South African Cultural Observatory
National Conference 2017 Registration is Open

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University of Fort Hare

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Department of Arts and Culture

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Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University

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Rhodes University

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South African Cultural Observatory

The South African Cultural Observatory is the national public research entity of the Department of Arts & Culture. Cultural domains such as arts, tourism, heritage, libraries and museums will be researched on in order to build intellectual capacity across these sectors.

The key functions of the South African Cultural Observatory include the following:

  • Policy focused research (surveys, case studies)
  • Reviews of current programmes
  • M&E – impact of government spending
  • Collection of statistics (databases)
  • Physical and Online access
  • Networking, sharing, partnerships

Word from DAC

A new leaf, a new White Paper

OPENING Keynote address by the Minister of Arts and Culture, Mr Nathi Mthethwa at the 2nd Sector Indaba on the White Paper on Arts, Culture and Heritage, Johannesburg, 17 November 2016. "It was almost a year ago on the 24 November 2015 that we gathered together as the Arts, Culture and Heritage Sector in a meeting of minds on the future of the arts. And I pledged to all present that once we had completed our consultative work led by the eminent Reference Panel, we would return and reconvene the sector to engage this important work. We have remained true to this pledge and today we return for this important second consultative Indaba."


Latest News

SA Cultural Observatory hires database coordinator

THE South African Cultural Observatory (SACO) has appointed Jan-Carel Van Der Linde as the SACO Database Coordinator, to head up the SACO’s database management. Database management is a critical output of the SACO, which is tasked with mapping the entirety of South Africa’s cultural and creative industries (CCIs) and arts, culture and heritage sectors, creating a viable cultural information system and developing a CCI Index as a monitoring tool for industry performance.

Chill with Gauteng Opera at Sunday Morning Concert

WHAT better way to chill out on a Sunday morning than in the tranquil urban space of IT Corner in Melville while listening to the ambient light classical sounds of Gauteng Opera with guest artists from Coert’s Studio. During interval, you can enjoy a tasty brunch with family and friends. Gauteng Opera and Coert’s Studio present Classic Chill on Sunday, 26 March at 11:00.

Deadline for creative economy conference submissions nears

THE creative economy is one of South Africa’s most underappreciated economic drivers, keeping thousands in jobs and contributing almost 3% to GDP.

BASA Celebrates 20 years of Partnerships, People and Connectivity

2017 sees Business and Arts South Africa (NPC) celebrate twenty years of arts business partnerships, with an invigorated focus on growth, research, connectivity and celebration that confirms the organisation’s standing as a leader on the African continent.

Research bodies partner to analyse impact of Cape Town Carnival

IT’S AN extravaganza of creativity and culture not to be missed – but how much does the Cape Town Carnival add to the bottom line of the City and more?

Sarafina Musical Opens In Style

PEOPLE from all occupations came to support theatre in South Africa on the opening night of Sarafina this past Friday, 10 March 2017. The highly anticipated Sarafina hosted them; all showed up in Broadway style, from celebrities, media personnel, government and business personnel to international ambassadors.

Note from the Culturalist - CEO

The Creative Economy & Development

THE theme for our May 2017 conference could not have come at a better time. Post the South African 2017 budget speech, when accounting, fiscal frugality and money are on our minds – there is no better time to talk economy, development and the role of the creative sectors in stimulating both of these critical elements.


The 360: News from around the world

Rock Art hunting for preservation in the Sahara Desert

DEEP in the Sahara Desert lies significant cultural heritage in the form of priceless rock art reminiscent of a time when desert was actually rolling green plains. Ferdinand Saumarez Smith from the incredible Factum Foundation was recently in Chad to document the Sahara’s astonishing – and endangered – rock art, in an effort to help preserve humanity’s ancient history.


Open Source: Latest research for download

Reports finds CCIs key to night-time economy

A RECENTLY released report published by the British Creative Industries Federation (CIF) calls on public bodies to use their powers to support and protect cultural hubs, music venues and nightclubs.


Progress Report: Updates on CO achievements

SACO opens registration for its National Conference in May

THE SOUTH African Cultural Observatory (SACO) today opened registration for its annual conference, which this year will explore the interface between the creative economy and development.


More News
Monitoring & evaluation key to realising South Africa’s creative potentialMonitoring & evaluation key to realising South Africa’s creative potential

The South African Cultural Observatory’s (SACO) Monitoring and Evaluation Framework for Measuring the value of Publicly-funded Arts, Culture and Heritage projects is a tool to ‘count culture’ and identify some tangible, quantitative value asserts Professor Jen Snowball, SACO chief research strategist and cultural economist.

DAC applications for accreditation to cover 2017 Human Rights Day CommemorationDAC applications for accreditation to cover 2017 Human Rights Day Commemoration

THE Department of Arts and Culture has released a statement, for members in the media industry to submit their applications for accreditation to cover the 2017 Human Rights Day commemoration. This national public holiday, is a celebration of South Africa’s unique constitution and a reminder of the 1960 Sharpeville massacre.

UNESCO Chair at TUT is a first in AfricaUNESCO Chair at TUT is a first in Africa

THE Department of Basic Education is establishing a UNESCO Chair in Cultural Policy and Sustainable Development at TUT’s Faculty of the Arts. This was announced at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) on Friday, 3 March. The Chair is the first of its kind for Africa and aims to mainstream the role of culture in sustainable development.

 Texas gears up for Jesse Clegg      Texas gears up for Jesse Clegg

SOUTH AFRICA’s very own Jesse Clegg will be performing at the SXSW music festival, in Austin, Texas in March. One of the largest and most influential global music events of the year. It is not limited in genre or region and audiences can enjoy a vast variety of musical styles at SXSW.

SA tourism growth hits 13%SA tourism growth hits 13%

THE Department of Tourism has confirmed that over 10 million international tourists arrived on South African soil in 2016. This is a major increase from 2015 of over 8 million arrivals.

Upcoming Events

SACO2017 – South African Cultural Observatory 2nd National Conference

Date:24 May 2017 - 25 May 2017
Venue:The Forum Turbine Hall

Platteland Preview Arts Festival

Date:30 Jun 2017 - 02 Jul 2017
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arts & cultureNNMUUniversity of Fort HareRhodes University