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Creatives Make It Happen

The programme of the 2015 ACT | UJ Arts & Culture Conference is focused around the theme Creatives Make It Happen; and promises an alternative offering to the usual conference fare.

The 3rd ACT | UJ Arts & Culture Conference: Creatives Make It Happen will be a healthy mix of sessions presented by thought- and industry leaders; and varied opportunities for more direct engagement with interesting spaces and practising creatives who are ‘making it happen’. Each cluster of sessions will focus on a different aspect affecting the creative community, allowing those who would prefer to engage only with one specific area of interest to do so.

This gathering presents an invaluable chance for people working at different levels and in diverse contexts in the sector to meet and learn from one another.

‘We are at a most exciting time in the sector; one that is challenging, open and flowing swiftly shaped by the desire to make things happen. This has much potential and has formed opportunities for a collaborative economy, which is integrated, responsive and determined. The energy of South Africa’s creative world and the potential for all parts of our society to benefit from this is what shapes how we do things differently. This year’s conference attempts to capture some of that energy: imagine, hear, own, learn, see and live it. Making space for fresh voices and concepts, it sets out to shake things up and build on the many important conversations which have taken place over previous years,’ says Levinia Jones (Content Director: ACT | UJ Arts and Culture Conference, Head of Arts British Council South Africa).

The content for Creatives Make It Happen has been designed in conjunction with an experienced Content Advisory Team comprising ACT Board members Melissa Goba, Caroline Smart, Themi Venturas and Trish Downing; who are joined by Grace Meadows from UJ Arts & Culture; Molemo Moiloa from VANSA (Visual Arts Network of South Africa) and Lonwabo Mavuso from BASA.

This partnership between the Arts & Culture Trust (ACT), UJ Arts & Culture at the University of Johannesburg and the British Council Connect ZA is one that combines the strengths of each organisation and their passion for driving this conversation with a wider audience.

It has thus been important to connect with other organisations to ensure a cohesive response to the current landscape, and proudly boasts additional support from partners including SAMRO Foundation, Business and Arts South Africa (BASA), Pro Helvetia, Classicfeel magazine, Wits University Tshimologong Precinct, Atterbury, and the European Union, to name a few. 



An opening evening geared towards introductions of a creative, intellectual and social nature will set the scene, ensuring participants are well-prepared for the rest of the event.

This scene-setting presentation will look at how people who think and operate creatively could play an important economic role financially, socially and structurally and how this can have a positive impact on the future of our society.

An experimental evening of food and fun, will allow presenters and delegates to get to know each other.



This cluster will provide an overview of where we’re at locally and internationally in terms of the creative industries. Key personalities will provide insight into the thinking and structures within which we’re operating and allow for insightful discussion.


A snapshot of the global zeitgeist, exploring what is driving current human behaviour, and our part in the collaborative economy. This includes a look at overall trends, the similarities and differences in different parts of the world, how we may better understand these global shifts, and how that influences us at the tip of Africa.

Back to the Future

It has been said that ‘the only constant is change’ – this session will provide insight into the rate and extent of current change, what it means for the future we are creating and what impact alternative ways of thinking could make, to both the immediate and more distant future. An overview of our local context, in terms of what is influencing the ways people living and working in South Africa think and operate, provides insight into how a creative perspective might add value.

Calling in the Elephant

This session calls the elephant into the room for a frank panel discussion about the tensions affecting the creative industries.

Creative South Africa

A representative of The Department of Arts and Culture will provide a brief overview of the plans for the new administration; and discuss some of the key areas of interest to the creative sector – including outlines of the policy and feedback on the initial phase of implementation of government’s MGE Strategy, insight into the issues around Tax and Section 18A certification, and a look at Venture Capital and SMME policies and structures and the National Development Plan.

Ts & Cs Apply

This session will help those working in the creative industries navigate the formal structures which govern and affect the sector, and consider how creatives can engage with them for their benefit. Through a sharing of expertise and resources, this panel aims to reduce barriers of language, understanding and access to information; around complex governance issues such as policy, procedure and law. 

Wrap it up

Comedic consolidation



This cluster will look at specific examples of new models, through facilitated discussions. It features presentations from different creatives who are pursuing new ways of doing things.

Curators of Creativity

These bloggers started publishing online commentary on things they found interesting and as a result, have built their ideas into successful online businesses. They share some of their secrets and how their gaze may have shaped online consumption.

Creative Social Solutions

A panel of artists and social entrepreneurs share their experiences successes and challenges in creating solutions for social needs.

Doing it Differently

A creative panel shares their ideas and experience of ‘doing business differently’, allowing us to learn from examples of their failures and successes.

Connect the dots

This session looks at creative connectors (often the unsung heroes) and their experiences of turning synergy into tangible opportunity.

Q&A and Round Up

Young creatives consider the day’s conversations.



Supported by Business and Arts South Africa (BASA)

This cluster will look at the intersections of brand, business and the arts, and examine shared value and opportunities, from each perspective.

Creative Collaborations

Corporate and creative partnerships is it a catalyst for a different kind of creativity? Creative teams share their experiences of the power of ‘brand’ and the creation of shared value.

Future Markets

The creative is empowered to make agile choices regarding their audience/buyer’s engagement with their creative product or service, if they are better able to understand their market. This session explores innovative ways of doing this.

Pitch Perfect

Practical examples on how to pitch your concept/business or idea succesfully (or not) – whether you’ve got 30 seconds in a lift, 3 minutes over a drink, or 30 minutes in a boardroom.

Working with creatives, for non-creatives

Some practical examples and case studies on how best to work with creatives to leverage the opportunities for cohesive, innovative and exciting work either embedded in your business or alongside it.



These tours will take people into Braamfontein, Melville and surrounds to engage practically with new spaces and case studies, with the intention of stimulating innovation and inspiration.

Broader Crossings (Ithuba)

These artists share their highlights and challenges of creating work in different countries, across (virtual and physical) borders and cultural contexts.

In-site-ful tech (Tshimologong)

An opportunity to engage with performance created for the changing stage: through installation-based engagement, this showcases possibilities generated through the merging of the creative, artistic and digital worlds, and the resultant  potential for the development of online creative practice.

Business is Booming (Newtown Junction)

Exploring the possibilities for engagement between (big) business and the creative industries, this session has a case study focus on particular significant developments.

Walk the Talk (Melville)

A walking tour engaging with Melville of old and new, what was and what is; as a case study example exploring the life cycles of a creatively engaged community. Discussion sessions in Melville will explore the opportunities inherent in creative communities and stimulate possibilities for other spaces, partnerships and collaborations.


Where to From Here?

From philosophy to plans – a chance for a cohesive forward-moving community who requires that progression, to consolidate…

Ready, steady, go…

A party with conference goers and the public


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