Civil Society and Social Change
Mike van Graan graduated from the University of Cape Town with an Honours Degree in Drama, and was appointed as an Honorary Professor in this Drama Department in 2015. He has served in leadership positions in numerous arts and culture NGOs including Director of the Community Arts Project (CAP), General Secretary of the Performing Arts Network of South Africa (PANSA) and Executive Director of the African Arts Institute in Cape Town.
After the country’s first democratic elections in 1994, he was appointed as a Special Adviser to the first minister responsible for arts and culture where he played an influential role in shaping post-apartheid cultural policies. In 2011, he was appointed by UNESCO as a Technical Adviser to assist governments in the global south to develop cultural policies aligned to the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.
In 2012 he received the Standing Ovation Award of the National Arts Festival, one of South Africa’s most important cultural events, for his sustained contribution to the festival as a writer and activist, and in 2013 was appointed as the inaugural festival playwright.
Last updated in July 2016