South African Cultural Observatory

Publications

SACO-#SACOConf2022-CreativeEconomyReset-Post-Conference-Publication-2024  Image
SACO-#SACOConf2022-CreativeEconomyReset-Post-Conference-Publication-2024 04.06.24 (PDF 4.75MB) The South African Cultural Observatory’s Fourth International Conference, or #SACOConf2022, took place at the end of 2022 amid trying times for all nations and people, but Africans in particular, as the impact and after-effects of COVID-19, climate change, heightened international conflict, disrupted supply chains, and mounting inflation collided to produce severe uncertainty for the world economy. At the time of publication, these challenges remain. For developing economies and the most vulnerable – many of whom are creatives doing precarious work – these crises amount to an ambush on global and local ambitions for the sustainable growth of nascent creative economies. Yet they are just symptomatic of an increasingly uncertain future of shocks for which we need to prepare and approach with trends in mind, cognisant of big challenges around sustainability, gender, inclusivity, and decolonisation; and the value of South-South cooperation and trade relations. Read More
Creative Economy Funding Landscape_Business Development - Landscape Shifts In South Africas Creative Economy Image
Creative Economy Funding Landscape_Business Development - Landscape Shifts In South Africas Creative Economy 04.06.24 (PDF 1.06MB) by Mariapoala McGurck 2022 Abstract The COVID-19 pandemic, whether by choice or force, has offered organisations and government entities an opportunity to re-evaluate their approach, priorities, and focal areas for internal and external development. Within the creative economy of South Africa, this re-evaluation has led to thematic shifts, as well as to the questioning of how the funding landscape functions and how it can make the sector more sustainable for all. This research is commissioned jointly by British Council and BASA (Business and Arts South Africa NPC) and it focuses on the current funding landscape of the creative economy in South Africa, according to research conducted with 100 BASA members. Read More
Publication Report - An input output model for the cultural and creative industries in South Africa and possible extensions Image
Publication Report - An input output model for the cultural and creative industries in South Africa and possible extensions 04.06.24 (PDF 1.60MB) All government interventions have got a purpose and a goal. Interventions require resources which are scarce. It is therefore important for government to know which interventions are going to realise the best impact. In many cases, it is easy to estimate what the output is going to be. However, it is more difficult to estimate what the impact is going to be. As the old cliché goes “if you can’t measure it you can’t manage it”. Read More
SACO Publication Report Rural Cultural Policy  Image
SACO Publication Report Rural Cultural Policy 04.06.24 (PDF 2.08MB) This document discusses the parameters and definitions associated with the terms cultural and policy within South Africa. Due to the marginalization of rural areas from mainstream urban cultural initiatives, we focus specifically on elucidating the features of rural cultural and heritage initiatives in South Africa. We do this in two ways: we examine how cultural policies may feature within the public and developmental rubric of international, national, provincial and local arenas; and we analyze our data to extract specific aspects of provincial cultural and heritage practice that may be useful in the of cultural policies for rural zones in South Africa. This specifically contributes to the mapping of cultural and heritage resources by the South African Cultural Observatory. Read More
Publication Report - The Role of Cultural and Creative Industries in Regenerating Urban and Rural Space and Economies in South Africa Image
Publication Report - The Role of Cultural and Creative Industries in Regenerating Urban and Rural Space and Economies in South Africa 04.06.24 (PDF 2.82MB) Creativity, knowledge and innovation have become increasingly important factors in driving regional economic, social and cultural development (Selada et al., 2011). Both in academic literature and in several national and international policy documents, creativity is considered to predominately be an urban phenomenon due to the fact that human, economic and institutional resources are generally concentrated in cities. The attraction and retention of talent, particularly Florida’s (2002) creative class, to small urban centres and rural areas can, however, be a solution to their economic revitalisation. Read More
Publication Report - Cultural Diplomacy Policy Framework  Image
Publication Report - Cultural Diplomacy Policy Framework 04.06.24 (PDF 0.87MB) Within the current field of international relations, there is little dispute that cultural diplomacy is a key diplomatic tool used by governments to advance their national interests. This point was emphasized in particular by the South African Cultural Observatory (SACO) in their recent report entitled, South Africa: Cultural Diplomacy and the National Interest. Among the report’s key findings is the clear lack of reference to the concept of cultural diplomacy within South African policy, particularly within the diplomatic corps; the report also indicated that current government-wide activities to promote South Africa’s image abroad are largely uncoordinated, underfunded and not linked to specific national objectives, including promoting regional stability and attracting foreign investment. In short, without appropriate policy instruments, Government lacks a dedicated in-house capacity to develop long-term relationships with other nations through various arts and culture programmes und Read More
Publication Report - Cultural and the National Interest - Discussion Document Image
Publication Report - Cultural and the National Interest - Discussion Document 04.06.24 (PDF 0.76MB) The mission of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) is to shape and sustain South African foreign policy and promote the growth and development of Africa.1 On the whole, the department’s record in advancing South Africa’s strategic interests during the post-apartheid era has been commendable. But, as one study recently concluded, DIRCO can do far better, suggesting inter alia that the diplomatic corps is not doing enough to promote South Africa’s most powerful and persuasive “global brand” – namely, its democratic credentials and values Read More
SACO - Publication Report - Realising The Economy of the Imagination, 2017, RJ Haines Image
SACO - Publication Report - Realising The Economy of the Imagination, 2017, RJ Haines 04.06.24 (PDF 1.63MB) The Economy of the Imagination and the Creative and Cultural Industries (CCIs) present many important socio-economic development options for South Africa. However, current economic options, in recent years, have been seemingly undermined by a slew of negative trends and factors: the increased balance of payments, low growth rates, persistent inequalities, the increased impact of climate change, and outraged social and student movements. These interlinked processes and experiences have added to the state’s financial burdens, and the rating agency’s move to downgrade South Africa’s status has impacted on the country’s economic and investment outlook. Read More
SACO  - A position paper on the nature, requirements and operationalisation of a Satellite Cultural Account for South Africa 2016 Image
SACO - A position paper on the nature, requirements and operationalisation of a Satellite Cultural Account for South Africa 2016 04.06.24 (PDF 2.20MB) As the old saying goes: “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”. Data is critical and without it is very difficult to know whether policies and implementation are successful or not. Data can also help identify where there are policy or implementation gaps that need to be rectified. The needs to be a clearly established metric for success. This will help can quantify progress and adjust processes to produce the desired outcome. Measurement is however difficult. This is particularly so in the cultural domain. Read More

