NACN arts bursaries open for applications

Namibians eager to pursue a career in the arts are encouraged to apply for the National Arts Council of Namibia’s (NACN) bursary programme for undergraduate and postgraduate studies in the SADC region.

Applicants must be under 40 years of age. They must have completed Grade 11 or 12 and have an interest in pursuing tertiary education in the priority areas of arts education, curatorship, arts/cultural journalism, arts/cultural policy and management, arts research, digital art (game design), arts/cultural business, classical music or instrument craftmanship.

“We are proud to say that the NACN has funded students from the College of the Arts, University of Namibia, Namibia University of Science and Technology, the University of Limkokwing, the International University of Management and Triumphant College,” says NACN administrator Gretta Gaspar.

“As we are currently the only fund that is there for the creative sector, we are very much aware of the need to study and develop, support and fund these career fields. There is a need to have sectorial experts that can build and embrace the arts so that they can become creative entrepreneurs that are capable of building a professionalised industry that contributes to the country’s growth.”

The bursaries’ priority areas have been identified due to a lack of expertise in these sectors.

“We have set priority to these areas of study to guide the applicants into a career path so as to allow them to get or create employment in the sector based on their expertise,” says Gaspar. “Applicants should have a keen interest in pursuing an arts career and can submit evidence such as a CV, portfolio, etc.”

Various forms of NACN arts bursaries have been issued since 2005. A notable recipient of this support is working artist, curator, activist and educator Dr Nashilongweshipwe Mushaandja, who used the scholarship to help fund his PhD in performance studies at the University of Cape Town.

“I’d encourage all kinds of arts students to apply, whether you are in undergrad or postgrad. But I would actually like to encourage more people to do postgrad meaning honours, masters and PhDs because we lack those in the country,” says Mushaandja.

“I think studying art is crucial because it grounds you and your practice as an artist. It teaches you to think in particular ways and I think it also opens other doors for you,” Mushaandja says.

“I’m a practicing artist and I’ll always be that, whether I went to university or not, but because I went to university, I’m able to do other work like education or heritage work where I work with policies and in training. I am also able to go into academia because I’ve pursued the highest degree of academic scholarship. I think in the world today, artists need to be able to do more than just art practice.”

While the arts sector and its practitioners have historically been undervalued, Gaspar is pleased to see this narrative steadily changing and the NACN looks forward to assisting this change through the support of future arts industry professionals and leaders.

“The creative sector contributes so much to the GDP of this country, yet it is not measured or accounted for. It is imperative that we start professionalising it so that it is taken more seriously. The arts play a crucial task in our daily lives and helps us stay true to who we are and preserve our heritage and cultural practices,” Gaspar says.

“Without a creative sector that is diverse and creative, we as a nation will be confused as to what we want for the future of Namibia,” Gaspar says. “The NACN is there to develop and unlock creative potential for every Namibian who wants to participate.”

Applications for the NACN arts bursaries are open until 30 November at 16h00. Request an application form by emailing or at your closest Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture regional office.

–; Martha Mukaiwa on Twitter and Instagram;

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