Our first Talk to the Team webinar was held online on 21 April 2020 – thank you to all who participated and watched the live broadcast. If you missed it, you can view it in full here.

The panel, who discussed their plans for how they see the Virtual National Arts Festival taking shape in 2020, was made up of CEO Monica Newton, Artistic Director Rucera Seethal, Executive Producer Nobesuthu Rayi, Fringe Manager Zikhona Monaheng and Communications Manager Sascha Polkey. The session was facilitated by Ashraf Johaardien, the CEO of Business and Arts South Africa.

During the session, attendees were invited to submit questions. While we are able to answer some of them directly, we could not get to all of them. So here’s a full list of all the questions that were asked, with answers that we hope you find helpful. If you have an outstanding question, please email [email protected].

About the programme

Graham Roderick – Is it anticipated that the film section of NAF will be streamed?

There will be film presented as part of the daily curated programme and filmmakers can also participate in the open access platform. Films will be available on the website but will not be able to be downloaded or copied in any way.

Steve Kretzmann – Will the platform be able to stream different works simultaneously, as would happen at the live fest? Or is it one at a time, which would likely limit how many shows can be scheduled?

There will be a daily programme of scheduled events, as well as an open access platform of pre-recorded events, art directories, and interactive live events. Pre-recorded open-access content will be accessible at all times – live broadcasts will, in most cases, also be available after the live event.  Daily programme content will also available as on-demand viewing packages for a limited period after their initial release.

Bantu Mtshiselwa – Can you please paint us a visual picture of what we will be seeing and experiencing? Are we experiencing these performances in artists lounge?

The NAF website will be the portal to the experiences and events. Audiences will go to the website and choose what they would like to do in the same way that they might when attending the live Festival. For example: They may choose to purchase a curated content package which they can watch at a time that suits them, or they may to choose to watch the open access pre-recorded work available as ‘video on demand’. They may prefer to attend a live webinar or go to a Facebook ‘watch party’ or to look through the visual art galleries and virtual green. Whatever platform or event an audience member wants to experience, will be accessible through the Festival’s website.

Content

Justin Wilkinson – If artists provide pre-recorded content, will these be loaded onto a NAF platform? If so, are these platforms stable and able to provide connectivity with a payment access option from audiences?

Pre-recorded work will be available on the NAF website and, also, possibly, on a television channel. We are working extremely hard to ensure the stability of the platform. All content will be protected and will not be able to be downloaded from the site. We are investigating an e-wallet system to make the purchase of access passes and ‘video on demand’ as easy and seamless as possible.

Graham Roderick – Are you looking to have performances “live-streamed” from their respective locations or recorded beforehand and streamed from multiple or a single point viz. Makhanda?

The vNAF will offer platforms for both pre-recorded and live-streamed content. All work will be available through the NAF website. Pre-recorded work will be available in video or audio formats on the website, while audiences will be able to access streamed webinars, concerts, and other live work, through 3rd party platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Zoom etc. The vNAF website will provide links to all work, whether pre-recorded or live-streamed.

Glen Olsen – Are there still going to live performances?

There will be a mix of pre-recorded and live streamed work, but no physical performances as such. All content will be accessed through the NAF website.

Simon Cooper – Listening so far, it seems that the total number of shows available will be considerably less.  If one looks at the live Festival there are likely to be a big number of performances at, say 12.00 on any given day.  How many shows can be accommodated, do you think ?  And will this not restrict participation ?  How will shows be chosen ?

We are steering clear of comparing the live version of the NAF to the digital and thinking more about creating a new version (vNAF) for a digital space. There will be a certain number of curated works released daily – which may be able to be viewed at certain scheduled times, but which will also be available throughout the Festival so patrons can view and engage with content at their leisure. The open-access content will not be ‘scheduled’ but made available as a clickable event that can be purchased on demand. Ideas are received and reviewed by our curatorial team and the Artistic Advisory Committee. Various criteria are being used to assess the ideas submitted and whether these can be selected for our curated programme, including whether and how the work can be presented in a digital space, its artistic credibility, intent etc.

