for each hire, as provided by the Culture Team, is summarised below: 

Expenditure                                                      £
Direct Costs 
Project Management                                  7,000
Storage & Transport                                   2,000
Contingency 10%                                       2,000  
Fee to Glasgow International (GI)*1           3,600
GLA fee                                                      3,600
Fee to Jeremy Deller *2                             1,800
Total estimated expenditure                     20,000

Hire Fee                                                   20,000
Total Income                                            20,000

Net Cost to the GLA
    1* 40% after Project Management, Storage and Contingency
    2* 20% after Project Management, Storage and Contingency 

5.2    Even though this proposal equates to a nil cost to the GLA, the 2016-17 budget will be the last to be set by the current Mayor and consequently all contracts and funding agreements entered into that span into 2016-17 and beyond will contain an annual break clause in the event that Mayoral priorities change.

5.3    Any changes to this proposal, including budgetary implications will be subject to further approval via the Authority’s decision-making process. All appropriate budget adjustments will be made.

Planned delivery approach and next steps

Hires are managed by a project manager and a Senior Culture Strategy Officer in the GLA Culture team.


A hire agreement will be put in place with host organisations to establish areas of responsibility, hire costs and payment terms.


All practical handling of the work including transportation, installation, exhibition management, insurance while touring is managed by the host organisation which has contracted directly with the specialist management company SSG, a company stipulated by the artist and with significant experience of handling Sacrilege, having managed the full UK tour during the Olympics period.

Transport, insurance and all other cost considerations are the responsibility of an external provider and will be negotiated directly with each client.



Secure Hires

July-Oct 2015

Contract host venues and invoice for hire fees

October 2015

De-Commissioning Strategy in Development

October 2015

Sacrilege hire (tbc)

January 2016

Sacrilege hire WOMAD Adelaide

March 2016

Sacrilege return to UK (estimated)

April 2016

Final Hire dates & final decommissioning strategy

June 2016 - 18

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