National Study on the Visual Arts Sector

To artists, freelance professionals, directors, managers, board members, policy makers and other stakeholders in the visual arts sector in South Africa
In 2008 the Department of Arts and Culture commissioned the Human Sciences Research Council and a number of research institutions and individual researchers to investigate the status quo of the visual arts sector in South Africa. Scroll to the bottom of this page to download either a summary version of the report, the main report and appendices, or both.
The primary purpose of the project has been to present as accurate as possible a picture of the current position of the visual arts in South Africa, and to identify opportunities for growing the artistic, social and economic contribution of the visual arts in the society and economy. In addition, the study should advise the Department of Arts and Culture on the development of policies, legislation, strategies and actions for the promotion of the visual arts.
This report represents the first major national study of the visual arts sector in South Africa as a basis for making informed recommendations for the growth and development of this important sub-sector of the creative industries. The research project involved the conducting of an in-depth survey of over 350 artists, businesses and organisations working in the visual arts sector, together with a series of individual studies on museums and collections, education and training in the visual arts, funding, the policy and legislative environment for the visual arts and the position of the visual arts at a provincial level. The research project also involved the development of a database of over 6000 visual arts practitioners and 1200 business entities across South Africa. The cooperation of participants, their frank opinions and their willingness to make information available about themselves and their organisations/businesses, is highly appreciated. Without their input this report would not have been possible.
In view of the complex nature of the visual arts sector and the limitations of the applied research methods and available resources, the research team and the Department have agreed that the report should be disseminated widely in the sector for a first round of input. A key recommendation included in the report proposes that the Department convene a national summit and task team for the visual arts, to further guide its engagement with the sector, and interrogate the content of the document. The present round of consultation will allow stakeholders to submit comments and corrections and will, hopefully, stimulate discussions and concrete proposals on areas in which constructive dialogue and cooperation between the sector and government might take place.
The research team will appreciate your contribution, as individuals or as representatives of organisations or businesses. Such contributions may refer to any aspect of the investigation, such as methodology, selection of respondents, ways of communication, correctness of data, analyses, opinions and conclusions in the report, etc.
Your submissions can be made in the following way:
  • a commentary document with clear references to the chapters and sections in the report; please save the document using the following title format: ‘date’consultdraftva-‘your name’;
  • Submission of separate documentation that may be relevant to the study, such as reports or policy input (please limit to manageable size), preferably in digital format;
  • a letter preferably through email or fax;
  • short comments per telephone.
As the team has limited time to finalise the report, a cut-off date of 15 January 2011 has been set.
Comments can be sent to the following addresses:
Email: Joseph Gaylard at ; cc to Gerard Hagg at
Postal: G Hagg, HSRC, P Bag X41, Pretoria, 0001
Fax: +27 (0) 12 302 2515, for attention: G Hagg
Tel. Joseph Gaylard: m: +27 (0) 82 598 4107; p: + 27 87 830 0442/3; Gerard Hagg: m: +27 (0) 82 560 6209; p: +27 (0) 12 302 2626
Gerard Hagg (Project Director)
Joseph Gaylard (Lead Researcher)
Main Report


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