Leon Geyer – Rucera mentioned there is/will be a daily programme of activities; will these activities be available to view at other times than what is/will be advertised; after lockdown there will not be opportunity for most people to view the shows they want to see, during normal day times; I foresee most people only being able to access the “online NAF” after hours; Leon Geyer

Each day of the Festival we will release a set of curated content for that day – i.e. a daily programme. We hope that we will be able to offer each day’s content on a television channel but this is still under discussion. However, the daily content will also be available to be purchased and viewed online. It is envisaged that each day’s content will be available for 11 days – although this is still under discussion – so that purchasers can view and engage with the content at their own speed. 

Bailey Snyman – If you can access it at any time how does that affect live performances?

Live-streamed performances will obviously only be available once as live performances. However, we will be able to make recordings of these performances available to view after the event. Decisions on what is and isn’t recorded for later release and other issues will be made in discussion with the artist and/or all parties involved.

The vNAF Platform

Jessica Denyschen – Why not make use of already developed platforms that allow for paid for viewing and secure content especially for video content? Seems like a lot of cost and tech admin to be developing this for the NAF site?

We have gone through quite an exhaustive research period looking at the pros and cons around this question. There are two major stumbling blocks to South African artists and festivals using existing platforms – both concern income generation. 1: The business models used by existing platforms are there to generate income for the platform primarily – not the artist; and 2, most of these platforms are based off-shore, meaning that they deal in dollars or pound sterling and artists would incur further forex and bank charges before receiving their income. The NAF intends providing a platform where it is conceivable that South African artists can generate an income – for the 2020 vNAF, 90% of earnings from the open access platform will accrue to the artist directly. And yes, while this will inevitably involve additional tech admin and some cost, it would be good for NAF to be part of the development of a viable online platform for artists.

Philip Todres – The focus is on the performing arts and providing a visual platform to at least provide a space to keep performers/productions in the public arena until they are able to go live. But what about the visual arts, which is an integral part of the Festival? And the crafters? Can you also create a GalleryFromHome experience. CraftMarketFrom Home?

Visual artists and crafters will be catered for by the provision of digital art directories on our website. We are busy finalising guidelines for this platform and, as soon as these are completed, we will communicate these to artists and put out a call for participation. We will also be developing a traders listing for vendors who would ordinarily be part of the Standard Bank Village Green so that they can be part of a ‘virtual green’ within the vNAF – and so that our Festinos can find their favourite trader online this year.

Slindile Mthembu – What  broadcasting networks have you planned to go in partnership with?

We are engaging with various networks and will communicate further on this once we have finalised discussions.

Anonymous Attendee – Presentation: via community radios? for audio-friendly media?

We have a space in development for audio-only content on our website. We are also in talks with broadcast partners for available airtime specifically for this type of content. Watch this space for more details in due course.

Anonymous Attendee – Your connectivity issues today may well plague parts of your virtual festival. how much effort will go into making certain (as best as can be) that the technology doesn’t bewitch the actual event? is it a real risk if people find they can’t maintain a high quality access to events and programs?

We’re working very hard on finding the best solutions and will be putting every possible measure in place to ensure that we create a smooth and good experience for all involved.

Brendon Peel – How will tickets be sold to the online shows?

Audiences will be able to buy a festival pass (either for a single day or multi-days), which will unlock the curated content. Some content will be sold as a single item – similar to ‘video on demand’. E-wallets will be available so that people can also purchase single items without having to constantly be referred back to their banking portals.

Michael Inglis – Will all work be available on the NAF website as a Pay per View stream for the duration of the festival?

This question has been answered elsewhere but just to note that there will also be some free events – including access to the trader lists, visual art galleries, workshops, and other events.

