South African Cultural Observatory

National Research Agenda

The South African Cultural Observatory and the Department of Arts & Culture proudly present the National Research Agenda for research across the arts, culture and heritage (ACH) sectors and the cultural and creative industries (CCIs) of South Africa.

The National Research Agenda is attempt by the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) to focus research efforts and resources towards achieving research outputs that would enhance the development of the CCIs in South Africa. It also serves to support the many policy imperatives of the deparrment, the South African Government and its stakeholders.

The Agenda aims to:

  • Outline and define ACH and CCI research areas to guide research across the sectors/industries.
  • Define individual research agenda items required to address the research requirements of the industry.
  • Determine the alignment of proposed research agenda items with strategic and policy imperatives.
  • Inspire and guide researchers to pursue important research that is relevant and meaningful to the sector.

Why a Research Agenda

Currently research across the ACH sectors and the CCIs is ad hoc, disjointed, uncoordinated and uncharted. While there is valuable research happening we need to understand how it relates to the polies, strategies and projects of DAC and government.

The aim is to bring coherence and unity to a disparate field of research and to make sense of all the current research underway so that it, in turn, informs policy and practice.

Who is responsible for the Research Agenda?

In short, we all are! This is an industry guide for research under-taken across the ACH sectors and CCIs. The SACO is not responsible to deliver on all the research themes outlined in the Research Agenda – we only do some critical projects, databasing, monitoring & evaluation initiatives and select pieces of research.

Other pieces of research fall within the scope of the DAC, other organs of state, civil society, tertiary and private sector entities. We encourage you to read the research agenda and to conceive of research that aligns with the research areas outlined.

Broad Research Areas

The Research Agenda focuses on 15 major thematic areas and 95 sub-themes informing the overall agenda. The 15 major sub-themes include:

  1. Create academic baseline for analysis
  2. Consolidate & develop a cohesive database platform
  3. Map government CCI spending & develop CCI Product Index
  4. Analysis of the creative industry & creative audiences
  5. Track economic impact of the CCIs on SA economy
  6. Role of innovation in developing the CCIs
  7. Value of Intellectual Property in CCIs for policy & implementation
  8. Impact of cultural & creative education
  9. Social Cohesion
  10. Collaboration of African libraries & African Union Integration Protocol
  11. Catalogue of artefacts
  12. Repository of agreements policy & protocols
  13. Database of Living Human Treasures
  14. CCI Country Briefings to inform Cultural Diplomacy
  15. CCI Labour Markets

Read more about the Research Agenda’s 15 major thematic areas

No Research Area
1 Create academic baseline for analysis
 
  • Create an academic and philosophical base to inform the interventions of the Cultural Observatory to ensure high-order academic engagements with other Cultural Observatories and the subject matter.
  • Develop the capability to reflect and contribute to changing philosophical and social science discourses on the particularities of culture, including its measurement, past, present and future.
  • Ensure world-class academic and intellectual debates, and exchange of ideas in these terrains.
  • Provide the South African Cultural Observatory with national, African and international perspectives in keeping with the metaphorical and applied notions of a cultural observatory.
  • Identify and conceptualize changing nature of cultural and creative activities and enterprises in globalizing environments.
  • Interact with differing concepts and notions of cultural observatories.
2 Consolidate & develop a cohesive database platform
 
  • Databases are currently scattered across a number of sectors, each containing individual data sets in different degrees of completeness and applicability to the research needs of the sector.
  • This essentially creates a situation where the body of knowledge pertaining to cultural and creative research areas is highly fragmented, incomplete and sometimes duplicated.
  • The research requirement is therefore for the development of an integrated platform where various databases can be consolidated.
3 Map government CCI spending & develop CCI Product Index
 
  • There appears to be limited accurate data available regarding the span and scope of government spending within the cultural and creative industry sector.
  • Furthermore it would appear that cultural and creative industry products are not accurately and consistently classified in existing product indexes which makes it difficult to accurately determine spending levels within the cultural and creative industry.
  • The research need is therefore to develop an accurate Cultural and Creative Product Index which can in turn be used to accurately determine levels of government spending within this economic sector.
4 Analysis of the creative industry & creative audiences
 
  • Currently limited reliable data exists pertaining to the size, profile, location and contribution levels of both creative industries and particularly creative audiences.
  • As a result, processes to identify future opportunities for sustainable development and growth within the cultural and creative sector are negatively impacted.
5 Track economic impact of the CCIs on SA economy
 
