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Sunday, March 8, 2015


ACT, in partnership with UJ Arts & Culture and British Council Connect ZA, present this year’s ACT | UJ Conference entitled Creatives Make it Happen from March 8 to 10.

Thought-leaders in the creative and business sectors will gather for the two and a half day knowledge-exchange forum, developed into a new cluster format. The focus will be on themes around creative entrepreneurship opportunities and trends in South Africa, on the continent and globally. It is hoped that the wide-range of people in attendance will be inspired, enlightened, and use the opportunity to grow personal networks.

“It has become more important than ever for those participating in the broader cultural and creative sectors to engage with ideas that will help bolster an industry that is often thought of as unsustainable” says Arts & Culture Trust’s CEO, Pieter Jacobs. “This year’s ACT | UJ Arts & Culture Conference presents a platform for parties involved in informal and formal structures of the arts, and both businesses and practicing creatives, to find ways to take things to the next level. We have no doubt that the topics interrogated during this programme will act as a catalyst for wonderful things to happen.”

Building on the success of previous gatherings, this conference promises to offer challenging presentations from local and international industry mavericks. The official opening of proceedings on the first evening will kick-off with well-respected trend analyst Dion Chang of Flux Trends offering his insights in a scene-setting presentation. This will form part of an experimental evening of food and fun where presenters and delegates will get to network by taking part in a ‘Food Jam’, run by 2012 Masterchef finalist Jade de Waal.

The second day will open with Kathleen Stokes from UK-based innovation charity NESTA looking at creating opportunities through collaboration, interrogating what drives current human behaviour and the role that plays in the collaborative economy on a global scale. Stokes will look at trends, similarities and differences in various parts of the world, providing a context for understanding the way that global shifts influence South Africa and the African continent at large.

Facilitated by City Press #trending Editor Gugulethu Mhlungu, a panel discussion with Zahira Asmal, Malose Malahlele, Lisa Jaffe and Brett Pyper will ‘call the elephant into the room’ to address tensions affecting the creative industries.

Professional problem solver and African Business Director for Instant Grass, Dali Tembo, will unpack the idea of ‘Reverse Innovation’ in Back to our Future, providing an overview of our local context in terms of what is influencing the ways people living and working in South Africa think and operate, and providing insight into how a creative perspective might add value.

In Ts and Cs Apply, Nhlanhla Paul Sibisi, Gareth Cotton and Monica Seeber will help those working in the creative industries navigate the formal structures which govern and affect the sector. Through sharing of expertise and resources, this discussion aims to reduce barriers of language, understanding, and access to information; around complex governance issues such as policy, procedure and law.

The second part of the day will appeal to creatives, entrepreneurs, artists and sector enablers, and includes discussions that consider practical examples from participants who will share their experiences of alternatively inspired concepts.

Contributors to the conversation include the likes of Editor-in-chief of creative showcase Between 10and5 Alix-Rose Cowie, Bob Perfect from Durban is Yours, Manager of Alexander Upstairs Jon Keevy, Executive Director of the GoDown Arts Centre Joy Mboya, Munyaradzi Chatikobo of Drama for Life, City Soiree brainchild Gerhard Maree, Director of VANSA Molemo Moiloa, digital music curator and AfriPOP! Editor Phiona Okuma, Co-founder and Co-Director of ACCRA[dot]ALT Sionne Neely, Communications and Marketing Manager for ASSITEJ SA Yusrah Bardien, Founder of Black Major Sevi Spanoudi, dynamic independent filmmaker Sibs Shongwe-La Mer, Red Eye Durban director Suzy Bell, wordsmith and CEO of Word n Sound ‘Afurukan’ Thabiso Mahare, Ismail Mahomed of the National Arts Festival, arts manager Caryn Green of Drama for Life, and co-founder of Creative Nestlings Dillion Phiri

The ACT | UJ Arts & Culture Conference is presented by the Arts & Culture Trust, UJ Arts & Culture and British Council Connect ZA, with support from the Department of Arts and Culture, Business and Arts South Africa (BASA), SAMRO Foundation, Pro Helvetia, the Delegation of the European Union in South Africa, the SA-UK Seasons 2014 & 2015; and media partners Classicfeel magazine and UJfm. The conference will run from the 8 - 10 March 2015, based at the University of Johannesburg (UJ).

Tickets are available via Tickets range from R200 for one cluster, to R1,000 for a full conference pass (Clusters 1 to 5). Student passes are R350 for attendance at Clusters 2 to 5. To stay up to date with information and opportunities, visit