New patterns: Mmalerato Rabotapi
tries on a headband at abeading
workshop in Orange Farm,
Picture: DANIEL BORN
“The voice of the creative sector is important precisely because it reflects, interprets and reveals narratives, heritage and human storylines“
In its 20 years Business and Arts SA (Basa) has accumulated research that turns a spotlight on the benefits that business accrues when it partners with artists as a component of business strategy and as a measure of bottomline success.
To celebrate its anniversary, Basa will share this research on February 16 at a colloquium in Johannesburg. Some of Basa’s partners will share case studies of how working with artists benefits the businesses, artists and the broader economy.
The colloquium will be addressed by Daniel van der Merwe (PPC Imaginarium), Dianne Graney (Standard Bank), Heidi Brauer (Hollard), Julia Benadie (Merrill Lynch SA), Mariapaola McGurk (The Coloured Cube), Thabo Seshoka (Absa), Yvette Nowell (RMB) and others.
George Gachara, managing partner at Heva, which helps finance Nigeria’s creative economy, will be a member of one of the working groups.
Laura Callanan, of New York, will head the speaker line-up. She’s founding partner at Upstart Co-Lab that is leading the charge to grow the arts as a sector of the regional North American economy. Her trip is supported by the US embassy in SA.
In 20 years Basa, supported by the Department of Arts and Culture, has disbursed more than R34m to 1,488 projects, which have secured more than R440m in sponsorship from South African businesses. These disbursements exclude nationwide skills development in which Basa has invested during the past 10 years. They exclude sizeable sums from other sources and people who share Basa’s vision for growing impact investment for profitability and for sustainable social and environmental transformation.
Basa gives business and the arts a mechanism for engagement and mutual benefit. It gives artists and art groups tools to help them approach, and secure, business sponsors. Grants also give businesses tools to fully and effectively leverage the marketing of the partnerships they enter into with artists. The work is done in collaboration with the Department of Arts and Culture and the private sector.
These are more than numbers on a balance sheet. They represent growing viability and contribution from SA’s cultural and creative sector that comprises just under 3% of total GDP, according to the South African Cultural Observatory and the Department of Arts and Culture.
Basa is looking to grow this share of GDP to create an ever-thriving, viable creative sector and broader economy.
Growing the arts sector is good news for everyone. It’s especially good news for corporate entities that invest in the arts and in the artistic process, delivering tangibles such as diverse and transformed personnel and boardrooms, improved broad-based black economic empowerment scorecards and marketing collateral for brand singularity in an increasingly cluttered marketplace.
Economic benefits include an authentic cultural tourism offering that attracts foreign direct spend, and broad corporate social investment initiatives that not only serve the triple bottomline, but also deliver tangible social impact at scale.
As one of the speakers, RMB Fund head Nowell, says, “We believe in the value of education and the power of the arts to enable problem solving, critical thinking and abstract reasoning skills. I look forward to participating in the colloquium, especially to exploring the role of the arts as a tool for transformation.”
Over the years, Basa has engaged peer agencies and thought leaders around the world including Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Canada, Ethiopia and Brazil, among others. At the colloquium, Basa will share what these engagements have achieved in a conversation about African partnerships.
The voice of the creative sector is important precisely because it reflects, interprets and reveals narratives, heritage and human storylines
African economies are attracting global attention for their growth and resilience. At the AU summit in Addis Ababa in January, delegates heard from the African Development Bank that continental economies are set to grow at more than 4% in 2018 and 2019. This is on the back of growth of 3.6% in 2017.
“There’s no doubt that this continent’s creative and artistic sector has an important, even critical, role to play in decisions around development investment, infrastructure and social tools for good,” says Gachara, who is active in East Africa’s creative economy.
“The voice of the creative sector is important precisely because it reflects, interprets and reveals narratives, heritage and human storylines.
“At this point in Africa’s growth, shared value has to be central to both policy and practice,” he says.
Basa will celebrate the colloquium with its headlining partner, Hollard.
“Together with Basa we have catalysed increased corporate investment in the arts and nurtured an environment in which all companies understand why and how they can contribute to upliftment of the communities in which they operate,” says Hollard chief marketing officer Brauer.
Pub: 08 FEBRUARY 2018 Business day
Constant is CEO at Business and Arts South Africa. For more information on its 20th-anniversary colloquium, click BASA Research Colloquium