South African Cultural Observatory

Join Future Festivals South Africa to map new possibilities for Festivals in the Age of Covid-19

BY Prof Jen. Snowball 17.12.20

Festivals have been one of the sectors most affected by Covid-19 globally. Arts and culture festivals provide all kinds benefits to host economies, artistic producers, and to audiences, and have been increasing in number worldwide and in South Africa. Festivals provide important platforms for artists and performers to showcase new work, network with potential sponsors and future creative partners, connect with audiences, build their reputation and earn some income. For audiences, festivals can be spaces of experimentation and learning, as well as opportunities for entertainment, meeting new people, and building inter-cultural understanding.

In economic terms, festivals contribute to livelihoods and local economic development of host cities. A recent national mapping study of the South African creative economy showed that the “Performance and Celebration” domain, which includes all live music, performance arts, and festivals, grew at a faster annual rate (3.4%) than the rest of the economy (1.1%) between 2016 and 2018 (SACO Mapping Study, 2020).

Early research on the impact of the COVID-19 shut-down on the creative economy showed that the Performance and Celebration domain (which includes all live music, performance arts, and festivals), was the hardest hit sector in the creative economy.

In response to the pandemic and the sector’s fast-changing needs, researchers from King’s College London and Rhodes University have launched a new research initiative: Future Festivals South Africa: Possibilities for the Age of Covid-19 (www.future-festivals.org) in partnership with the South African Cultural Observatory.

This international collaborative project is funded by the UK Arts & Humanities Research Council. It aims to investigate the impact of Covid-19 on arts festivals in South Africa – and to support festivals in surviving these challenging times, and to thrive in the future.

Part of the work of the Future Festivals South Africa project is to track the impact of the lockdown and social distancing measured put in place, as well as the adaptation strategies used by festivals that did continue. Of the cultural festivals we have mapped so that, , only 43 out of 74 that ran in 2019, took place in 2020. Adaptation strategies included postponement, having smaller "pop-up" mini events , moving online to have a "virtual" digital festival , or a hybrid (online and "live") event .

The outcomes of this initial mapping are available on the project website http://www.future-festivals.org/  and feedback from festival organisers is welcomed. 

In addition to researching specific festivals, the project will be running some online seminars and workshops that will be used to share research findings, and hear how festival producers and creatives have adapted to the lockdown conditions, and their plans for the future.

If you work as a manager of an arts and culture festival in South Africa, we would like to hear from you!

Please email futurefestivalssouthafrica@gmail.com to be invited to take part in the project research activities and network. If you simply want to keep up to the date with the research project, register on this mailing list and you will receive regular updates.

From Shipping Container to the Mall of Thembisa - Africa's Ultimate Braai Experience ®? From Shipping Container to the Mall of Thembisa - Africa's Ultimate Braai Experience ®?

Founded in 1997, Imbizo Shisanyama is one of South Africa’s most acclaimed African cuisine restaurants that celebrate the authentic African culture and heritage.

READ MORE
Standing Up for Dance and Theatre Standing Up for Dance and Theatre

The arts and culture sector in South Africa has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Even though theatres are open under Lockdown Level 1, audiences are considered to be primary vectors of the virus.

READ MORE

Three Solo shows: Turiya Magadlela, Bronwyn Katz and Herman Mbamba At Blank Projects Three Solo shows: Turiya Magadlela, Bronwyn Katz and Herman Mbamba At Blank Projects

RELOCATED to larger premises in Woodstock, Blank Projects is a wonderful space for art. In this premier show, three artists present distinct methods and processes that may be understood in various ways. Magadlela’s “Wabana lapho isifebe, wangena kuso” employs pantyhose on canvas to great effect; Katz uses bed wiring and Mbamba uses acrylics within the context of torn pages from Norwegian fashion magazines.

READ MORE
Dream Rift At Eclectica Design & Art Dream Rift At Eclectica Design & Art

PERCEPTION is often no more than a construction, be it natural/genetic or social/environmental. The value of art lies in its reminding us that perception can be reconstructed, revised and perhaps understood or simply appreciated as esoteric. One way in which such an evaluation can take place is by highlighting the permeable boundary between dreams and what is referred to as reality. Could it be that reality is a mass delusion? Such speculations arrive at satisfactory visual analogues in the form of the artworks on show, each artist developing his/her own language in what can be conceived as an interrogation of the liminal space between the real and the imagined and ultimately between life and death.

READ MORE

More News
A Highlight On Our Recently Published Reports: A Highlight On Our Recently Published Reports:

The SA Cultural Observatory continues to produce valuable reports that are aimed at empowering policy makers, decisions makers and the various industry stakeholders to make informed decisions on aspects that contribute in developing and growing the industry.

African Music Vol 11,2 now available online African Music Vol 11,2 now available online

For those interested in music from the African Continent, it is worth noting that the that the African Music Vol 11,2 is now available online. Many of the articles in this edition first saw the light of day as papers presented at the ICTM Study Group on African Musics, held in Accra in August 2018.

Dr Cynthia Khumalo’s Appointment to DSAC Benefits the Sector Dr Cynthia Khumalo’s Appointment to DSAC Benefits the Sector

In a year as difficult as 2020 has been for the cultural and creative industries, positive developments are to be highly welcomed. One such development is the successful recruitment of Dr Cynthia Ntombifuthi Khumalo to join the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture.

Executive Direction December 2020 Executive Direction December 2020

As we close the year 2020, it is pretty difficult to decide as to where to start, what to talk about and what not to talk about. Just thinking about the year evokes and riles so many emotions at every level imaginable.

From Shipping Container to the Mall of Thembisa - Africa's Ultimate Braai Experience ®? From Shipping Container to the Mall of Thembisa - Africa's Ultimate Braai Experience ®?

Founded in 1997, Imbizo Shisanyama is one of South Africa’s most acclaimed African cuisine restaurants that celebrate the authentic African culture and heritage.

Connect with us