We believe that research has a critical role to play in effecting change, transformation and growth in the visual arts industry in South Africa. If we are going to be taken seriously as an industry by government and others, we need facts to support arguments for more engagement with, investment in and support for our sector.

VANSA lobbied for and was involved in the first major national study of the visual arts industry in South Africa, recently undertaken by the Human Sciences Research Council. The study shows that the visual arts contributes over R1 billion to the national economy per annum and creates work for over 17 000 people. We think that this kind of information can help in getting government and the corporate sector to take what we do more seriously.
VANSA is undertaking scoping studies in a number of areas where we think better information could benefit our industry.  These Research Bulletins will take the form of short position papers informed by local and international experience and perspectives across these areas. These will then provide a basis for VANSA to engage key players and decision-makers in the industry and government, with a view to identifying concrete actions towards effecting positive change in our industry.  Four initial studies are underway, which we anticipate publishing in the latter part of 2011:
Managing Copyright in the Visual Arts
A review of copyright collection for the visual arts, locally and internationally
In many other national contexts, agencies exist for the collection of royalties for the usage or reproduction of visual artworks. In South Africa, this is generally only the case for the estates of a small number of dead artists, and for the usage of the work of artists from abroad. We examine the current state of copyright collection for visual artists in South Africa and consider a number of international examples which could provide pointers for how we might ensure that artists are properly remunerated for the use or reproduction of their artworks. 
A New Income Stream for Artists?
A Review of Artist Resale Rights
Artist Resale Rights laws enforce the payment of a small percentage of the value of artwork sales in the secondary market (i.e. sales that take place subsequent to the first sale of an artwork). In recent years, Artist Resale Rights have been progressively implemented across the European Union, the UK, Australia and a number of other national contexts.  We examine the case for introducing Artist Resale Rights in the South African context, drawing on lessons learnt from other national contexts and with particular consideration govern to the question of whether the benefits that derive from such legislation are sufficiently substantial to justify the administrative demands of implementing it.
Space to Work
Schemes for the Provision of Low-Cost Studio and Work Space
This study will consider models for the re-use and redevelopment of privately and publicly owned buildings as low-cost studio, work and exhibition space. Privately driven developments in Cape Town (Woodstock) and the inner city of Johannesburg (Arts on Main and Juta Street) have shown the amazing potential that the visual arts has to contribute to the rejuvenation of ‘difficult’ areas. We believe that there is significant room for government to play more of a role here – particularly in opening up new opportunities for low cost studio space for visual artists, particularly those who are not in a position to access these new private developments. 
Cracking the International Art Market 
Schemes for Promoting South African Art Internationally

Currently, only a handful of galleries in South Africa can afford to actively promote the work of South African artists through international trade events such as Art Fairs.  This study will examine the financing instruments that currently exist for South African business to be promoted through trade events overseas (through, for example, the Department of Trade and Industry), and consider how these might be more effectively and widely accessed by our industry. 
A Shared Practice

A Shared Practice was published after a year long research process into arts organisations' sense of shared practice around the country. This was a VANSA research project supported by the National Arts Council and is available to read or download on ISSUU.


The Funding Practice Alliance - a consortium of development organisations based in Cape Town - have released an important report on the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund and the National Development Agency. The section on the NLDTF includes alarming findings and useful recommendations. Click on the link below to download.

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