The South African Cultural Observatory, established and mandated by the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC), is a national research centre hosted by Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, in partnership with Rhodes University and the University of Fort Hare. Its head office is in the new Donkin Precinct in the creative heart of Port Elizabeth.
The SA Cultural Observatory supports the collection and analysis of data, influences policy, shares insights and builds on the intellectual capacity gained across the arts, culture and heritage sectors. It works across the breadth of all cultural domains, including the arts, heritage, tourism, museums, libraries, archives and creative industries.
The key functions of the South African Cultural Observatory include:
- Advanced theoretical and policy-relevant research on cultural trends and the cultural economy
- The conceptualization and collection of statistics (data-bases)
- Monitoring and Evaluating the impact of cultural events
- Providing physical and online access to the cultural information
- Capacity building within the Arts, Culture and Heritage sectors and Creative Industries
- Networking, partnering and knowledge sharing
- Promoting cultural diplomacy
The Cultural Observatory is a long-awaited and vital initiative in the country’s cultural landscape. The evidence and data collected and analysed will assist in assessing where the competitiveness, job-creating and income-generating potential of the creative industries lies. The work of the Cultural Observatory adds value to the arts and culture sectors and enables a real socio-economic value to be attached to activities central to the rich tapestry of South African life.