Apples Appleton – Is Makhanda installing fibre in all the facilities to enable streaming quality … just viewing this Zoom indicates the NB of upload capability

While the core of our operation will be based in Makhanda our streaming servers will be based elsewhere. We are continuing to engage with both Government and local suppliers to develop the local internet infrastructure within Makhanda. This year will be no different.

Thandeka Ntlonti – What will happen to people who aren’t able to access the website or any other platform that the vNAF will be made available who always support the festival in Makhanda?

One of the things we are most concerned about as a team is whether our regular audiences, and of course artists as well, will be able to access the Virtual National Arts Festival. Given that the Festival will be online, one of the prerequisites will be the ability to access the internet, whether on a mobile device, laptop or computer in much the same way as you have to be in Makhanda to experience the festival. We are discussing a range of options with our sponsors to establish whether we can broadcast the Festival, or some elements of it or assist in providing internet access. As we finalise these arrangements, we will definitely keep our audience informed.

Nina Mayer – What do you think your platform will look like on the website? Will the platform be interactive?

We’re reworking the website to accommodate all kinds of content – video, audio, virtual art exhibitions, online galleries, and links to interactive components etc.

Leon Geyer – Is there not an already established platform that can be purchased by NAF?

We have done considerable research on this and, so far, have not been able to find a platform that ticks all the boxes – specifically regarding online monetisation solutions for South African artists. If you have any suggestions – we’d love to hear them – email [email protected]

Rebecca Hartle – If this platform/business model works, will it be something that you will continue to make use of even when the normal, physical fest resumes?

Yes, if the platform is a success, we will develop it as a tool for artists that can be used year round.

Apples Appleton – On the item of a streaming portal there are a number of RSA platforms of a world class quality

Thanks – yes, we are investigating a wide range of portals. If you have recommendations, please send an email to us on [email protected].

Tshwane Speak Out Loud – ​On what platform will the festival be “distributed” and will it be contained to one central point such as the NAF website?

All content will be able to be accessed through the NAF website – www.nationalartsfestival.co.za

Mike Van Graan – Has the Fest given thought to the hosting of the works beyond the Fest? To continue to be a ‘virtual marketplace’ for the works? And when the Fest goes physical again, will it host virtual shows after

Yes – we see great potential in taking the vNAF platform and making it available throughout the year – we will continue to see how best to move forward in this regard after this year’s Festival. We also envisage that there will be a component of work available on our virtual platform during the live National Arts Festivals in 2021 and beyond.

Artist’s questions

Bailey Snyman – Can we still get involved? If so, how?

Yes. Artists are invited to send ideas for consideration by 30 April; and complete digital content for consideration by 15 May – access the Ideas form here. If you would like to partner with vNAF or offer skills or resources, you can get in touch through the Ideas form as well – or email us on [email protected]

Gavin Krastin – No deadline has been stipulated, from what I can see, for submitting ideas for Virtual National Arts Festival. The form says outcomes will be communicated by 15 May, but when is the deadline for submission? Thank you

Ideas for consideration for the curated programme should please be submitted as soon as possible – particularly work that still needs to be ‘made’ into content for a digital space – preferably before the end of April so that we can start engaging with artists as early as possible. Existing digital work or content that is complete and ready for online publication will be considered (and can be submitted) up until 15 May 2020.

Luke Holder – If the content that is packaged is downloaded, what protects the rights of the artist? How are distribution and broadcast rights paid for and managed?

Our website will act as a portal to vNAF events and this will allow us to ensure that we protect artists’ work from being downloaded or copied; and, it will allow the Festival to manage access to the work through an e-commerce facility.

Kiara Ramklass – If we have an idea that uses VR headsets or VR technology, 
1) would there be someone who could help us with this technology which is new to us, and
2) How might we distribute VR headsets to audiences?

It is unlikely that we would be able to facilitate the distribution of VR hardware to audience members or create viewing area in some centres during the next few months. While we are investigating the possibility of using mobile phones with make at home template ‘goggles’, the high end hardware requirements to produce VR experiences make the medium not particularly practical for this edition of the Festival.

