South African Cultural Observatory

About Us

Initiated by the Department of Arts and Culture, through the Mzansi Golden Economy Strategy (2011), the South African Cultural Observatory (SACO) is a statistical and socio-economic research institute, launched in 2014, which charts the socio-economic impact of the arts, culture and heritage (ACH) sectors and the cultural and creative industries (CCIs) in South Africa.

We use a range of innovative statistical methodologies, audits and research tools to understand our creative economy. Our main purpose is the development of a comprehensive cultural information system which continuously captures cultural data and monitors and evaluates government initiatives in the ACH sectors and CCIs. The SACO is headquartered in Nelson Mandela Bay – hosted by Nelson Mandela University on behalf of the Department of Arts and Culture, in partnership with Rhodes University and the University of Fort Hare – but operates nationally analysing the CCIs and ACH sectors.

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. We work 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 assists 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.

More News
SA Cultural Observatory launches national workshop series in East LondonSA Cultural Observatory launches national workshop series in East London

OFF the back of a wildly successful national conference in May, the South African Cultural Observatory (SACO) kicks off a nationwide roadshow of eight domain workshops in East London in July.

SA launches local leg of global creative business cupSA launches local leg of global creative business cup

A GLOBAL model for rewarding outstanding creative and design thinking has made its way to South Africa with the launch of the Creative Business Cup South Africa concept to the South African market.

ACT | UJ unlearns how to conferenceACT | UJ unlearns how to conference

#CreativeUprising, the 5th ACT | UJ Creative Conference will engage with South African Art Education in its current state and possible future.

International artists head to SA’s cultural meccaInternational artists head to SA’s cultural mecca

FOR 11 days Grahamstown will become the cultural mecca of South Africa when the National Arts Festival draws artists, dancers and musicians from around the world to perform on its stages from 29 June to 9 July.

2017 Sophie Mgcina Emerging Voice Award Winner2017 Sophie Mgcina Emerging Voice Award Winner

RISING star actress and theatre director Lesedi Job was last night named the winner of the 4th annual Sophie Mgcina Emerging Voice Award.

Upcoming Events

Platteland Preview Arts Festival

Date:30 Jun 2017 - 02 Jul 2017
Venue:
Where:Smithfield
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