On 3 and 4 June 2014, the arts and culture community of Cape Town gathered at City Hall to participate in the second annual Arts and Culture Indaba. In light of Cape Town’s designation as World Design Capital 2014, the event served both as an opportunity to reflect on success so far, and how the City’s approach can be changed going forward. Zayd Minty, Manager of the Arts and Culture Department of the City of Cape Town, introduced the Indaba with the statement:
“What stands in the way of Cape Town’s creative community is not a lack of resources, but a lack of understanding and partnerships among organizations, government, and individuals.”
With building partnerships as the driving theme of the Indaba, participants engaged in working sessions with one another to brainstorm solutions for outdated policies and methods. Guests were assigned a color at random at check-in, and were seated at the corresponding round table with five other participants who had been given the same color. Each working session began with a presentation by members of government, and then a breakaway session with a presentation by the group at the end of each session. The groups were mixed, and with one member of government sitting at each table and participating in the discussion.
Six working sessions took place over the course of two days, in the order of:
- Community Cultural Development
- Public Life
- Cultural Promotion
- Arts Organizations: Partnership, Coordination, and Support
- Creative Industries
In addition the drafts of two important documents were distributed: A draft of the 2014 Arts, Culture and Creative Industries Policy (pdf version available here) and a final draft of the Public Art Management Framework. Both documents outlined updated and new policies regarding the government’s management of the arts, and address controversial subjects such as the graffiti by-law of 2010, which led to the crack down on any art in public space that had not been through an extensive government approval process. There was frustration expressed in reference to the Arts, Culture and Creative Industries Policy, which was only open to recommendations and input to the City from 15 April 2014 to 15 May 2014. The Indaba took place two weeks after the deadline, meaning that many of the City’s most prominent voices in arts and culture were unable to comment officially. Whether or not the input gathered from the public at the Indaba will be factored into the final version of these policies is yet to be seen. Click here for a summary of the 2014 Arts, Culture and Creative Industries Policy.