University Of Johannesburg Arts & Culture

UJ Arts & Culture is a division of the Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture (FADA). The division, which is located at the university's Kingsway and Bunting Road campuses in Auckland Park, produces and presents world-class student and professional arts programmes. Students, alumni and staff make up the bulk of their audiences, but the centre is also open to the general public.

The UJ Arts & Culture centre boasts three formal interdisciplinary art venues, as well as a number of informal venues across UJ campuses. Promoting the work of Pan-African artists, local and abroad, this platform is vital to keeping the spirit of art alive in the city.

As far as independent performing and visual arts centres in the city go, this is one of the best. The architecture is contemporary and clean, giving visitors a sense of African pride in its design. The varsity vibe also adds to the experience as under normal circumstances students mull around the centre enticing audiences into the theatres and galleries.

Before COVID-19, shows were hosted here year-round, featuring the UJ Choir, student performers and professional actors and singers. Once lockdown is over, this is definitely one of the first places we'll be heading out to. If you've never attended an event here, make sure you do, too! It's sure to be a great introduction back out into the real world.

UJ Arts & Culture

What's On

Just because we're still cooped up inside and staying very far away from each other, doesn't mean we shouldn't enjoy world-class entertainment. In lieu of their usual autumn/winter showcases, the UJ Arts Centre will be presenting a series of virtual shows to raise funds for their students in need. Check out the awesome lineup below:


In recent months, the arts community has faced a multitude of challenges, including but not limited to adapting to producing work for online platforms, loss of income and a general sense of uncertainty. In response to these challenges, UJ Arts & Culture has pioneered their first ever digital 'unfestival'. A week long series of unevents and non-happenings, this is a festival experience unlike any other (mostly because nothing much is happening at all). The UJ Arts & Culture UNFESTIVAL is hosted in aid of the Dean's Bursary Fund and BASA's artist relief efforts. Buy your tickets here, but please don't show up.
Dates: Tuesday, 26 May 2020 – Saturday, 06 June 2020.
Venue: The Theatre of Nothing.
Ticket price: Tickets cost between R100 - R300 per show.
Click here for more information.
UJ Arts & Culture


If you're after actual digital content to keep you entertained during lockdown, tune in for UJ Arts & Culture's latest exhibition titled 'The Pandemic Project'. Featuring a number of visual artists including Ronél de Jager, Diane Victor, Allen Liang, Fana Tshabalala, Lothar Bötcher and Khaya Ndlovu, this brand-new digital exhibition is the first of its kind for the UJ Arts Centre. Each artist will present a series of work reacting to or reflecting on their experiences during lockdown. The exhibition will be available online for one day only, so don't miss it!

Dates: Friday, 31 July 2020 at 13:00 - 18:00.

Venue: UJ Arts & Culture's YouTube channel.

Ticket price: Viewing is free, but please RSVP your attendance to the exhibitions here.

Diane Victor

For More Information

Visit the UJ Arts & Culture website for more information, or follow them on social media:

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Contact them on 011 559 4674 or via email at [email protected].

UJ Arts & Culture - UNFESTIVAL

UJ Arts & Culture present the UNFESTIVAL - a week-long series of "un-events, non-happenings, non-workshops and a smorgasbord of nothing." Hosted in aid of the UJ FADA Dean's Bursary Fund and BASA's COVID-19 artist relief measures, the UNFESTIVAL promises to be deliriously funny and intentionally ironic in its non-existence. The festival calls attention to the plight of students and artists during these dire times, critiquing the sudden turn to digital media to reach audiences. Nevertheless, UJ Arts & Culture is asking their loyal patrons and lovers of the arts to donate to the Dean's Bursary Fund by purchasing tickets to these non-shows. Check out the full 'lineup' of performances, exhibitions and workshops here. We'll (not) see you there!

Dates: Tuesday, 26 May 2020 – Saturday, 06 June 2020.

Details: Contact UJ Arts & Culture on 011 559 4674 or via email at [email protected].

arts festivals

The Clanstival Music & Digital Interactive Festival

The KZN Midlands Art Festival draws in hundreds of visitors from across the country. This family-orientated festival usually takes place in September each year. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and national lockdown, things are set to change in 2020. Cue the Clanstival Music and Digital Interactive Festival - a full weekend of online content to enjoy with the whole family. The Clanstival Music and Digital Interactive Festival will welcome local and global audiences for daily performances from musicians, actors, students and digital exhibitors. Come and see the likes of Kevin Fraser, Elvis Blue, The Parlotones and The Gugulethu Tenors perform out of Hilton College to your home this June. Don't miss it!

Dates: Thursday, 25 June 2020 – Monday, 29 June 2020 between 17:00 – 20:00 daily.

Ticket price: Tickets cost R20 per family for full weekend viewing. Get yours here.

Details: Visit the Clanstival Music Festival website for more information.

