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New Norms and Standards Guidelines for South African Visual Arts Sector

Posted on 30 March 2016

The Visual Arts Network of South Africa (VANSA), a development agency for the visual arts promoting connection and access in the industry, will host a series of consultations to get input from the visual arts sector for the development of a norms and standards booklet. This proves to be a landmark moment for the visual arts which currently does not employ a universal best practice standard for professional work in the various fields of the sector.

VANSA, which has been tasked by the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) to develop guidelines for the visual arts community, is calling for input into guiding principles of the sector from all stakeholders in the industry.

Norms and Standards are industry protocols, usually developed by an industry body, by which all stakeholders can or must operate. Guidelines are norms and standards that indicate best practice but are not legislated. The guidelines to be set up through this process will entail a wide range of best practices regarding exhibitions, sales, studios, residencies, insurance, taxes, copyright and freedom of expression.

Only four countries in the world have national norms and standards for the visual arts in place. Such norms and standards are usual industry practice for many other sectors in South Africa, and yet none have been established for the visual arts. Considering that visual arts are such a variant and complex sector, the norms and standards will need to take into account the range of practice and possibility across South Africa.

For this reason, VANSA is embarking on a consultation process to gain valuable insights and perspectives on the proposed norms and standards guidelines from the sector at large. Physical consultation sessions will be held in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town in April 2016. Platforms for comments and submissions via email and social media are also available.

Consultation Meetings will run from 09:30 for 10:00 until 12:00, details are as follows:
  • 7 April 2016 - VANSA, 1st floor King Kong Building, 6 Verwey Street, New Doornfontein, Johannesburg
  • 8 April 2016 - Durban Art Gallery, 2nd Floor, City Hall, Anton Lembede Street, Durban
  • 15 April 2016 - Association for the Visual Arts (AVA), 35 Church Street, Cape Town

    These meetings will serve as a first introductory consultation about the planned framework of the guidelines and to solicit comments and contributions.

    Click [here] to RSVP.

    A further consultation session will be held once a draft version of the document would be in place. This will be held on 27 May 2016 at VANSA, 1st floor King Kong Building, 6 Verwey Street, New Doornfontein, Johannesburg. These consultations and online submissions will give stakeholders the opportunity to comment on the content of the norms and standards directly. The intention is for the final Norms and Standards Handbook to be completed by July 2016.

    For more information, email or visit

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