Bridget van Oerle – How will artists be remunerated for their shows being live?

This question has been answered already in terms of the curated content and pre-recorded work submitted to the open access platforms (see Bantu Mtshiselwa’s question above) However, in terms of live-streamed content on 3rd party platforms, we cannot monetise these events. We will, however, be able to host the links and advertising of these events for artists registered with the vNAF.

Bantu Mtshiselwa – With the traditional fringe, in most cases it is predominantly young artists who do not have much resources as compared to the main acts that might have resources to present their acts virtually. What assistance is there for the fringe participating artists with this regard?

We are working on the provision of guidelines for creating digital content, social media marketing tips, and other tools that we can give to artists to help them prepare for a  digital festival. We will be holding webinars where we can engage directly. Artists can sign up to receive info and details on these by registering here.

Anton Krueger – Is funding available, or will shows which can “earn their keep” in terms of garnering a paying audience be given preference? In what sort of price range will ticket prices cost?

Artists whose content is selected to be part of the daily curated programmes will receive a contracted fee and their inclusion or otherwise will not impact on income generated. Income derived from the sale of daily curated content will accrue to the vNAF. 90% of the income derived from the pre-recorded open-access content platforms will accrue to the artists. Package prices and costs for ‘tickets’ are still under discussion and we will make recommendations to artists once we are better placed to inform them.

Magdalene Reddy – How will performers (especially dancers) adhere to social distancing?

Until the restrictions are lifted, social distancing should be strictly adhered to. We are encouraging performers to adhere to all regulations and not to take part in live performances or rehearsals until it is safe to do so. This may mean that some performances may only be able to be created much closer to the Festival dates or that alternate re-imaginings of productions will be needed.

Ben Pienaar – For a production for the virtual NAF, what is the minimum amount of audience members you can perform for? i.e. one on one performances one performer, one audience member…

Events will be online – so available to whomever is able to watch it. For the vast majority of events, there will be no restriction on numbers. Obviously filming of productions may require bigger groups to be together – and some types of productions require interactive audiences – in these cases, the lockdown and health and safety regulations and will determine the number of people that can be in one room.

Ismail Mahomed – While it is fairly easy to standardise fees for people directly in a production (performers, designers & technicians) how is the Festival going to address the issue of royalties particularly for pre-recorded music that artists (dancers & singers) use in their production or for writer’s royalties both of which is calculated on size of venue / no of seats x no of performances; and given that online presenting of the work means that those same calculations are not controlled?  Will there be a follow on seminar for artists on the legalities of using royalty-driven music / texts for online work?

An excellent question! We will be discussing copyright and royalty issues with SAMRO and DALRO and are also looking at how these issues have been addressed by other festivals and organisations. We provide artists with a set of comprehensive guidelines on the use of other peoples’ work in the digital space. Going forward, we will be hosting a series of webinars on various issues, including this one. To get info on upcoming webinars for artists, please click here.

Rebecca Hartle – 1. How do we go about giving DALRO an estimate so that they can give us a price for rights? 2. Will the shows only be screened once for the duration of the festival?

The question regarding royalties will be dealt with in a webinar – we’ll let you know the details as soon as our panel is confirmed. Regarding your second query, pre-recorded open access content will be available throughout the Festival – it won’t be ‘scheduled’ as such. Curated daily programme content, will be scheduled for performances at specific time and probably on a number of different days (depending on the work)  – but it will also be available as part pf a daily package for a limited period of time after its first release.

Katty van den Berghe – Are Festival organisers in contact with government regarding artists being able to get together in small teams to produce their works? Would participating artists be able to get special permission to hook up under certain conditions / guidelines to work together to produce visual content? In the eventuality that we may still face lockdown conditions …

We are hoping that as we get closer to the end of May, restrictions will start to lift and artists will be able to start spending time together in performance or studio sessions. Obviously we must be guided by the government regulations and in the interests of the health and safety of everyone involved. We do have high level support in Government and can call on this should the need arise. In terms of guidelines, the vNAF will be publishing some online guidelines and tools for artists, as well as presenting more webinars to assist artists in creating work for the digital space.

