Minister Mthethwa to open SA Cultural Observatory 2018 International Conference

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06 Mar 2018

Minister Nathi Mthethwa and its research arm, the South African Cultural Observatory (SACO), will open the SACO’s 2018 International Conference tomorrow. The conference starts on Wednesday 7 March at 9am and runs for two days at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, in Port Elizabeth.

Initiated by the Department of Arts and Culture, through the Mzansi Golden Economy Strategy, the South African Cultural Observatory (SACO) is a statistical and socio-economic research institute, launched in 2015, to map the socio-economic impact of the arts, culture and heritage (ACH) sectors and the cultural and creative industries (CCIs) in South Africa.

The conference will showcase the culmination of three years of research by the cultural think tank, as well as formal research and insights-led presentations from across the ACH sectors and CCIs.

Since it was established in 2015, the main purpose of the SACO is the development of a cultural information system which continuously captures cultural data and monitors and evaluates government initiatives in the ACH sectors and CCIs.

“The importance of having a comprehensive cultural information system rests on the acknowledgement that without knowledge and data, we cannot know ourselves and our country better. This is why the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) conceptualised the establishment of the South African Cultural Observatory (SACO), in 2011 as part of the Mzansi Golden Economy (MGE) Strategy,” said Minister Mthethwa.

The conference brings together local and international academics and creative practitioners to debate, discuss and deliver insights into what the future of the creative economy holds for South Africa and beyond. Critically, the results of the DAC-SACO ‘Employment in the Cultural and Creative Industries in South Africa’ report will also be discussed.

“Our understanding of the creative and cultural economy is much expanded through the work of the SACO. We can now use critical information to inform our policy and decision-making processes to ensure that we both transform the economy and create meaningful work leveraging off the golden economy,” added Minister Mthethwa.

In addition, the conference covers some of the big debates in creative economy trends and issues both nationally and regionally. These include:

  • urban culture and the creative city;
  • the expanding role of film;
  • new directions in technology, digital and innovation;
  • opportunities in employment, soft skills and training and education;
  • international trade;
  • heritage and tourism; and
  • broadly the nature and make-up of the creative economy.

The conference will run from Wednesday 7 March 2018 to Thursday 8 March 2018 at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

The SACO is headquartered in Nelson Mandela Bay – hosted by Nelson Mandela University on behalf of the Department of Arts and Culture, in partnership with Rhodes University and the University of Fort Hare – but operates nationally.

For further information on the South African Cultural Observatory 2018 International Conference, please contact Amy-Louise Shelver on +27 (0)71 880 4831/ or Zimasa Velaphi at 072 172 8925 /