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Friday, February 10, 2017


The South African Cultural Observatory (SACO) is hosting a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) workshop for creatives, academics, economists, government officials and researchers next week in Durban.

The M&E capacity-building workshop hopes to create an understanding of how one can go about monitoring and evaluating publicly funded Arts, Culture and Heritage projects, the SACO said.

SACO Chief Economist and Research Strategist, Prof. Jen Snowball, from Rhodes University, will be delivering the workshop with Prof Geoff Antrobus, SACO Senior Research Fellow.

According to Snowball, the cultural and creative industries have an increasingly important role to play in economic growth, development and employment creation. “Tracking the impact of public and private funding in the cultural sector helps to monitor policy and funding effectiveness and to identify high-potential sectors,” she said. “The workshop will address questions relating to the expression of the value of arts and culture, and how that value can be measured using a valuation framework linked to indicators.”

Using the Mzansi Golden Economy (MGE) funding initiative as an example, the course demonstrates how different kinds of value can be expressed and how the valuation framework can be applied to a diverse range of arts, culture and heritage projects.

The course is presented from the point of view of both arts funders (public and private) and industry practitioners and managers who wish to demonstrate the value of their projects to funders, communities and society at large.

The creative community is excited about the opportunity to learn more about M&E methodologies. Palesa Mopeli, a Masters student at Wits University, said she was looking forward to developing a deeper understanding of M&E. “I look forward to learning about how best M&E can be done especially regards to public funded projects. I think M&E is especially important for future projects. “Often the focus is on the implementation of projects and as a result we neglect monitoring the project’s development – understanding the things that work and those that don’t work. Including M&E in projects means that these issues are dealt with as they arise and can be mitigated in future projects – leading to better implementation and better outcomes.”

Thobile Sifunda from the KZN Department of Arts and Culture, said he was keen on understanding how to track the “on the ground” impact of his department’s projects and if and how the interventions are changing people’s lives.

Lindiwe Ndiki from the Phansi Museum said she wanted to improve her monitoring and evaluation skills to support applications for funding. “M&E is very important for non-profits such as the Phansi Museum. We rely heavily on funding which, nowadays, is very competitive. Any methodologies that support or assist us in getting funds, and training staff within the industry, is valuable and we look forward to this opportunity.”

Dr Mduduzi Xakaza from the Durban Art Gallery also noted the impact of such training on successfully securing funding. “I feel so fortunate to have this opportunity because funding is the main engine that helps arts, culture and heritage public and private institutions fulfil their mandates and become self-sustainable. Better monitoring and evaluation can help identify the most pressing needs of artists and also help us target those special projects that can truly empower artists and transform the industry so that it can be sincerely inclusive and accessible. Perhaps it can also help us overcome challenges that are caused by both language, economic and cultural barriers.”

Ntwsaki Moloi, whose Thabo Mofutsanyana Arts and Culture Centre, is central to delivering community arts and culture experiences, said she was honoured to be attending. “I hope this workshop will improve my skills and allow me to implement them at my workplace, especially when doing site visits to the communities, and among SMMEs, students and artists.”

The workshop takes place on Monday (February 13) from 09h00 to 16h00 at the Ekhaya Multi -Arts Centre, in KwaMashu-B, KwaMashu, Durban. Registration opens at 08h00. Space is limited.