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Making the most of lockdown: In conversation with UJ’s Pieter Jacobs

Virtual exhibitions, online performances, and digital modes of engagement have increasingly become the norm. Whichever way you feel about them, there’s no denying that, over the course of the global Covid-19 pandemic, they’ve helped us to engage with, produce, and be inspired by the arts in a time when we’ve needed them the most.

It’s also largely down to the early adopters of these digital modes of engagement that we were able to get to grips with virtual art and performance. Back in March 2020 when South Africa’s first hard lockdown was looming, UJ Arts & Culture were already at the drawing board, figuring out how to adapt, innovate, and translate a sizeable events programme into a virtual format, accessible to students, artists, and art-lovers everywhere.

More than a year later, we sat down with the Head of UJ Arts & Culture, Pieter Jacobs to find out more about how he and his dynamic team navigated such uncertain times. Jacobs, who’s an award-winning playwright, producer, actor, and arts manager, has held the position of CEO at Arts and Culture Trust, served as chairperson of ANSA, and holds an MA in the School of Literature, Language, and Media from Wits University.

We spoke with him about the past four years of being at the helm of UJ Arts & Culture, and what the next few years will look like:

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