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Sunday, November 14, 2021


(Right: Jessica Denyschen)

The Arts and Culture Trust (ACT) announces Jessica Denyschen as Interim CEO.

With the departure of our outgoing CEO, Marcus Desando, the ACT is excited to announce that Jessica Denyschen has been appointed as the interim CEO of the Trust, as part of the continuity process of the organisation.

In May 2020, at the onset of the Covid pandemic, Denyschen started with the ACT as Communications and Marketing Coordinator. She has been working closely with Desando in order to implement a well-considered succession plan and has been actively involved in all the strategic processes and development at the ACT. Denyschen has proven to be an integral and valuable contributor to the ACT’s new strategy that was launched in April 2021.

Denyschen is an experienced arts administrator, practitioner and entrepreneur, who has run her own arts organisation, The Ar(t)chive NPC. It was co-founded in 2010 with Adrienne Sichel and has been pioneering archiving South African dance history in partnership with WITS University for the past decade. The Ar(t)chive NPC has produced numerous colloquia and publications about dance and continues to serve researchers locally and globally. Her passion for the development of the creative sector is aligned with the purpose of the ACT and as an organisation ACT is excited to have her as their interim CEO. Denyschen will assume the helm as the ACT interim CEO from the November 15 until March 2022.

Denyschen said: “It’s an honour for me to be trusted with the custodianship of the new and impactful strategy the team has been crafting over the last 18 months. This appointment feels like a full circle moment for me as an arts practitioner and entrepreneur having traversed the cultural and creative industries in various roles. My history with the Trust goes as far back as 2015 when I received an honorary ACT Impact Award for my contribution to the dance sector. I believe my deep personal investment in the arts and my experience as both a strategist and seasoned practitioner will bring informed insight and drive to the ACT. I am excited by this opportunity and look forward to working with the Board and the ACT team in enabling our programme participants in creating sustainable futures for themselves.”

Chairperson David Dennis said: “The ACT Board has welcomed the appointment of Ms Jessica Denyschen as interim CEO and is satisfied that the approved handover process is currently underway. Moreover, that the integrity of the operational functions and institutional memory of the organisation will not be disrupted given that Ms Denyschen has been part of the ACT administrative team since May 2020. Accordingly, the transitional proposal, as presented by the outgoing CEO Marcus Desando, was broadly accepted by the Trust Board precisely to preserve the interest of the trust and that of our strategic funding and& founding partners. I wish to assure the ACT grant recipients and applicants that all current developmental programmes and project funding will proceed as approved by the relevant ACT committees. We wish Jessica everything of the very best for the period ahead with the assurance of our support as a board.”

To link direct to the ACT website, click on the ACT logo to the right of this article or visit