Communications and Marketing consultant working mostly in arts and culture. Publicity in Durban.
She is the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) publicist.
Communications specialist Sharlene Versfeld, has been involved professionally in the South African arts sector since 1987. She is most noted for her work as an arts marketer, and was a winner of the inaugural Arts & Culture Trust Award of the President for publicity in 1998.
Versfeld began her career at the Natal Performing Arts Council (now The Playhouse) as an arts administrator, education officer and Marketing Manager. In 1993 she began consulting to arts organisations and has worked on a variety of arts projects across many genres.
In 1997 she was part of the team that launched the University of KwaZulu Natal's Centre for Creative Arts with Breyten Breytenbach and publisher Adriaan Donker with the inaugural Poetry Africa international poetry festival. Since then she has worked closely with the CCA in marketing its four major festivals each year: the Durban International Film Festival, Jomba Contemporary Dance Experience, Poetry Africa and Time of the Writer International Writers Festival.
Versfeld focuses on developing marketing strategies for events and organisations, across all genres of the arts including dance, visual art, film, music, theatre and literature. She has also had extensive experience working in the corporate sector including with Sun International, Unilever, Boxer Superstores, SPAR and other major enterprises as well as with government departments on a number of projects such as the African Renaissance Festival, United Against Racism Conference and COP17.
Over the years, Versfeld has conducted marketing workshops with arts organisations and community groups. She has recently co-written and edited ARTerial Network's Arts Marketing, and Advocacy and Networking Toolkits and edited their Arts Fundraising Toolkit.
In 2012 she was contracted to do research for the British Council and travelled to HQ in London where she presented research findings, together with Nicolette du Plessis of Cultural Radius, on the South African arts landscape in relation to international agencies and collaborations.
Sharlene is a Board member of the Flatfoot Dance Company and does pro bono marketing for various community projects in KwaZulu-Natal, including Action in Autism, an advocacy and lobbying civil society organisation.
In 2012 Versfeld & Associates was nominated for a BASA (Business Arts South Africa) Award for Sponsorship in Kind for the work she does with the Flatfoot Dance Company.