The creative economy is one of South Africa’s most underappreciated economic drivers, keeping thousands in jobs and contributing almost 3% to GDP. Unlocking this potential is key to South Africa’s growth, says the South African Cultural Observatory (SACO), which is planning a conference aimed at exploring how creative economy growth can be elevated to levels of developed economies.
“The United States of America and South Korea top the charts in terms of the creative economy contribution to GDP at about 11 per cent and 9 per cent respectively. China gains 6 per cent of its GDP from the creative and cultural industries. If we just aimed to double our own contribution, we would create close to half a million new jobs and drive South Africa straight into the knowledge economy,” said SACO chief executive, Prof Richard Haines.
“This is something we are keen on exploring at the Cultural Observatory’s 2017 National Conference in May. We want to draw on international, BRICS, African and local experiences to inform the ‘how’ of the possible creative economy revolution in South Africa.”
The research centre and think tank – a project of the Department of Arts & Culture (DAC), hosted by the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in partnership with Rhodes and Fort Hare Universities – has an open call for papers out, ahead of the conference on May 24 and 25 in Johannesburg.
The deadline for papers and presentations under the conference’s major guiding theme ‘The Creative Economy & Development – Perspectives from Developed and Emerging Economies’ is fast approaching on 31 March 2017.
“We urge all those interested in speaking at the two-day event to submit their abstracts before the end of the month. The conference is an important opportunity to profile global and local research in the cultural and creative industries and arts, culture and heritage sectors – but also a chance to look at economic impact, employment figures, statistics and other bedrock information that positions the creative economy as the industry it is,” Haines added.
The conference coincides with Africa Day celebrations on May 25, and is scheduled to take place over two days on May 24 and 25 at the Turbine Hall in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Would-be speakers can submit their abstracts or proposals online. The standard rate for the conference is R2400 and R1600 for students with early bird fees for those registering before March 31.
Submit a Proposal/ Abstract | SACO 2017 National Conference Website
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