Read Our Latest Report

Read Our Latest Report

Explore the Economic Mapping of the Cultural and Creative Industries in South Africa 2022 Capstone Report

The Cultural and Creative Industries (CCIs) in South Africa contribute to economic growth, employment, and international trade. The CCIs have potential for employment creation, skills development, social cohesion, and supporting the tourism industry. The “CCI Mapping Study 2022” provides updated information on the contribution of the CCIs to the South African economy.

The study is impacted by changes in the structure of the economy and the COVID-19 pandemic. The study analyses the GDP, employment, and international trade of the CCIs. South Africa has a trade surplus in Cultural and Natural Heritage trade and Visual Arts and Crafts. The study also examines cultural occupations and the impact of the pandemic on the CCIs. The Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal have significant shares of cultural occupations. South Africa's trade policy and agreements support the development of the CCIs.

The CCIs contribute approximately 3% of South Africa's total economic production. Design and Creative Services occupations have increased their share of cultural occupations. Women in cultural occupations were less affected by the pandemic compared to men. The study aims to provide reliable and internationally comparable statistics on the CCIs. Visual Arts and Crafts, Books and Press, and Performance and Celebration are the most significant domains for South Africa's cultural goods trade.

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Sport, arts & culture NNMU University of KwaZulu-Natal Rhodes University