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Inspiring innovation in the creative sector: A Q&A with NAC CEO Rosemary Mangope

Rosemary Mangope National Arts Council CEO NAC
Rosemary Mangope

CF: Why the focus on innovation around the creation and dissemination of digital content as well as e-commerce in the arts ecosystem for Stream 2 of the applications?
RM: We are looking for proposals that demonstrate the reimagining of how we reach our audiences as a result of the pandemic. I don’t think it’s sustainable to be working under the conditions of social distancing and the observation of regulations put in place as a result of Covid 19. Our theatres, our concert halls and venues – it is incredibly difficult for them to carry on in this way because energy from an audience is vital. When you see another person who is acknowledging your work, that alone energises you and positively impacts your performance. So, proposals that reimagine how we reach target audiences, and rethinking how we deliver our product are very important. Creativity and ambition are also key and we want to see ambition that has a ripple effect – the multiplier effect is important, because these will be short term projects that need to conclude in three months and have the ability to create positive and generative impacts on the creative economy.
We are looking to energise the sector as a whole first and foremost, but we sincerely would like to see applicants showing us their innovation. We are incentivising innovation and we are primarily looking for those kinds of projects that will unite and inspire people, as well as make the sector more visible.

CF: Lastly, how else has the NAC been working to support and sustain the arts this year?
RM: This year, we have offered Covid 19 relief to pre-existing beneficiaries. So, we had beneficiaries who had applied and were busy with their projects, but because they could not continue their work or could not pivot to digital, we offered them 25% of the balance of their project funding budget. Then we also asked our beneficiaries to indicate whether or not they could use digital platforms, and reimagine their projects for online delivery. Those that could were then paid their full tranches.
      We also provided relief funding for artists who had lost income as a result of Covid-19. In addition to providing funding, we have also been part of disbursing the payments of the first Wave of the DSAC relief funding. Here, we didn’t adjudicate work or assess projects or proposals, we were simply in charge of disbursing funding.

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