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Funding, and the lack of it, and how to make the arts economically viable are the themes of a conference at UJ with the Arts and Culture Trust.
A TWO-DAY arts and culture conference at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) will cast the spotlight on the state of the arts and culture sector in South Africa. It will also look at how to make the arts economically viable.

Arts and Culture TrustThe conference is aimed at bridging the divide between policymakers and arts practitioners. It will take place on 24 and 25 May on Kingsway Campus in Auckland Park, and will be hosted by the Arts and Culture Trust (ACT).

The theme of the conference is “The art of the creative economy” and it is targeted at people directly or indirectly involved in the arts.

Speakers will be art practitioners and administrators, cultural activists and academics. They will include poet Wally Mongane Serote, Generations executive producer Mfundi Vundla, and actor Mpho Molepo.

The conference will culminate in the publication of the first ACT | UJ South African Arts and Culture Listing, an up-to-date national database of industry stakeholders.

“The conference will explore the landscape of the country’s creative arts sector and discuss and debate the plans and policies aimed at stimulating the sector,” explains Gilly Nemphill, a publicist at The Famous Idea.

Nemphill says the conference will focus on theatre, dance, music, literature, film, arts journalism, visual arts, craft and heritage. Funding – or the lack of funding – for the arts will also be highlighted.

Policies, plans and strategies aimed at stimulating economic activity for the arts will be discussed. “It will offer insights into funding of the arts and provide constructive guidelines to improve access to funding avenues and opportunities,” Nemphill says.

Topics include: The world as a creative economy; Art as the new frontier of leadership; Art for art or art for audiences and Art and performance in the digital age.

Trish Downing, a member of the conference content team, says it presents “an exciting time” for the arts and culture sector. “Through this conference we hope to address the divide that exists between policymakers and practitioners by creating a space in which these important conversations can happen,” she points out.

Conference registration costs R500 per delegate. To register, visit the ACT website. Nemphill says the registration fee covers a cocktail and networking session, a visit to the Gerard de Leeuw Centenary exhibition at the UJ Art Gallery and free tickets for the musical, Forbidden Broadway.

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