South African Cultural Observatory’s call for policy conference abstracts extended again

South African Cultural Observatory again extends call for submission for abstracts for post Covid-19 creative and cultural conference

By Edward Tsumele, CITYLIFE/ARTS Editor

The South African Cultural Observatory (SACO) has for the second time extended the call for abstracts for a forthcoming policy conference to map a new path for the creative sector after the devastation of the past two years by Covid-19. This is the second time in three weeks that SACO has extend  the call for the abstracts that seek to point a way forward to rebuild the creative and cultural sector almost dismantled by the Pandemic.

The body, which is the initiative of the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture but is staffed and manned by academics and researchers at Rhodes University and the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in the Eastern Cape, however the further extension of the call is necessitated by the request from the creative sector which needs more time.

The South African Cultural Observatory (SACO) has, as of August 30 received a substantial number of abstracts and significant interest from industry stakeholders keen to present papers at the fourth SACO International Conference, set to take place on 9 and 10 November in Pretoria.

 However, an industry hungry for the opportunity to reflect on past and future crises has pleaded for more time to make quality submissions. As such, the deadline for the call for abstracts, papers and presentations has been extended to 9 September 2022,”Saco said in a media statement yesterday.

 ”The response has been overwhelming and heartening,” says SACO executive director, Unathi Lutshaba. “We’re excited to host a global conference to tackle the big issue of how to re-set the creative economy in the wake of COVID-19 and new and emerging crises.”

 Several key industry stakeholders pleaded with SACO to give them “a little more time to fine-tune their submissions” due to time constraints compounded by the summer break – and extreme heat, especially in the northern hemisphere.

To ensure that the conference is inclusive and draws from a diverse range of voices and perspectives from north and south, the Observatory decided to extend the abstract submission deadline by 10 days to close of business on Friday, September 9th.

SACO, in partnership with the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, will host the conference on 9 and 10 November 2022 at the CSIR International Convention Centre in Pretoria, Tshwane.

Organised under the theme Creative economy reset: Structuring the creative and cultural industries for a sustainable and inclusive future, the conference will discuss issues facing the creative industries (CCIs) against the background of challenges imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic. The conference will be hosted in a hybrid format to cater for both domestic and international participants and to allow diverse stakeholders to participate.

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. 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).

 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,” the stamen further states.

 To submit an abstract, do so inline here: or  alternatively visit the SACO website

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