On Thursday, 21st of September 2006, CityVaristy, the leading school of media and creative arts, and the only institution that offers a complete Higher Education Training (HET) media educational programme in South Africa, officially opened a new campus at the Carfax venue in Newtown.
Until now, CityVarsity’s only campus was in Cape Town. The launch of this second campus brings with it the creative inspiration and excellence in media arts higher education that the Cape Town campus is celebrated for. According to Harry Penberthy, project manager for CityVarsity Newtown, it’s a development that was meant to be.
“Newtown is a cultural creative melting pot. It brings together diverse cultures with diverse creative disciplines. It is a communal centre that inspires creative people to push boundaries and develop talent. It is truly representative of South Africa and the perfect breeding ground for true African designers and artists,” says Penberthy.
CityVarsity Newtown will meet an urgent and growing demand for specialist higher education in the fields of creative arts and media in Gauteng, which generates a third of the country’s GDP and ten percent of the GDP for Africa… with 40 percent of that being generated by the city of Johannesburg alone.
The regeneration of Newtown reflects its rich history as the hub of cultural and creative exchange and has been identified as a key focus area with the potential to attract major investment, particularly in creative industries, culture and tourism.
Today Newtown is at the dawn of new era as a creative hub and home to a number of businesses from coffee shops to restaurants, night clubs to live music venues, theatre to art exhibitions and galleries, media and advertising agencies to architectural practices, brand companies to radio stations, fashion design houses to jewellery design studios and corporate head quarters. And it’s now home to the country’s leading media and creative arts school.
According to Penberthy, much of Newtown’s creative energy is at the moment resident in its offices and buildings. But he predicts that it is just a matter of time before this energy really starts spilling out onto the streets. “I’m thinking creative hubs such as Brick Lane in London, Temple Bar in Dublin and Londonderry in Northern Ireland,” says Penberthy.
Newtown is strategically positioned in the Johannesburg metropolitan context, within reach of a broad spectrum of city users and close to the SABC, the national broadcaster. There are a number of opportunities for investment in the creative industries, specifically film, television, music, as well as for recording and production, crafts and design, multi-media and information technology.
“Newtown is an exciting place for creative people to be – we are leading the way in innovative media arts education,” concludes Penberthy.