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 project, 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
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THE increasingly popular Cape Town Carnival is generating economic benefits for the city and creative industries, alongside social cohesion and stimulation of the creative economy.

‘Youth are missing major opportunities in creative sector’ ‘Youth are missing major opportunities in creative sector’

SOUTH AFRICAN youth are unaware of the job opportunities available in the creative and cultural industries (CCIs).

#SACOCOnf2018: Going beyond #SACOCOnf2018: Going beyond

WELCOME to the conference edition of the newsletter. This month we moved swifly to launch the SACO's 2018 Conference website, announce the conference theme, issue out a call for papers, and open registration. We have a very exciting international conference coming up that is both forward and backward looking as we seek of view 'Beyond the Creative Economy: Trends and Issues in National and Regional Economies’.

SAMRO bursaries help young musos live their dreams SAMRO bursaries help young musos live their dreams

THE SAMRO Foundation has cemented its commitment to investing in South African music by awarding five special bursaries to high-calibre students.

Call for nominees to serve on The Market Theatre Foundation Council Call for nominees to serve on The Market Theatre Foundation Council

IN TERMS of the Cultural Institutions Act, 1998 (Act 119 of 1998), the Minister of Arts and Culture, Mr Nathi Mthethwa invites members of the performing arts (Playhouse/Theatre) fraternity and the general public to nominate persons to serve as members of Council of the Market Theatre Foundation (Cultural Institution).

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