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The Sibikwa Arts Centre in Benoni will be hosting the Shukuma Mzansi International Community Arts Centres Conference 2017 at its renovated premises.
Sibikwa, a recognised centre of excellence, is a visionary arts centre that promotes quality arts education, theatre performance, vocational training and job creation in South Africa. Over its 27-year history the programmes at Sibikwa have serviced the South African arts community by developing theatre and arts practitioners from dancers, actors and musicians, to directors and arts administrators.
The National Department of Arts and Culture has partnered with the Sibikwa Arts Centre to realise a sectoral dialogue between Irish, Flemish, French and South African community cultural centres with the purpose of increasing institutional capacity, policy implementation and best practice; it is above all a starting point for new perspectives, new challenges and new objectives. This initiative is funded by the SA-EU Strategic Partnership – the Dialogue Facility which contributes to the strengthening of relations between the European Union and South Africa and encourages cooperation between equal partners in a number of areas in the economic, social and cultural fields.
The Shukuma Mzansi Conference, an incredible opportunity that comes at exactly the right time, enables the South African centres to share their experiences on capacity building, programming, innovative sourcing of funding and policy implementation with their European counterparts and vice versa.
Simultaneously, the conference is a means to reflect on the state of the South African community arts centres and their contribution to continuous capacity building and development. Moreover it presents a platform to discuss implementation and flesh out the recommendations made by the draft White Paper. It is a benchmark occasion for practitioners, policy-makers, donors, officials, academics and other key stakeholders to interact and engage with the critical challenges and innovative solutions that are part of the process of growing the outputs and efficacy of the community arts centres across the country. The exchange element presents the opportunity to expand communication and dialogue between cultural workers in Ireland, Flanders, France and South Africa in the interest of promoting mutual understanding, positive change, cooperation and respect.
The Shukuma Mzansi! project consists of two segments: pre-conference study tours in January and February 201 and the International Conference on Community Arts Centres comprising presentations by Irish, Flemish, French and South African experts focused on policy implementation, capacity building, imaginative programming and innovative ways of financing activities, practical case-studies, visits to Community Arts Centres and informal evaluation and showcases. The conference will take place from 22 to 24 March 2017 in Ekurhuleni.
The Shukuma Mzansi! Conference has firm potential to yield a network of optimally-functioning and policy-driven Community Arts Centres that have the capacity for sustainable delivery of appropriate services and programmes, so save the date.
More information to follow mid-January 2017.