Max Bosanquet – What quality of video and audio will be accepted for submission? Will you accept cell phone livestreams for example?

While our first criteria for selecting work is not based on the filmic merit or quality of work, we are very much aware that we must maintain a certain base standard of content quality. In the case of live-streamed events we will go through a series of rigorous rehearsals and trial broadcasts to ensure that both the image and audio quality is sufficiently high enough and that the broadcast will be based in an area with a stable internet connection. We are aware that this might pose some challenges for artists and we are preparing a network of support.

Emma Kotze – Just to be sure whether this is correct, that all content that would traditionally be labelled as “Fringe” won’t necessarily be accommodated on the new online platform.

All artists (whether they were registered on the Fringe or selected for the Main in 2020) are able to submit ideas, projects or work for consideration. Not all of these will (obviously) be selected for the curated daily programme. For those that aren’t and for any other artists who may not wish to make a submission to the curated vNAF, we are developing an open access platform that we will be launching soon. This will accommodate pre-recorded work (which we can monetise) and an advertising platform for live-streamed events on 3rd party platforms.

Fried Wilsenach – In terms of a realistic timeline, When do the NAF propose all the digital performing arts productions to start being filmed, edited, packages and  uploaded to your servers.

The Government’s regulations on restriction of movements will largely dictate the timelines, but we anticipate being able to start working on productions that require filming towards the end of May 2020, and some content already exists in a digital state. Which means that we will have a very tight turnaround time.

Julian Hails – We are from Ceres… I’m Julian Hails, manager of Basic AIM… what is expected of us to be part….info was not of much help…regarding Pop Band’s…

We are still developing the guidelines for our open access platform. As soon as these are available, the details will be sent to artists. You will need to register online to participate and provide your own pre-recorded content (video) for this platform – but we can, and will, offer assistance where possible. Please bear with us while we get finalise the details for this platform. Get the latest news and info on webinars etc. by registering for our newsletter here.

Mamela Nyamza – What happens when it comes to creating the work and we are not allowed to meet as the production team? How do we practised social distancing while going NAF virtual?

It is going to be very tight and prove difficult. We will need to keep our eyes on rules and regulations that are issued by the President with regard to our behaviour, and we need to be able to be adaptive and innovative. Hopefully restrictions ill ease in the weeks to come and we will be able to start creating again.

Claire Kockott – Will preference be given to South African Artists? A virtual Festival opens up opportunities for artists and related practitioners anywhere in the world. Would be great to have conversations like this one with people in the room that you’d never be able to group together physically! Thank you!

The National Arts Festival features predominantly South African artists and the vNAF will be no different. It would be great to convene a conversation between artists and, indeed, festival organisers, across the globe and we will definitely look into that for the 2020 vNAF. Nice suggestion, thanks Claire!

Mohammed Jogie – ​How do artists that are not part of your programming participate. Please democratise participation

All artists are welcome to participate – submit your idea or project online here.

Mike Van Graan – ​We can see how this move works for the Fest, how do artists benefit? How will productions – for example – be monetized (how will income be generated?)

As discussed elsewhere, we are developing a monetised platform that will be an open access platform for all registered artists to upload content to and where they will be able to sell ‘tickets’ to audiences to view their work. For more details on this, keep an eye on the Festival’s Artist Zone or register to receive our newsletters here.

Blythe Stuart Linger – Is NAF allocating support funds to groups who will be taking part? especially for the filming, editing etc. of their works?

Technical assistance will be provided, where needed, to work that is selected for the curated daily programme. Where possible, we will also seek to provide assistance, and share skills and resources with all artists registered on vNAF. We will, in all likelihood, not be able to provide support funding for artists, but hope that the practical assistance we can provide, will negate the need for costly outlay on their side.

Thami akaMbongo​ – When can those who submitted their idea can expect to hear from the NAF?

