South African Cultural Observatory

Celebrating Creative Women

BY 01.09.17

WOMEN are, in many ways, shaping the future of the creative industries. Last year Prof Jen Snowball, SACO Chief Research Strategist, compressed data from National Mapping Study of the creative and cultural industries released in 2014, and published this article in The Conversation – From the stage to the boardroom: South African women make slow transition.

Although the transition is slow, one only needs to look at the women leadership at the helm of many arts institutions in South Africa to realise that the creative and cultural industries is really a space that lead gender transformation. Our own Prof Snowball is an example, but so are Rosemary Mangope, Michelle Constant, and Zama Mkosi – all chief executive officers of National Arts Council, Business and Arts South Africa, and the National Film and Video Foundation, respectively. The outgoing Department of Arts & Culture Deputy Director General Monica Newton is another.

In celebration of Women’s Month, and in acknowledgement of research talent, the South African Cultural Observatory this month promoted Unathi Lutshaba from researcher to Research Manager. We also spent some time getting to know some of the South African Cultural Observatory team members, who keep our research centre operating at optimum – read the interview with Bavuyile Mbatha, the SACO Administrator.

Update on SACO activities

In late July and though August we delivered three out of eight of our domain workshop series events. In September we have another three planned. The domain workshop series is a very important part of our outreach, research and engagement process.

The workshops allow the SACO to engage with the sector and receive its inputs, as well as share insights into the organisation, its research and tools. The roadshow is in support of the creative and cultural industries (CCIs) and the research community working on arts, culture and heritage projects.

It is designed to inform creative practitioners, researchers, academics and others about the Cultural Observatory, share a growing body of research and some useful tools developed by the think tank. It is also designed to help the SACO gain insight and feedback from the creative sectors on their priorities and concerns.

We are also preparing for an early September capacity development workshop on our free online tool, the South African Festival Economic Impact Calculator, for measuring event and festival impact.

Finally, our research commissioning process is underway – primarily the mapping study and a series of research papers.  Research is our core focus for our third and final year of our contract with the Department of Arts and Culture. Our priority is now almost entirely on delivering our major research outcomes.

We have a busy couple of months ahead – with a full upcoming event and research menu; and we are also getting underway with planning for the #SACOConf2018. As always, watch this space.

Until then, enjoy the August edition of The Cultural Observer.

Your Culturalist,

Prof. Richard Haines

South African Cultural Observatory: CEO

Changing the world Changing the world

NELSON Mandela once said: ‘I was not a messiah, but an ordinary man who had become a leader because of extraordinary circumstances.’ In July the incredible leader was front and centre as we not only celebrated his birthday through the now globally renowned 67 Minutes and Mandela Day initiative, but also in the re-naming of Nelson Mandela University.

Young, free and creative Young, free and creative

YOUNG people will shape the cultural and creative economy of the future. While they have always been at the forefront of the culture and content of cool, now more than ever it is important to consider the value, power and role of the youth in building and sustaining this economy.


#SACOConf2017 - it's a wrap! #SACOConf2017 - it's a wrap!

THE #SACOConf2017 was a real celebration of the current and future potential of the creative economy. Please enjoy this special edition newsletter which focuses on highlighting some of the speeches and insights offered - and which also covers the emerging trends, the critical debates and access to the presentations.

Conference to capture creative economy trends Conference to capture creative economy trends

IT’S ALL systems go for the second South African Cultural Observatory National Conference on May 24 and 25 in Johannesburg. We are very excited to present a dynamic and varied programme – featuring a wide range of global, African and local speakers and perspectives; especially since it’s Africa Day on May 25.


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