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The South African Cultural Observatory (SACO) has appointed Jan-Carel Van Der Linde to head up the SACO’s database coordination. Database management is a critical output of the SACO, which is tasked with mapping the entirety of South Africa’s cultural and creative industries (CCIs) and arts, culture and heritage sectors, creating a viable cultural information system and developing a CCI Index as a monitoring tool for industry performance.
This is no easy feat – but he is up for the challenge. “My vision is to grow into the position, making everyday life just a bit easier for everyone by maintaining a high standard for myself.
“I would also like to expand my role and impact on the organisation to include other facets of work – especially the research elements – to grow my own experience and in turn help the Cultural Observatory grow even further,” he said.
The SACO leadership is pleased to have him on board. “In the age of big data and analytics, you need to have a database coordinator who understands the importance of maintaining a well-designed database – and then someone who understands the approaches to maximising that database into tangible insights and outputs. We welcome Jan-Carel and look forward to the impact he will make on the Cultural Observatory,” said Richard Haines, SACO chief executive.
Van der Linde has a BSc. in Geosciences and a BSc. Geographic Information System (GIS) Honours Degree from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University and has worked in the data management industry for four years.
He brings a wealth of GIS mapping experience to the SACO, which is about to embark on a significant industry-wide mapping project. He previously worked at Setplan and CEN Environmental Management Unit as a GIS consultant.
“Databases are particularly important for recording and storing masses of data that can be used to draw up various statistical analyses. Each record, if correctly captured, increases the accuracy of the statistical data used to make informed and potentially important decisions. This in turn helps us to decide what the best course of action would be given the data that was used,” he said.
“My previous experience in data management has helped me to understand the importance of data and databases and making sure they are kept uniform and simple to ensure the accuracy of the data. Then, my experience in mapping has taught me the visual impact of data and statistics when it can be shown on maps and graphs. People respond better to a map or graph than they do to a list of records.”
While an avid music lover and e-gamer, the move into the creative economy has also been fascinating for van der Linde.
“The most interesting thing I have learnt so far at the SACO is the depths to which cultural statistics can be classified and analysed and how important the cultural industry is to the economy as a whole.
“I feel excited at the chance to add my knowledge and experience into the mix of already talented staff at the Cultural Observatory.”