  • Objectively determine and track the economic contribution of cultural and creative industries to the South African Economy.
  • Determine the contribution of the cultural and creative economies must comply with the UNESCO Statistical Framework as well as the approved South African Statistical Framework.
  • This could be expanded to include the development of economic input-output models so that economic multi-pliers can be identified and their contribution to the South African Economy determined.
  • Develop a value-chain analysis of the cultural and creative industries to assist in policy development, which would inform the development of a clustering model that would increase the competitiveness of the industry.
6 Role of innovation in developing the CCIs
 
  • Determine the role, nature and impact of innovation and disruptive technologies in advancing the development of the South African Creative and Cultural Industry.
7 Value of Intellectual Property in CCIs for policy & implementation
 
  • Very limited data is available regarding the value of Intellectual Property of the Cultural and Creative Industry for both policy and implementation purposes.
  • The need is therefore to determine the value of Intellectual Property within the Cultural and Creative Economy and to present a framework for ensuring the effective and efficient management and protection of Intellectual Property in line with the policy imperatives of the South African government.
8 Impact of cultural & creative education
 
  • Data is required to determine the current and potential impact of cultural and creative education on learners and economic growth and competitiveness.
9 Social Cohesion
 
  • Currently social cohesion as an outcome of the Medium Terms Strategic Framework (MTSF) is being measured by 88 indicators across 13 National Departments.
  • This makes the integration of data and communication to decision-makers very difficult which in turn reduces the ability to make informed strategic, policy, legislative and implementation decisions.
10 Collaboration of African libraries & African Union Integration Protocol
 
  • South Africa is a signatory to an international agreement which requires it to develop a response that would increase the collaboration of libraries on the African continent.
  • This entails the development of an African Union (AU) Library integration Protocol and proposed implementation framework based on a detailed assessment of the state of relevant libraries in Africa; the degree of legislative, policy and systems compatibility across the continent. A strategic, policy and operational framework would be required to operationalise the proposed protocol.
11 Catalogue of artefacts
 
  • Currently a number of highly significant cultural and historical artefacts pertaining to South African history are located abroad under the custodianship of a number of heritage and historical institutions.
  • The requirement is to catalogue all these artefacts and engage through bi- and multi-lateral agreements and institutions to return these artefacts to South Africa.
12 Repository of agreements policy & protocols
 
  • Ensure alignment in policy and strategy across the cultural and creative sector
  • In order to track and ensure the implementation international agreements (both bi- and multi-lateral) and protocols in an effective and efficient manner, a consolidated repository of all relevant strategic, policy and protocols is required.
13 Database of Living Human Treasures
 
  • Data and knowledge associated with Living Human Treasures (LHT) is under threat of not being secured for future generations.
  • The requirement is therefore to identify and such data and knowledge sources in order to define and operationalise relevant domains, representative lists and identify LHT under threat of disappearing.
14 CCI Country Briefings to inform Cultural Diplomacy
 
  • In order to develop focused high-impact international engagements with multi- and bi-lateral partners a detailed analysis of relevant trends and potential growth and collaboration points within the cultural and creative industry has be developed.
15 CCI Labour Markets
  CCI labour markets (employment, training & skills, earnings, transformation).

Download the Research Agenda

Research Agenda

The South African Cultural Observatory and the Department of Arts & Culture (DAC) proudly present the National Research Agenda for research across the arts, culture and heritage (ACH) sectors and the cultural and creative industries (CCIs) of South Africa. The National Research Agenda is an attempt by the DAC to focus research efforts and resources towards achieving research outputs that would enhance the development of the CCIs in South Africa. It also serves to support the many policy imperatives of DAC, the South African Government and its stakeholders.

Download Version 1


 Completed Research


Current Research Underway

Currently the South African Cultural Observatory is working the following pieces of research. 

  • Publication Reports: 
    • Social cohesion
    • Realising the Economy of the Imagination and the Creative and Cultural Industries: Options for South Africa
  • Research Reports:
    • Developing a CCI Index for South Africa.
    • Regional Cultural Policy with a Rural Focus.
  • Updated National Research Agenda
  • Country briefs
  • 2017 National Mapping Study 

Inputs

Add your voice to the Research Agenda by commenting on it; recommending additional thematic areas for research; and adding a critical eye to the topic areas already identified. Please fill in this form to do so.

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Submit Research

We are interested in research happening across the cultural domains, in the ACH sectors and the CCIs and in cultural policy and diplomacy. Share your latest research, papers, presentations and insights with us:

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