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The many values of the cultural and creative industries are increasingly being recognised internationally, and in African contexts. In the past, the focus of much African cultural policy was on the intrinsic and social values of arts, culture and heritage. More recently, the potential economic benefits of the creative economy and creative industries have also been included in policy thinking, perhaps to the detriment of non-market, public good values. The impact of COVID-19 had a devastating effect on the creative economy in Africa, reliant as much of the sector is on face-to-face production and participation modes, tourism, and short-term contacts. Will the sudden fall in economic activity in the sector reframe cultural value debates around non-market social values? Will some of the changes made during the COVID-19 pandemic persist?

This paper uses examples from South Africa to discuss how cultural policy focus has shifted since the end of apartheid, and the work of the South African Cultural Observatory in mapping the contributions of the CCIs to economic growth, employment, and international trade. Using examples from an ongoing joint project with KCL, Future Festivals South Africa: Possibilities for the Age of COVID-19, the paper considers some new ways in which the value of arts, cultural and heritage can be defined and measured

About the speakers

Keynote speaker: Dr Jen Snowball, professor of Economics at Rhodes University, South Africa

Jen Snowball is a professor of Economics at Rhodes University, South Africa. She is also a researcher at the South African Cultural Observatory (SACO). Her research interests are focused mainly in the fields of cultural economics and environmental economics.

Her research work in cultural economics has included developing and testing a framework for the monitoring and evaluation of publically funded arts and culture, cultural mapping studies, employment in the cultural and creative industries, and international trade in cultural goods and services in emerging markets. She has published widely in the economics of arts and culture, and is a member of board of the Association for Cultural Economics International (ACEI).

Rhodes University is a public research university located in Makhanda in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. It is one of the oldest universities in the country and is noted for its research excellence.

The South African Cultural Observatory (SACO) is a national research organisation funded by the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture. It is hosted by the Nelson Mandela University, with partner universities (Rhodes University, University of Fort Hare, University of The mandate of SACO is to provide up-to-date, policy and industry relevant data on the cultural and creative industries in South Africa.

Moderator: Dr Jonathan Gross, Lecturer in Culture, Media & Creative Industries, King’s College London

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Dr Jonathan Gross

Lecturer in Culture, Media & Creative Industries