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The Fulcrum Suzanne Shaw Creative Award has two principal purposes: supporting the arts, and in so doing preserving the memory of a beloved Fulcrum staff member.

The award, in collaboration with the Bag Factory Artists’ Studios and Business and Arts South Africa (BASA), celebrates Shaw’s life by promoting young curatorial talent.

BASA CEO Michelle Constant says the award is about human resource, and has the dual purpose of supporting the arts and never forgetting Shaw; each time the award is mentioned, she is remembered. “Her memory will never be lost. It’s a living memory, and it’s a positive memory,” she says. Constant holds up two reasons why corporate support for the arts is essential.

Firstly, given our country’s current fiscal situation, the arts cannot expect to receive the kind of support from government that those in other countries will. And yet – as articulated in a study by the Ford Foundation – any child should enjoy sport and art as part of a “whole education”.

“I think that’s really important,” she states.

Secondly, she argues, corporate support for the arts speaks to the concept of shared value – that businesses benefit by working with and benefiting others.

The Fulcrum Suzanne Shaw Creative Award combines corporate social investment (by supporting young people in the arts), marketing (in that it gives Fulcrum a strong brand opportunity) and human resources (through remembering a colleague) to find shared value.

“It shows Fulcrum as an engaged company in an engaged society,” says Constant. And engagement is at the heart of how the Fulcrum Suzanne Shaw Creative Award came into being, say Bag Factory Artists’ Studio director Thuli Mlambo-James and curator Aysha Waja.

“One of our artists, Benon Lutaaya, had a very good relationship with Su Shaw and also with Fulcrum, which he introduced to the Bag Factory,” says Bag Factory Artists’ Studio director Thuli Mlambo-James.

“Before she passed, we had guided her in her exhibition. When Fulcrum chairman Ian Bain wanted a memorial for her, we suggested a curatorial mentorship programme.”

The 2018 Fulcrum Suzanne Shaw Creative Award, which is open to aspiring curators younger than 35, will go to the proposal that best fits Fulcrum’s slogan of “seeing things differently”, says Bag Factory Artists’ Studio curator Aysha Waja.

The person who wins the 2018 award does need to have an arts background in some way, but not necessarily curatorial experience. The winner must have specific artists in mind, and include previously created art in their proposal – although provision is made in the award for new artworks.

“We’re looking for an intriguing and different proposal that challenges how we see art,” Waja continues.


This is what the award includes:

For Constant, the Fulcrum Suzanne Shaw Creative Award is about breaking down barriers; for example, between business and the arts, and between the public and the private and public sectors.

“We (the public) are the private sector, and we are the public sector. We have to stop thinking about ‘us’ and ‘them’. That’s what this is really all about,” she says.

Entries are open for the 2018 Fulcrum Suzanne Shaw Creative Award.

Click here to find out more about what the award entails, and how you can enter.

Entries close on 15 November 2017.