South African Cultural Observatory

About Us

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.

More News
African insights to feature strongly at creative economy conference African insights to feature strongly at creative economy conference

THE African experience of growing, maintaining and developing a strong cultural and creative economy will be a main focal point at the South African Cultural Observatory’s (SACO) conference this May.

Beyoncé launches scholarship to support young women in the artsBeyoncé launches scholarship to support young women in the arts

BEYONCE has unveiled her ‘Formation Scholars’, a new scholarship announced on the one-year anniversary of Lemonade to support young woman in the arts.

Towards tackling inequalities in South Africa: the role of community librariesTowards tackling inequalities in South Africa: the role of community libraries

A paper recently published by Nampombe Mnkeni-Saurombe from the University of South Africa and Nomusa Zimu from the Human Sciences Research Council on the role of community libraries reports on the Department of Arts and Culture’s conditional grant community library project progress.

Bold changes ahead for ACTBold changes ahead for ACT

THE Arts & Culture Trust’s next five-year strategy will see the organisation making bold changes.

Call For South African Art Collective - Art Santa Fe 2017Call For South African Art Collective - Art Santa Fe 2017

THE Small Enterprise Development Agency of KZN will coordinate and host the participation of micro, emerging and established enterprises as well as individual upcoming visual artists during the Art Santa Fe show which will take place from the 13-16th July 2017 at the Santa Fe Convention Centre in USA.

Upcoming Events

SACO2017 - South African Cultural Observatory 2nd National Conference

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

Platteland Preview Arts Festival

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