South African Cultural Observatory

Strong call for creative economy re-set amid COVID-19 fallout for industry

BY Mboneni Mulaudzi 18.08.22

SA Cultural Observatory issues call for papers to chart new path for cultural and creative industries

The creative industries carried us through the darkest days of the COVID-19 crisis through music, film, literature, craft and more. But the long-term impact of the pandemic – prolonged closures and lack of social security – has hit the world’s creatives hardest, as the most precarious and vulnerable of workers.

The creative economy needs a re-set, says the South African Cultural Observatory (SACO), ahead of an international conference it will host later in the year to address this topic.

The SA Cultural Observatory is a project of the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, tasked with measuring the economic value of the South Africa’s cultural and creative sector.

“In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, the creative economy needs more than just a recovery plan. We need a re-set that frames and maps a more sustainable and inclusive future for the industry. On one hand the Covid-19 crises has negatively impacted the sector in a significant manner, and on the other, technology continues to change and redefine the landscape for all industries in ways not seen before,” said Unathi Lutshaba, SACO Executive Director.

Calling for a re-set that works for all

Earlier in the week, SACO announced its 4th SACO International Conference scheduled for November 2022 under the theme “Creative economy reset: Structuring the creative and cultural industries for a sustainable and inclusive future”.

The observatory has previously hosted three international conferences but has not done so since 2018. The call is broad-based and aims to cover a wide range of issues affecting the cultural and creative industries (CCIs).

Scheduled to take place on 9 and 10 November in Tshwane, South Africa, the conference will be hosted in a hybrid format allowing for participation locally and globally and to ensure that a diverse range of voices are included.

The event is hosted in partnership with the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, and aims to bring together local and international thinkers, academics, industry stakeholders, funders, cultural practitioners and artists.

The sub-themes cover a range of topics centred on how the industry can rebuild, consolidate and innovate to grow and support sustainable livelihoods

COVID-19 forced many industries to rethink how they operate, offer their products and services, and generally how they relate to the rest of the world.

Ms. Lutshaba said “now is the time to bring the world’s creative community and South African creatives together to map a way forward that is practical and implementable”.

She added that “the conference seeks to help the industry reset in a positive way, secure a new status quo; and future-proof and prepare for shockwaves such as economic uncertainty, climate change, economic crises or high impact conflicts”.

Conference attendees will engage, debate, learn and collaborate by sharing experiences and innovative strategies with a view to leveraging these lessons in the future.

Sub-themes include: a) Dealing with disruption: trends, developments and responses: global perspectives on the creative economy; b)The cartography of the new creative economy; c) Constructing, categorizing and revaluing the creative economy; d) International trade and creative markets; e) The creative economy and digital transformation; and f) Funding, financing and investing in the creative economy.

The call for abstracts, papers and presentations is open to all local and international industry stakeholders to submit potential topics for discussion at the conference.

To find out more about the themes and sub-themes to be tackled at the conference visit: https://www.southafricanculturalobservatory.org.za/2022-saco-conference/ or alternatively visit the SACO website www.southafricanculturalobservatory.org.za.

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