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Call for entries for 2014 South African Arts Journalism Awards

Published on 28 February 2014

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The National Arts Festival, Grahamstown and Business and Arts South Africa (BASA) are pleased to call for entries to the second annual South African Arts Journalism Awards. The awards identify excellence, expertise and creativity. In doing so, they promote the practice of arts and cultural journalism, strengthen its national profile and celebrate its importance, range, diversity, fluidity and vitality.

“The work of our country’s arts journalists is hugely important to our industry,” Festival CEO Tony Lankester said. “As observers, critics, commentators and analysts, journalists are an important link between artists and audiences. A good journalist will help us contextualise and make sense of the work of our artists. Their words, pictures and sound will help us engage more deeply with our artists, and acknowledge the role they play in our complex society.”

“Just as they hold us to high standards, so too do we need to recognise those journalists who are the peak of their profession and who go about their work with integrity and passion,” Lankester continued.

Once again the awards will recognise arts journalism from across the media spectrum and, as promised last year, in 2014 Photography is to be recognised as a standalone category. Work will be assessed, broadly, in three categories: text (print and online), images (photography) and audio/video material (radio, television, podcasts, vodcasts and other digital content).

Competition guidelines, rules for submission and further details can be downloaded from or

“This year we are expecting entries from two sources – either journalists may submit their own work for consideration, or their editors may submit on their behalf. The source of the entry won’t be a factor in the judging process, but we hope that by allowing editors to enter their journalists, those who were reluctant to put themselves forward in the past will be in contention,” judging panel convenor Prof Chris Thurman said.

Winners will be announced during the course of this year’s National Arts Festival. As in 2013, Gold and Silver awards will be made, along with the coveted overall Arts Journalist of the Year award. In addition, the judging panel may choose to recognise extraordinary achievement in or special contributions to arts journalism in South Africa.

“The media tell the stories and narrative of the arts sector – a sector which highlights social capital, EQ and Shared Value.  It is because of this, that we support this Award, acknowledging and recognising the hard work that it takes to be a good – even great – arts journalist,” Michelle Constant, BASA CEO said.

The deadline for entries is Friday 28 March 2014.

Material may only be submitted if it was published or broadcast in the 2013 calendar year. Judges reserve the right to request the entrant to provide proof of publication or broadcast. The judges’ decisions will be final and no correspondence will be entered into. The names of the judges will be made known at the time of the announcement of the winners.


The National Arts Festival, now in its 40th year, has proved its sustainability and has grown to be one of the leading arts festivals in Southern Africa. Its objectives are to deliver excellence; encourage innovation and development in the arts by providing a platform for both established and emerging South African artists; create opportunities for collaboration with international artists; and build new audiences.

The National Arts Festival is sponsored by The National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, Standard Bank, Eastern Cape Government, Department of Arts and Culture, City Press and M Net.

Business and Arts South Africa is an internationally recognised development agency which incorporates the arts into, and contributes to, corporates’ commercial success. With a suite of integrated programmes, Business and Arts South Africa encourages mutually beneficial partnerships between business and the arts in order to grow SHARED VALUE. Business and Arts South Africa was founded in 1997 as a joint initiative of government and the business sector, as a public/private partnership.