Inkcubeko Nezobugcisa presents “The Impact of Digital Arts on South Africa’s Cultural and Creative industries”, a baseline research report from Digitalized Possibilities

Our Baseline Report Cover Page.

What has made the Digitalized Possibilities: Seeing Beyond The Imaginarium programme so momentous? The answer lies in the scope of its interdisciplinary nature. One can credit its combination of a baseline research report, digital arts training, school activation, and, of course, the online exhibit of digital artworks created by our cohort of arts-based women creatives. The programme’s sheer ability to raise broader awareness about digital arts using these creative approaches is quite innovative.

Furthermore, the complementary nature of the programme meant that the components could intersect at various stages but that each component had its own milestones. Most importantly, all had digital arts as a motivation, allowing the components to integrate seamlessly.

The baseline research report is titled “The Impact of Digital Arts on South Africa’s Cultural and Creative industries”. From the onset, we were aware of the presiding challenges faced by many artists when it comes to accessing information, and so accessibility became one of the programme’s core objectives, as did social inclusion, cultural engagement, and the use of digital arts as a tool to address gender equality, through not only the opportunity to work and collaborate with women creatives via the digital self-portrait capstone project but the opportunity to train them as well, all achieved through Digitalized Possibilities. With the release of the baseline research report, we aim to inform and educate the many South Africans – artists and enthusiasts alike – who aren’t always privy to consolidated resources on digital arts.

The overarching theme of the research report revolves around “equity, diversity, and inclusion”, and it spotlights the underrepresentation of previously disadvantaged groups. Naturally, we wanted it to be bilingual. Our hope is that for the report’s future evolution, subject to further capital investment, it will be adapted and translated into many other South African languages.

We would love for the baseline research report to reach a large audience and impact a broad spectrum of South African creatives and art enthusiasts, both in urban and rural settings. Our goal is for Digitalized Possibilities to become one of our flagship programmes, and thus we are continuously striving towards ensuring its growth and sustainability.

The Digitalized Possibilities: Seeing Beyond The Imaginarium baseline research report was made possible by the PESP-4 grant supported by Business and Arts South Africa (BASA) and the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture (DSAC). The organization also wishes to acknowledge researcher Sinethemba Vitshima, copyeditor Lauren Smith and the team working on the translated isiXhosa edition: translator and editor Lunga Mampana, proofreader Masixole Njumbuxa, and project manager Zizo Bongekile Manona. Finally, we would like to thank the amazing artists who gave their time to participate in our survey. Thank you.