5 Cultural Institutions Making Things Happen

Cultural institutions have a large impact in the local arts and culture scene, supporting and enabling many different projects across a broad spectrum of disciplines. At any given times there’s a wealth of creative happenings, projects, initiatives and programs taking place that bring new artists to South Africa, and expose South African artists to new audiences and experiences. Here are five of the key cultural institutions making a considerable impact on the local arts and culture scene.


The British Council’s Connect/ZA




Connect ZA is the arts programme from The British Council that aims to build cultural connections between young people aged 18-35 in the UK and South Africa, with  a particular focus on artists, art professionals and audiences. The programme includes opportunities for showcasing, collaborations, innovation and professional development with a number of events and projects. It kickstarted in 2013, and is getting into full swing now as we go into the official UK-SA Season 2014 – 2015.





The Goethe-Institut 




The Goethe-Institut is the global German cultural organisation. The Johannesburg centre is the hub for the Cultural Programmes Department, which focuses on a variety of different artistic fields including visual arts, drama, dance, literature, film, music, and architecture amongst others. Their aim is to create sustainable development in these fields, therefore seminars and workshops form a large component of the annual events calendar. 





The Alliance Française




The Alliance Française is the French language and Francophone cultures institute with centres in Joburg and Cape Town. The cultural programme includes over 400 projects a year across a range of different disciplines including music, theatre, visual arts and dance. These are intended to introduce Francophile culture to South Africans and vice versa. 





Pro Helvetia 


Pro Helvetia


Pro Helvetia is the liaisons office of the Swiss Arts Council in South Africa and promotes art in its creation, dissemination and reception. The current focus is on performing arts, music and the visual arts, as well as literature. A key part of Pro Helvetia is their residency programme between Switzerland and South Africa, with shorter research residencies and longer studio residencies offered. Pro Helvetia acts as a funding body, advisor and co-ordinator of cultural (exchange) projects in Southern Africa and Switzerland.





The Netherlands’ Department of Design 


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The Netherlands have partnered with South Africa to create the Department of Design, a three week long World Design Capital Project and public event that will include workshops, keynote speakers and evening activities. The programme will focus on challenges in sustainability faced by South Africans and lay the groundwork for change through design thinking and innovation. Department of Design will be held from 8-27 July at 8 Vrede Street in the Cape Town CBD and is open to anyone who wants to participate and engage in the #cocreate conversation. 





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