The Cape Town International Jazz Festival announces dates for coveted 2018 Arts Journalism and Photo

The Cape Town International Jazz Festival (CTIJF) has opened applications for its highly regarded Arts Journalism and Photojournalism courses. Set to take place from 17th – 24th March 2018, both courses (minus travel and accommodation), will be offered free of charge to selected participants. espAfrika, founder and organiser of the CTIJF, made the move to provide the workshops without charge to further assist those looking to develop their careers in the vital recording of a people’s rich cultural history and future - through their lenses, pens and keyboards.

Both courses draw submissions from professionals already working in media, public relations, as well as students and those working to promote the arts. However, because both courses are intense and hands-on, providing direct access to lecturers and close encounters with some of the artists performing at the CTIJF, places are limited. Applications close on 15th February 2018 and those looking for a way to advance their skills and careers, are urged to apply sooner rather than later.

Billy Domingo, Festival Director of the CTIJF, said: “The Training and Development programmes of the Cape Town International Jazz Festival have always been an integral part of why this festival was created. Our desire has always been to build a robust foundation to promote new artists, capture the heritage of established performers and provide opportunities for those looking to establish a career in the entertainment arena (either front of house or behind the scenes), to get hands-on practical experience. It’s invaluable.

“But, although we can grow tomorrow’s artists through giving them a place to perform and reach new audiences, without having these performances and musical narratives captured for posterity and giving them the ability to reach and influence even more people, what’s the point? That’s why a strong contingent of modern day ‘data capturers’ is essential to the survival of the music, arts and cultural industry – worldwide – and why these courses continue to grow in relevance and importance.”

Ensuring the sustainability of the courses, respected arts and culture writer and journalist Gwen Ansell, stepped down in 2017 as lead of the course, and handed the reins to award-winning music aficionada, author and radio presenter, Percy Mabandu. However, Ansell will join Mabandu in Cape Town in March, to give voice to the Arts Journalism Public Debate – this year’s topic is set to provoke some strong responses.

Mabandu is passionate about the importance of culture journalism and the challenges of training competent art reporters. “As it was last year and will be for years to come, cultural coverage, beyond the borders of lightweight entertainment reporting, is a growing area of content production and journalism worldwide, and thus, extremely important. As a society we need to constantly account for advances or even regressions in our cultural life. The arts are able to feed us at a deeper level than the spoils of market economics will. Arts is where both our shared humanity is nourished. It takes competent arts journalism to be able to track how healthy we are as a culture. This is a skill we need to cultivate constantly; especially in an industry that is changing as rapidly as the media. The rise of digital media makes it even more urgent.”

Another graduate of both the Arts Journalism and Mentoring Arts Journalism programmes, is Caroline Mwangi, who will lead the CTIJF Photojournalism workshop for the third year. Caroline is a respected photographer and writer who has had several gallery exhibitions at home and abroad. She brings with her a thorough understanding of the medium and today’s working environment and needs. She generously shares her knowledge with her students, who leave enriched and looking with a different and even more in-depth perspective.

Because ‘content’ is the order of the day, this year’s course will see a closer working relationship and collaboration with the Arts Journalism students to consolidate the bond between words and images – both stills and video.

Students, who have their own equipment and will already have mastered the basics of photography, will learn how to develop a signature approach to crafting images and ones that tell a story. They will be given unprecedented access to artists and those involved in the staging of one of the world’s best jazz festivals, with the view of building comprehensive visual tapestries.

Both courses are for those looking to forge a career in the arts, those who have a desire to creatively preserve cultural contributions and to share with appreciative audiences.

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