The National Arts Festival 

With just 100 days to go until the annual Makhanda National Arts Festival, organisers announced that the festival would be going fully digital for the first time ever! This was to protect not only the thousands of expected visitors, but to ensure that the artists would still be able to make a profit and have their work seen by their peers, critics and you, the audience.

The 2020 National Arts Festival is set to take place over 11 days, bringing you an array of cutting-edge digital content to indulge in from the safety of your own home. You can expect some live performances, a few pre-recorded events and tons of innovation at this year's festival. Digital visitors will also be able to support the local tradespeople who would've exhibited their crafts at the Standard Bank Village Green market with their new virtual market feature.

For more information about how the 2020 National Arts Festival will unfold online, click here.

Dates: Thursday, 25 June 2020 - Sunday, 5 July 2020.

Details: Visit the NAF website for more information or contact them via email at [email protected]

Sirqus Alfon’s I Am Somebody at the 2019 National Arts Festival / Mark Wessels

Do you know of any other local arts festivals happening online? Let us know about them in the comments section below! 

UJ Arts & Culture

UJ Arts & Culture is a division of the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture at the University of Johannesburg in Auckland Park. The division works year round to produce world-class student theatre productions, art exhibitions and entertainment festivals. Their Arts Centre is also home to the award-winning UJ Choir, the annual UJ Weekend of Jazz Festival and various comedy show features in association with Goliath & Goliath. The UJ Arts Centre boasts three venues, which welcome students, parents and art lovers of all kinds to come and experience cutting-edge theatre, art, opera and installation performances.

Sadly, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the centre has suspended all activity and has postponed their scheduled events until public gatherings are once again allowed, disappointing ticket holders and loyal patrons. Moreover, for students sponsored by the UJ FADA Dean’s Bursary Fund, this will be devastating. The Dean's annual concert of opera and singing sponsors these students in part, offering them the chance to continue their studies unhindered by financial burdens. The 2020 Grand Night For Singing event was meant to take place on Saturday, 18 April 2020.

In its place, UJ Arts & Culture presents, 'SILENCE: A Grand Night for Nothing', which marks the absence of UJ’s annual Dean’s Concert and kicks off a week-long lineup of un-events - "un-theatre, un-dance, non-exhibitions, non-workshops and a smorgasbord of nothing."



On Tuesday, 12 May 2020, UJ Arts & Culture announced its all new 'counter intuitive', 'COVID-19 response' UNFESTIVAL programme. A tongue-in-cheek take on what it means to both produce and consume art in these times, the UNFESTIVAL is about "mourning for many of the things we love, of which the pandemic has robbed us," says Pieter Jacobs, Head of UJ Arts & Culture. "By its very nature, a festival of nothing makes no sense. Festivals are celebrations of traditions, cultures and things we love. But COVID-19 came and turned everything on its head."

Indeed, UJ Arts & Culture has embraced this 'new normal' by creating a week-long festival of 'un-events'. While many arts organisations are turning towards digital solutions to bring art to the masses, the UNFESTIVAL does the opposite. However, it does address the absurdity of the current moment, calling out those trying to 'make sense of things', in a world where very little makes sense. That's why instead of turning to digital solutions for their work to keep you entertained at home, UJ Arts & Culture are asking would be audiences to purchase tickets to a series of non-happenings, in aid of the Dean's Bursary Fund and Business and Arts South Africa’s (BASA) artist relief efforts.

Jacobs announced, "Fifty per cent of UNFESTIVAL SA’s proceeds will be distributed to needy students via the UJ FADA Dean's Bursary Fund, which provides support for academically deserving students, and presents an opportunity for the public to give hope to the academic journey of the youth. The balance of 50% will be distributed via BASA's Supporting Grants programme, which now offers artists and creative practitioners once-off, short-term financial aid for COVID-19-related medical care or to offset the loss of income due to the cancellation of confirmed engagements."

Why Not Host A Real Digital Festival?

In case you weren't aware, thousands of South African artists face dire circumstances in light of the national lockdown. Government has done very little to aid artists who will be out of work for months to come as theatre productions, art exhibitions, film shoots and most other public events have been halted. Showing our support to hard-working artists is vital, especially since many of us have made it through lockdown thanks to their creative output. Just think about how many books, films, television shows and live streaming events you have watched during this time. How much of the content you have consumed was made free by the artists?

The UJ Arts & Culture UNFESTIVAL addresses these issues and many more, simply by not existing. Show your support by purchasing a ticket to any one of the nine 'un-events', but please don't actually come. You'll be sorely disappointed and very much alone. You'll also be in violation of lockdown, so rather stay home.


For More Information

The UJ Arts & Culture UNFESTIVAL takes place from Tuesday, 26 May 2020 - Saturday, 06 June 2020. Visit or for full programme details. Bookings open on Thursday, 21 May 2020.

Follow them on social media for more information:

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Contact them on 011 559 4674 or via email at [email protected].