The NAF team will get back to artists on the ideas, project or content they submitted as soon as practically possible. Please bear with us. If you do not hear before, you will be informed soon after 15 May 2020.

Caddelle Faulkner – ​Will each artist get a profile page?

Yes – each production, each visual artist, and each crafter will get a page that has clickable links to their content, website, social media accounts etc.

Harry Owen – As a poet myself and host of the long-running and popular open floor poetry event called Reddits Poetry here in Grahamstown, I am interested to know how the NAF plans to integrate poetry into its workings this year. Reddits Poetry is scheduled for the last Friday of each month and we would be happy to be involved. Is poetry part of your plans? If so, how?

Yes – all forms of performance and visual art are accommodated. Please fill in the online Ideas form so we can engage with your idea.

Anonymous Attendee – Have there been any attempts to secure funding from bodies like UNESCO to support more artists to get their work into a virtual space?

The Festival is working on an application to the International Fund for Cultural Diversity (IFCD) that is administered by UNESCO which does make provision for supporting work in the digital space, however it is likely that the application will be adjudicated after the 2020 festival. We have approached local donors and sponsors for support and will keep artists updated in this regard.

Bantu Mtshiselwa – If performing artists present their work , how will they be paid for their work presented?

Artists whose work is selected for the curated platform and included in the daily programme will be paid a fee for their work. Artists can also present pre-recorded work on risk on a monetised platform on the NAF website. Guidelines for this latter platform are being finalised and will be sent out very shortly. This platform will be open access and artists will be able to register to participate on our website. There will be no registration fee and the income split will be 90/10 in favour of the artist.

Other issues

Simon Cooper – Do you see a return to live performances in Makhanda when things return to normal or near normal?  Like next year?

Yes – absolutely – there is no substitute for live performance. The NAF is a ‘live’ event and its home is very definitely in the city of Makhanda. The Virtual NAF is a response to the global pandemic that we are all facing and an attempt to continue to provide our audiences and artists with a festival experience in 2020. It will continue as a live event in 2021 – obviously as long as circumstances in the country allow for this. We anticipate that by June 2021, we will be clear of the pandemic and on the road to recovery as a country. So, we hope to be able to plan for a bumper edition of the National Arts Festival in Makhanda. Obviously, given our experience in 2020, we may well include some aspects of the Festival in a digital sphere as well.

Michael Inglis – What is Digital Lab Africa’s role and responsibilities as a partner in this virtual festival?

We have engaged with all our existing partners to distribute our ideas form and create awareness about the virtual Festival. DLA is one such entity, having presented work on our Creativate Platform in 2019. As an incubator for creative content based in a digital space, DLA is perfectly positioned in the environment that this year’s Festival will be operating in.  We are continuing our conversations and will release details of any confirmed partnerships as we move forward.

Max Bosanquet – We are a video and live streaming company how do we get involved?

We’d love to hear from you! Email the team on [email protected] or complete the Ideas Form online

Warona Seane – Putting pressure on the NAF by expecting Fest to happen in June/July 2010 virtually is really unreasonable considering the technical implications of this move and the diminished accessibility of the festival. a postponement would have been ideal for the festival team to properly image the best way to move LIVE performance online.

The decision to hold the Festival over the 2020 dates in June/July was a decision made jointly, after considerable discussion, by the NAF Board and the Management team. We hoped that by making the announcement as early as possible, we gave ourselves and the artists a fighting chance at success. Our primary objective is to provide artists with a platform for their work (and the opportunity to generate some income) and audiences with the chance to experience it. As mentioned previously, the Virtual NAF is not about taking the live version of the Festival online, it is about creating a new version of the Festival for this particular year. WE know our artists are an innovative, adaptive and creative bunch and are sure that, working together, we can create an exciting environment and experience for artists and audiences.

Bobby Rodwell – I find that the communication from the NAF has been very one sided – there has been little solidarity expressed with artists who are losing money due to the changes. Artists are your main stakeholders and we do not feel that we were consulted. The media is very lacking in understanding of artists situations.

