South African Cultural Observatory
Cultural and Creative Sector Responses to Covid-19: Survey

Please take a few minutes to answer a few questions about the impact of Covid19.

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Research Agenda

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Upcoming SACO Workshops

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South African Cultural Observatory

The South African Cultural Observatory (SACO) is a national statistical and socio-economic research project, established by the Department of Arts & Culture, with the purpose of developing a comprehensive cultural information system in South Africa. The South African Cultural Observatory is hosted by and based at the Nelson Mandela University, and co-hosted in partnership with Rhodes University the University of Fort Hare and the University of Kwazulu-Natal. The primary cultural domains, as idenitifed by UNESCO, such as arts, tourism, heritage, libraries and museums, are the main research focus of the SACO and such research will support the development of intellectual capacity across these sectors.

The key functions of the South African Cultural Observatory include the following:

  • Policy focused research (surveys, case studies)
  • Reviews of current programmes
  • M&E – impact of government spending
  • Collection of statistics (databases)
  • Physical and Online access
  • Networking, sharing, partnerships

Executive Direction - From the desk of...

Executive Direction April 2020

With the disastrous havoc wreaked by the Coronavirus, the world as we knew it yesterday is no more. As humans that occupy the planet earth, we have never found ourselves in this position, at least not in modern times.


Latest News

How SA Music Professionals can make the most of the lockdown

To our Friends, Colleagues, Artists, Venue Owners and Promoters and all those active in the Music Business community. This letter is a proposed checklist for all of you who want to do your best to use self-isolation to maximise our time to ensure we can come back into the world stronger than ever before.

COVID-19 Sport, Arts and Culture Relief Fund submission date looming

Monday, the 6th of April 2020, will be the last day of accepting the applications for the COVID-19, Sports, Arts and Culture Relief Fund.

South African Festival Economic Impact Calculator

When normality returns, and South Africans are able to converge, gather and participate in various events and activities, it will perhaps be even more critical for the organisers to understand the economic value of these events.

DR Esther Mahlangu continues to shine through her art

Dr Esther Mahlangu’s memorable artistic exploits and talent make her stand out and continues to attract international recognition. Her work was recently featured at a Cape Town exhibition titled Abstractions of a Culture: Towards a Retrospective.

Charlize Theron and Trevor Noah’s Oscar nominations important for our industry

Earlier in the year both Charlize Theron and Trevor Noah were nominated for different roles in their respective fields. They were both not announced winners in their nominated categories, BUT, that was not the most important thing about their nomination.

Remembering Joseph Shabalala of Black Mambazo

The SA music industry is poorer today after the passing of Ladysmith Black Mambazo founder, Joseph Shabalala two months ago. His was inspiring story for a man who made his life a success in the industry from humble beginnings, including his life as a migrant worker.

Word from DAC

Department of Sport, Arts and Culture: Sector relief framework and criteria

Our country is dealing with a national emergency, as all efforts of the government, private sector and civil society combine to fight the health disaster that threatens to ensue with the rapid spread of COVID-19 across our provinces.


The 360: News from around the world

World Conference on Creative Economy

INDONESIA is planning to hold the first ever “World Conference on Creative Economy” (WCCE), involving stakeholders and representatives from governments, private sectors, think-tanks, civil society, international organizations, as well as media and experts in the creative economy.


Open Source: Latest research for download

EU Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market

COPYRIGHT is a big issue in the digital age. The copyright debate is raging largely between the European Union (EU) and the big technology giants. EU lawmakers have been working for two years on proposed legislation aimed at updating copyright for the digital age.


Progress Report: Updates on CO achievements

SACO recognized and cited by the UNCTAD

The South African Cultural Observatory (SACO) was given a boost with last week’s release of the UN’s Creative Economy Outlook and Country Profile report, giving the institution a fitting recognition.


More News
Unpacking The Disparity Between Employment Levels And Contribution To GDP Within The Craft Sector Unpacking The Disparity Between Employment Levels And Contribution To GDP Within The Craft Sector

The Visual Arts and Craft are recognised in many countries as having the potential to create employment and contribute to GDP. The 2018 SA Cultural Observatory mapping study showed that the Visual Arts and Crafts Domain accounts for 53% of industry jobs, but only accounted for 8% of the sector’s contribution to GDP.

Quantifying the State of South African Museums from a Supply Side Perspective Quantifying the State of South African Museums from a Supply Side Perspective

Museums have a long, and sometimes controversial, history in South Africa. Cultural institutions, like museums, can be powerful in telling the “authorised” version of our histories, in shaping national identity and in building social cohesion, as well as contributing to education and research through their collection, archiving and conservation of artefacts.

The Overlaps Between The Digital And Creative Sectors: Innovation And Technology In The Creative Economy The Overlaps Between The Digital And Creative Sectors: Innovation And Technology In The Creative Economy

This research sought to examine the nexus between digital technologies, innovation, intellectual property, and diversity in the cultural and creative industries (CCIs). It is part of an international collaboration between the SA Cultural Observatory and researchers at the UK’s Coventry and Newcastle Universities.

Industry Insights from Our Research Industry Insights from Our Research

In the previous Newsletter edition, we started sharing some interesting insights from our research. For the benefit of our new readers, it is perhaps worthwhile to share with them the reason for our existence.

Media Statement: Impact Assessment of COVID-19 on the Industry Media Statement: Impact Assessment of COVID-19 on the Industry

All industries across the globe are currently fully engaged in discussions about and considering the economic impact of Covid-19 (widely known as the Coronavirus).

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arts & culture NNU University of Fort Hare Rhodes University University of KwaZulu-Natal