South African Cultural Observatory

Heritage, connection and collaboration

BY Richard Haines 29.09.17

GREETINGS from Toulouse. I am in France building stronger international relations with French institutions. It was also Heritage Month in September and we have been considering the importance of heritage in the arts, culture and heritage matrix. x. At the South African Cultural Observatory (SACO) heritage is a critical consideration for us and in general for the country, and specifically for the Department of Arts & Culture.

I would recommend reading our SACO Research Manager’s Unathi Lutahsba’s opinion piece on how Creative Economy research is needed to preserve SA’s living heritage and cultural identities. Heritage us the bedrock all culture and creativity. It gives us a sense of place and embeds us in history. As we reflect on the centrality of heritage in our lives, it’s worth also considering the vast literature and research on heritage, tourism, culture and the environment. Read about UNESCO’s latest research here.

I am moving from Toulouse to Grenoble and on to London over the next few weeks with heritage on my mind and the mission of securing greater international partnerships for the SACO. Watch this space.

Update on SACO activities

We are two thirds through an epic series of domain and other workshops countrywide, which constitutes the SACO’s annual roadshow. Coming up we have Mafeking, Vereeniging and round out the tour in Tzaneen. We also have a research workshop on in Kimberly. Go to our events page to register for these events:

The workshops have been very revealing about the needs, wants, experiences of and information gaps in the sector. We are excited to develop a state of affairs report, which will follow the final workshop. Watch this space.

Another great coup achieved is the completion of the South African Festival Economic Impact Calculator, training video for measuring event and festival impact. This allows anyone anywhere to use the tool to help measure the impact of their event or festival. We are very proud of the SAFEIC and the value it can help bring to event organisers.

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 will share more information as the research stages are completed.

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


Your Culturalist,

Prof. Richard Haines

South African Cultural Observatory: CEO


Celebrating Creative Women Celebrating Creative Women

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.

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.


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