All the questions and comments from this forum will be passed on to the team – we’re sorry you feel this way. Just to say, the entire idea of taking the Festival online was an attempt to find a way to continue, rather than to cancel outright. Everyone – artists, technicians, downstream industries, the town itself, etc. – is losing money due to the constraints of the pandemic. And, yes, we agree that this process is and needs to be consultative and we all need to work together to make it success. Going forward, we will be holding more webinars to engage with artists and audiences.

Glen Olsen – Are we going to identify smaller venues in the major centres to steam live or even record but on a real stage?

Once the regulations around the lifting of the lockdown are made clear, we will be able to engage more on this question. In the meantime, we have been in conversation with venues regarding utilising their facilities and, in some cases, their expertise and staff.

Bantu Mtshiselwa – How is the Grahamstown community going to benefit from the virtual festival seeing that a lot of jobs will now be lost by some service providers and the community at large?

One of the most difficult things for the Festival team in making the decision to take the Festival into the digital space was the knowledge that we would not be making a direct contribution to the City of Makhanda as we generally do every year by creating employment and generating business for the hospitality and related industries in the town. As far as possible, we will involve local artists and technicians in the Festival and also make every effort to ensure that the City is able to access and enjoy the Festival as they have done for the last 45 years. It is hoped that with the postponement of Scifest Africa and our work to build its content and audience, the national science festival will bring some opportunities for income generation. We are also considering how the Virtual National Arts Festival 2020 could contribute to the ongoing efforts by local communities and businesses to improve the City and its services, and contribute to the COVID-19 response through audience donations

Busisiwe Titi-Booi – Does NAF have a budget for marketing in place for the audience. will the NAF market the event at the SABC, more specially UMhlobo Wenene FM to advise people to follow the festival on the website or satellite TV?

The Festival is still finalising its media partnerships and plans but we hope to receive the support of the media in promoting this experience.

Lerato Molefe – How will the Makhanda community that don’t necessarily have access to the internet engage with the festival?

We are in conversation with various people and organisations to find a way ensure that all audiences in Makhanda are able to experience the vNAF. 

Michael Inglis – For technical service providers who have proposals / ideas on what we can offer, who should we be making contact with? Is the “Ideas Platform” the right space, or who should we email directly to open a discussion around our proposals and ideas?

Technical providers, individual, organisations and institutions that want to submit proposals to provide support, technical skills or resources, or partner with us on this project can do so by emailing details to [email protected] or filling in the Ideas Form. We’d love to hear from you!

Helmo Preus – Will there be a virtual equivalent of Cue? If yes, how will it operate?

The Cue model as a review platform was not part of the last few Festivals, replaced instead by a daily newspaper called Spotlight. There will be an independent review aspect to the Virtual NAF, it just won’t be as separate in terms of access (i.e it won’t be produced as a stand-alone element). Instead we will draw these elements into the overall Festival experience so that ratings and reviews are driven by both the public and recognised review voices. These will also radiate out into our social media spaces and are really critical to the online model. Artists social media channels are also really critical to this model. We will be asking all participants to work with us on promoting their own works and building many voices and much excitement around the Festival. 

Siviwe Honobroke Mashiyi – Why does the industry not give the same opportunities to self-made, self-taught individuals as someone who went to a learning institution or who is famous? It is hard enough to teach yourself, try to be in same level, then try get work or funding for bigger projects, if no one will take a chance on us, who will, shouldn’t it be based on the potential of the project, not the name of the person, if they famous or not.

The vNAF is open to all artists – what will stand out for us is the artistic vision or concept. This is new territory for many artists and that’s what makes it exciting and daunting. Keep in touch with us to get tips and guidelines to help you create your work for an online digital platform. Click here to register for updates and news.

Image: Mary Sibande’s A Crescendo of Ecstasy. Sibande was the Standard Bank Young Artist in 2013.