Gaps in leadership in the South African cultural and creative landscape have become apparent as the sector struggles to adapt and respond to these uncertain times. A partnership between BASA, Common Purpose SA and Manchester International Festival aims to create a network of emerging leaders who can propel the sector with renewed vigour. The Cultural Producers Programme, supported by the British Council Creative Economy programme, is focused on accelerating growth in skills development, capacitating global networks and driving innovative new work in ever-changing markets.

About the programme

The Cultural Producers Programme runs from March to July 2022 and brings together a core cohort of 25 mid-career creative and cultural producers. It aims to upskill and unite them as a single network that enables innovative work practice.

The project will capacitate the creative economy ecosystem in Sub-Saharan Africa and the UK through three key components: a cultural leadership programme and placements, the SOCreative Hubs Summit 2022 and Microsoft Skills online creative enterprise training.

Meet the Cultural Producers

Cultural leadership

  • An intensive cultural leadership accelerator training programme, and placements with South African creative organisations.
  • Curated online training and engagements, focused on Leading Beyond Authority, Cultural Intelligence, Leadership in Context and Cultural Production.
  • Access to industry and thought leaders via discussions, webinars, keynote addresses, talks, summits, networking events, etc.
  • An integrated online learning portal, which allows networking and engagement with an extended cohort of 175 cultural producers.
  • A two-month placement at arts organisations throughout South Africa that have identified the need for leadership skills acquired from the cohort, to build capacity within their own respective organisations – supported by a monthly stipend.
  • Micro grants for the creation of new creative/cultural products or events, along with a platform to showcase them.
  • Participation in the SOCreative Hubs Summit 2022 content panel.

SO Creative Summit 2022

SO Creative Summit,  6-7 2022 July brings together young creative hub managers and creatives in South Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa and the UK to connect, share and network towards building a stronger ecosystem and telling their stories. 

The SO Creative Summit aims to:

  • Strengthen connections and interactions by creating opportunities for exchange, learning and new engagement amongst hub managers in Sub-Saharan Africa and the UK.
  • Build new networks that can be used to leverage future opportunities for their hubs and hub users, and widen the various hub networks for creativity, innovation and audiences.
  • Provide insight gathering and sharing platforms for hub managers to meet and share insights about the creative ecosystems in each of their countries and hubs business models.
  • Encourage skills exchange, strengthening of partnerships and co-curating of projects with common goals, resulting in value addition and cross pollination of ideas.
  • Engage and include diverse stakeholders to join the conversations and listen to the impact and potential investment opportunities within the creative economy sectors in Sub-Saharan Africa and the UK.
Find out more

Digital enterprise training

Microsoft skills online creative enterprise training comprises a self-study online training course covering general creative enterprise training, including aspects of running a creative business.


Supporting information, links and documents


     * Please note: applications for the 2022 programme are now closed