KPY Keynote - 8: Mike van Graan was at BILGI for the South African Cultural Policies Discussion

March '17

Mike van Graan was at BILGI for the South African Cultural Policies Discussion

The keynote speaker at the 8th Cultural Policies and Management Conference “The Ebbs and flows of arts and culture policy: the South African Experience” organised by the Cultural Policies and Management Research Centre (KPY) at Istanbul Bilgi University was Mike van Graan, the Executive Director of the African Arts Institute.

The main topic of discussion was the key contemporary challenges, which are legacies of the apartheid past, the changes in the policies and the processes that led to these changes.

The draft White Paper on “Arts, Culture and Heritage” tabled by the South African Government in 2016 has been also evaluated against key international cultural policy documents and discourses.

Mike van Graan shared information about the first post-apartheid cultural policy document adopted in 1996 and pointed out that the way to make art more accessible to everyone is through developing more effective cultural policies.  


About Mike van Graan:

Mike van Graan is currently a Richard von Weizsaecker Fellow of the Robert Bosch Academy in Berlin, and is an Associate Professor of Drama at the University of Cape Town. He is considered as one of South Africa’s leading contemporary playwrights, having garnered numerous nominations and awards for his plays that interrogate the post-apartheid South African condition. After the country’s first democratic elections in 1994, he was appointed as a Special Adviser to the first minister responsible for arts and culture where he played an influential role in shaping post-apartheid cultural policies.  In 2011, he was appointed by UNESCO as a Technical Expert to assist governments in the global south to develop cultural policies aligned to the 2005 UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. To date, he has written 27 plays, with his later - When Swallows Cry (a commission from a Norwegian theatre company on the theme of migration) – has premiered in January 2017 at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg.


You may find an interview with Mike van Graan in our next issue.