South African Cultural Observatory

Rhodes University joins consortium in SACO tender win

BY 28.09.18

A FIVE-YEAR tender to run the South African Cultural Observatory (SACO) has been granted to a consortium of universities including Rhodes University, Nelson Mandela University, University of Fort Hare, and the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Led by Nelson Mandela University, the award of the tender represents a significant investment by the South African government into research on the cultural and creative economy.

The SACO is a national research centre established in 2015 and mandated by the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC). “The initial SACO project was run by Nelson Mandela University, Rhodes University and the University of Fort Hare. For the second bid the partnership expanded to include the University of KwaZulu-Natal,” explained Jen Snowball, Professor at Rhodes University’s Department of Economics.

Prof Snowball is the chief research strategist at the SACO.

The SACO supports the collection and analysis of data, influences policy, shares insights and builds on the intellectual capacity gained across the arts, culture, and heritage sectors. “Its focus is on the potential of the cultural and creative industries to contribute to social cohesion, job creation, and economic growth, rather than just being a sector that requires subsidising,” said Prof Snowball.

Historically, cultural economics represents a niche research area in South Africa. “There are very few cultural economists in the country. It’s just not an area most economists specialise in. So it’s been difficult to get academic economists interested in the value and analysis of cultural economics, but we are seeing growth as people increasingly understand the importance of the sector,” Prof Snowball said.

Earlier this year, SACO and the DAC held its third annual international conference to discuss trends and issues in international, national, and regional economies, which helped cast a light on the research underway and the socio-economic activities already

“We had a very large delegation, and the Minister of the DAC was there to give an opening address,” said Prof Snowball. “Interest in the SACO continues to grow year-on-year.”

Although the SACO operates primarily as a think-tank, research is not the exclusive focus. “We also run the conferences, provide bursaries for students who are conducting sector related studies, host training workshops with to find out what is happening in the sector, share ideas about how cultural economics can be reported on, provide monitoring and evaluation services, and we’ve developed an online economic impact calculator for festivals and cultural events,” explained Prof Snowball. “It’s more of an applied research exercise.”

Over the next five years, Prof Snowball would like to see more Rhodes academic staff contributing to the SACO, from across the different departments and the various research institutes. “This will not only make the research more valuable, but it will expand the Rhodes University contribution to the SACO,” she said. “There is significant potential in integrating, business, media, technology, and the arts with economics.”

Interview with SACO Chief Research Strategist Jeanette Snowball Interview with SACO Chief Research Strategist Jeanette Snowball

READ an interview with SACO Chief Research Strategist Jeanette Snowball in a monograph on cultural participation and wellbeing by the Social Observatory of la Caixa. Prof Snowball talks about how “one of the functions of art is to open up debates in society”.

READ MORE
Transformation and Job Creation in the Cultural & Creative Industries in South Africa Transformation and Job Creation in the Cultural & Creative Industries in South Africa

THE Cultural and Creative Industries (CCIs) have been hailed as offering great potential to create jobs and to be socially inclusive. This study investigates to what extent the CCIs in South Africa are moving towards more inclusive and racially diverse patterns in their ownership and employment profiles. Using a survey of 2400 randomly selected CCIs, it compares ownership and employment patterns across the six UNESCO Cultural Domains to determine their contribution to black economic empowerment (transformation) within the various domains.

READ MORE

‘Creativity is potential currency in the fourth industrial revolution’ ‘Creativity is potential currency in the fourth industrial revolution’

THE world as we know it is changing. We are already living in the technological future. The fourth industrial revolution is fundamentally disrupting the way we think, work and interact with each other and, in it, culture and creativity can be one of the major currencies, argue Prof Richard Haines (SA Cultural Observatory CEO) and Rosemary Mangope (National Arts Council CEO).

READ MORE
‘Creative Industries can drive economic growth, job creation’ – report ‘Creative Industries can drive economic growth, job creation’ – report

SOUTH African Cultural Observatory (SACO) Chief Research Strategist Prof Jen Snowball’s recent paper with Serge Hasidi on cultural employment in South Africa explores the role of the Cultural and Creative Industries (CCIs) in facilitating job creation and economic growth in South Africa.

READ MORE

More News
Nelson Mandela University, Rhodes celebrate award of SACO 2 tender Nelson Mandela University, Rhodes celebrate award of SACO 2 tender

NELSON Mandela University and Rhodes University are celebrating the institutional coup of the award of the South African Cultural Observatory tender by the Department of Arts and Culture to a consortium of four South African universities.

Fourth Annual Fruits of Democracy Awards Fourth Annual Fruits of Democracy Awards

THE Fruits of Democracy Awards, established in 2015, aspires to be a cultural marker in Nelson Mandela Bay where young movers and shakers of the Eastern Cape converge to be recognised for the excellence they display in the work that they do in different sectors.

Nelson Mandela University wins coveted SACO contract Nelson Mandela University wins coveted SACO contract

NELSON Mandela University together with a consortium of three university partners have been awarded a multi-year contract to advance the operations of the South African Cultural Observatory (SACO) and support the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC).

New directions: Five years, five key goals New directions: Five years, five key goals

PASSIONATE creative economy champion and researcher, Unathi Lutshaba, has been appointed Executive Director of the South African Cultural Observatory after a consortium of Universities led by Nelson Mandela University won a five year tender to ensure South Africa’s creative economy is well mapped, understood and analysed. Here are her key goals for the next five years.

Meet the new SA Cultural Observatory Executive Director Meet the new SA Cultural Observatory Executive Director

MEET the new SA Cultural Observatory Executive Director Unathi Lutshaba. Miss Lutshaba is a passionate economist and sociologist. She was recently appointed into the role of Executive Director of the South African Cultural Observatory, after two years as its Research Manager.

Connect with us