Futures & Beyond – Where creativity & 4IR meet

UJ Arts & Culture, a division of the Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture (FADA), in partnership with Andani.Africa, a creative industries research and insights company, proudly launches the inaugural Futures & Beyond Forum planned for 16 and 17 March 2021.

The first of its kind in Africa, the Forum is a gathering of leading minds in the arts and the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). The Forum aims to start a conversation on the role of the creative industries in the continent’s future and the development of Africa-led strategies for creativity and innovation in technology.

The Forum aims to start a conversation on the creative industries’ role in the continent’s future and develop Africa-led strategies for creativity and innovation in technology.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution has become a buzz phrase in South Africa, underscored by the release of Presidential Commission on the Fourth Industrial Revolution report on South Africa’s readiness in 2020. Much of the 4IR debate focuses on new technologies and the need for more skills and investment in science and technology. However, the creative and cultural industries have a critical role in harnessing the enormous power of creativity, named by the World Economic Forum as one of the top five skills needed for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Professor Tshilidzi Marwala, vice-chancellor (VC) and principal of the University of Johannesburg, and chairperson of the Presidential Commission for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in South Africa, will set the scene with an opening address on 16 March.

UJ Arts & Culture and Andani.Africa, share the belief that the understanding of how the creative industries will be impacted by inevitable technological changes and to map the potential for the arts within these changes are of great importance. The Covid-19 pandemic has fast tracked many of these changes, with the creative sector heavily impacted by efforts to reduce the spread of the virus.

The creative industries have had to innovate, moving to online formats and seeking alternative revenue strategies through digital platforms. Rather than cancelling most of its activities, the National Arts Festival took the brave step of going entirely online in 2020. So did the Vrystaat Kunstefees and many producers just like UJ Arts & Culture.

“In the advent of a connected Africa, thanks to the ratified continental free trade agreement, it is imperative that the creative industries explore and exploit convergence of technology and innovation – or 4IR – that can enhance, empower and enable our creative industries to thrive,” says Emmanuel Gamor, one of the confirmed speakers. Ghana-based Emmanuel is joined by Wilhelmina Nekoto (Namibia), Monica Newton (South Africa) and Neema Iyer (Uganda) to name a few. A more detailed programme will be announced in the coming weeks.

The UJ Futures & Beyond Forum will begin a dialogue on the ways in which the creative sector can better prepare itself and develop the skills needed to respond to the coming changes of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Part of this will be carving out the value and contribution that the arts can bring to future technology through authentic African arts, culture, creativity and innovation.

UJ Futures & Beyond Forum is a free online forum live from the UJ Arts Centre on 16 and 17 March 2021.

Click here to register

For more information, please contact Lakin Morgan-Baatjies lakinmb@uj.ac.za. Alternatively, follow UJ Arts & Culture and Andani.Africa on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more information and regular updates.

About UJ Arts and Culture

UJ Arts & Culture, a division of the Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture (FADA), produces and presents world-class student and professional arts programmes aligned to the UJ vision of an international university of choice, anchored in Africa, dynamically shaping the future. A robust range of arts platforms are offered on all four UJ campuses for students, staff, alumni and the general public to experience and engage with emerging and established Pan-African and international artists drawn from the full spectrum of the arts.

In addition to UJ Arts & Culture, FADA (www.uj.ac.za/fada) offers programmes in eight creative disciplines, in Art, Design and Architecture, as well as playing home to the NRF SARChI Chair in South African Art & Visual Culture, and the Visual Identities in Art & Design Research Centre. The Faculty has a strong focus on sustainability and relevance, and engages actively with the dynamism, creativity and diversity of Johannesburg in imagining new approaches to art and design education.

About Andani.Africa

Andani.Africa is a research, insights, and strategic advisory company specialising in the creative and cultural industries. It was formed in 2016 out of a need to strengthen research approaches that address knowledge-gaps in the understanding of Cultural and Creative Industries (CCIs) in Africa. We do this by creating and co-creating valuable insights through research, strategic advisory and content engagement. Andani.Africa’s purpose is premised on the belief that in order to grow CCIs in Africa, sophisticated data collection and analysis need to be developed to navigate the complexities and intricacies that underpin the CCIs in Africa. Andani.Africa works within the intersection of tradition and culture that we like to call Data Humanism: African forms of storytelling that share insights and knowledge in the tradition of the oral histories of our forebears, and the technological advances afforded us by new digital forms of data analysis and visualisation, harnessing AI for African creative industries knowledge production.