An award-winning playwright, producer, actor and arts manager, Jacobs graduated from Tshwane University of Technology in 2001. He worked on various productions and events in the United Arab Emirates, Ireland and South Africa. In 2015, he was featured on the Mail & Guardian’s list of the top 200 noteworthy young South Africans. Commenting on his appointment, Jacobs said: ‘UJ is a dynamic institution that clearly values the arts and it has demonstrated its support with a compelling annual programme, so I am thrilled to be joining the Arts & Culture team.’ For the last seven years, he has been the Chief Executive Officer of the Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) and he is also currently the Chairman of Arterial Network South Africa (ANSA). Jacobs recently graduated cum laude with a Master in Arts degree from the School of Literature, Language, and Media at the University of the Witwatersrand. Under Jacobs’ stewardship of ACT, the value of the Trust’s endowment was grown by more than 15%. At the same time, he also managed to increase the amount of funding ACT disbursed to arts, culture and heritage projects across the country. He played a vital role in the Trust’s strategic planning and during his tenure, ACT launched a number of new programmes including a capacity and sustainability development programme, South Africa’s only performing arts scholarships initiative as well as spearheading an annual arts and culture conference.
“Heading up UJ Arts & Culture brings together a number of my passions. As underscored by a large body of research, art and creativity play a vital role in society. So receiving an opportunity to make a contribution in this sphere is a great privilege,” said Jacobs, who will take up the position on the 1st of August 2017. The Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (FADA) offers programmes in eight creative disciplines, expanding these fields beyond their traditional boundaries through internal and external collaborations. It has a strong focus on sustainability and relevance, and engages actively with the dynamism, creativity and diversity of Johannesburg in imagining new approaches to art and design education. Equipped with state-of-the art, custom-built facilities, the Faculty is staffed by highly regarded academics, artists and designers. The Faculty is also home to UJ Arts & Culture, based on the Auckland Park Campus, and produces and presents world-class student and professional arts programmes aligned to the UJ vision of an international university of choice, anchored in Africa, dynamically shaping the future. A robust range of arts platforms are offered on all four UJ campuses for students, staff, alumni and the general public to experience and engage with emerging and established Pan-African and international artists drawn from the full spectrum of the arts.