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SA Cultural Observatory launches national workshop series in East London

Off the back of a wildly successful national conference in May, the South African Cultural Observatory (SACO) kicks off a nationwide roadshow of eight domain workshops in East London in July.

The SACO – a national public research entity of the Department of Arts & Culture (DAC), hosted by Nelson Mandela University, which promotes capacity-building across the cultural domains – is taking the organisation, its research, and its tools and frameworks to the people, the think tank said today. The first workshop takes place at the Mdantsane Arts Centre on July 27 – shortly after the National Arts Festival.  “Our domain workshop series is a critical part of stakeholder engagement to share the insights, trends, information and policy influencing South Africa’s creative economy and making a difference to creatives across South Africa,” said Njabulo Sithebe, SACO Deputy Director of Research and Strategic Engagement. “For example, the SACO is doing some ground-breaking research into the rural cultural and creative industries (CCIs) and the viability of a biannual or quarterly CCI Index. “We also recently launched a free online calculator to help festival and event organisers calculate the economic impact of their events on a host economy – the cities and towns – in which events are held. “Our research products, tools and our frameworks for monitoring and evaluation are all free for use – and it’s vital that we reach across South Africa to share this information and show those working in the arts, culture and heritage sectors and the CCIs how the SACO can support decision-making with good information.”

Tshesipo Mazibuko

The SACO’s broad research work will be outlined in the domain workshop series, which crisscrosses the country, starting in East London, then moving to Pietermaritzburg, Welkom, Paarl, Upington, Mafikeng, Vereeniging, Gauteng and Tzaneen between July and October. The workshop is open to all arts, culture and heritage sector and CCI practitioners and stakeholders; academics and researchers; interested parties from local, provincial and national government; arts managers, administrators, organisations, fundraisers and funders; event and festival organisers; and relevant stakeholders from civil society. “The CCIs have an increasingly important role to play in economic growth, development and employment creation,” said Prof Richard Haines, SACO Chief Executive. “We need to share this and other critical information, facilitate discussions and public engagement and develop a mutual understanding of the trends and challenges shaping the arts, culture and heritage sectors and CCIs through the workshops. “The workshops, in turn, will inform new studies we are doing this year to map the creative economy. We are excited to start this roadshow off in East London, but also to reach creatives across South Africa over the next few months to share content and research emanating from this very important project of the Department of Arts & Culture.”


DATE: 27 July 2017

TIME: 9:30am– 4pm / Registration from 8:30am

PLACE: Mdantsane Art Centre NU 3 9871 Mdantsane 5219

COST: Free – Lunch & refreshments will be served

RVSP: 20 July 2017

MORE INFO: 041 504 4930/

Registration for the East London workshop on 27 July needs to be completed online: Space is limited and would-be attendees are encouraged to sign up urgently to avoid disappointment.  

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