From Handmade to Digital Hub

At a rooftop bar off Cape Town’s Long Street, I met some of South Africa’s bright young things, attending the monthly Together market of creative goods. Cape Town does markets really well: from foodie hangouts like City Bowl on Hope St to the vintage pop-ups of the hipsters at You, Me & Everyone We Know and the popular creative goods markets at the Old Biscuit Mill and the Fringe Handmade.

The markets are a good place to find small creative businesses, and they normally have great DJs, mojitos and laid-back vice. They are events in themselves, but they have also been the way I’ve met a lot of interesting people and found out about event in the city – as I wrote about recently, creative Cape Town can be difficult to access.

Digital Opportunity

I’d love to have access to a really good website for the creative scene that brings together events with information, articles and opportunities: elements of sites like the clear and supportive IdeasTap, the Guardian’s endlessly useful Cultural Professionals network and The List’s events guide.

There are a few websites, but they aren’t always regularly updated, and they are tend to focus on just one art form or activity. There seems to be scope for a site that pulls it all together,  linked to a series of trails around the neighbourhoods of greater Cape Town, and spun out into a useful mobile site.

At the moment, I rely on Twitter and the news headline-style posters that appear on lamp posts, like this one for Infecting the City art fest. The lamp posters feel like an equivalent for EAE, that ubiquitous distributor of leaflets in Scottish venues.

Social media has been a great way to speedily see what’s happening in Cape Town, and to start to access all the creative events on offer.

While there isn’t a definitive website to accessing Cape Town’s cultural offerings, the Creative Cape Town Twitter account has been exceptionally useful in pinging me in the right direction. I seem to be missing the conversation angle though – if people are chatting and connecting through Twitter, I haven’t found them yet. I did find the National Gallery, though:

Creative Cape Town

I’m going to meet up with the city administration’s Cape Town Partnership and the Creative Cape Town folks: I know they are working on a Design District on the edge of District Six, a Creative Cape Town Week, and that they’re the folks behind the Fringe Handmade creative goods market.

I’d be interested to learn what their plans are to develop new audiences and partnerships, and how they fit in with the work of private commercial ventures like Design Indaba.

I’m halfway through my ICE Fellowship, and I’ve now got a list of some great places and spaces to visit, but I’ve got a feeling there’s still plenty more I haven’t discovered yet.


Adventures from Anna in creative Cape Town > 

Anna’s ICE Fellowship – my International Creative Entrepreneurs (ICE) Fellowship in South Africa is part of Creative Scotland’s innovative Creative Futures leadership fund.


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