Cobi Labuscagne

Teacher Creative Business

Cobi is a cultural entrepreneur who has always had one foot in the academic world. After spending the last two decades managing her own business in contemporary art, design and the artisanal economy, she now enjoys bringing that knowledge into the classroom and learning from a new generation of students.


Between 2008 and 2019 Cobi ran her own organisation, Artlogic in Johannesburg with fellow shareholders, producing a large contemporary art fair (FNB JoburgArt Fair) amongst other large public events on the African continent and internationally. During this time her clients included local and national government, large corporate sponsors such as banks and telecommunications corporates and small businesses in the cultural sector. In her role as director, she managed stakeholders, did the organisational writing, editing, research and conceptualisation of their projects, as well as communications, marketing and finance.

Alongside her entrepreneurial activities, she has remained academically active by serving as Research Associate at GIBS (Gordon Institute of Business Science) between 2016 and 2022. She completed a PhD in sociology as a fellow at the Wits Institute of Social and Economic Research (WISER) in 2010 focused on the art economy, and have published in academic journals on topics of creative output as well as business management in the creative industries. In 2019 Cobi published a children’s book introducing and celebrating 42 of South Africa’s iconic contemporary artists. After selling her company in 2019 she worked as a consultant to the South African national government to roll-out a funding program out to the creative industries and do incubation work among creative entrepreneurs.

Fields of expertise

  • Creative industries
  • Research
  • Management and leadership
  • Financial management and reporting
  • Information systems
  • Future Thinking
  • Circular Economy
  • Entrepreneurship and innovation

Research themes

My research has centered around the creative industries such as art galleries, large creative platforms and other businesses in the artisanal economy. I have also published on knowledge management and organizational processes. My recent research focused on small businesses in the creative industries incorporating circular practices into their business models.

Recent project

Project title FNB Joburg Art Fair
Keywords Contemporary African art, creative industries
Years of completion 2008 - 2019
General project description My company initiated the first art fair on the African continent and the first fair to focus on Africa contemporary art. The Fair was the catalyst for art fairs with similar foci in New York, London, Marrakesh and Cape Town.
Role in project Director

Other recent projects

Project title Year(s) of completion Location  Role in project
FNB Joburg Art Fair 2008 - 2019 Johannesburg Director
Handmade Contemporary Fair 
2010 - 2029
Winter Sculpture Fair 
2012 - 2019
Africa Cycle Fair 
2013 - 2018
National Arts Council Economic Incentives Stimulus Fund  2020  Johannesburg Project Manager 

Key publications

Professional publications
Explore! Awesome South African Artists, Jacana Media, 2019

Public engagements: TEDEx
Scholarly publications Knowledge forms in the project lifecycle: A blue-print for knowledge management in small creative agencies in Johannesburg. South African Journal of Information Management. Volume 22, Issue 1

Crime, Art and Public Culture. Cultural Studies, Volume 27, Issue 3, 2012, pp 357 – 378

Representing the South African Landscape: Coetzee, Kentridge and the Ecocritical Enterprise. Journal for Literary Studies, Volume 23, Issue 4, 2007, pp 432 – 443.


University Year(s) of completion More information
University of Roehampton London 2016 - 2018 MsC in Information Systems Management. 50% of the course was MBA material and the other 50% dealt with Information Systems. Thesis: "Managing Knowledge and Knowledge Management in Small creative agencies in South Africa".

- Degree obtained with distinction
Wits University, Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research 2007 - 2010 D.Phil, Thesis: "Reflections on the Contemporary Moment in South Africa: Art Publics, Art Money, and Art Objects at the Joburg Art Fair", 2008 – 2009.

- Doctoral Fellowship awarded 2007 – 2010
Wits University, Wits School of the Arts 2004 - 2006 MaFa in Painting and Animation.

- Merit Award 2004 – 2006
- Degree obtained with distinction