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NEWSLETTER 18.12.2014


The government’s position statement on cultural policy (Kulturbotschaft) for 2016 to 2020, which sets a framework for arts and culture promotion by the Confederation, has cleared a further hurdle. The Federal Council has approved the entire dossier, including an overall budget of CHF 1.12 billion for the Federal Office of Culture, Pro Helvetia and the Swiss National Museum (Landesmuseum), and referred it to parliament. Media reaction to this decision was predominantly positive. In the opinion of «Neue Zürcher Zeitung», for example, Federal Councillor Alain Berset has presented a well-conceived programme in terms of content, with clearly defined priorities. The position statement will be debated by parliament in the coming year. We look forward to a broad-based discussion of cultural policy issues. But before it comes to this, we wish you all a happy Christmas time and a good start into the New Year!


Pro Helvetia Communications


Federal Council Approves Cultural Policy Statement

The Swiss government has green-lighted the position statement on cultural policy (Kulturbotschaft) for the years 2016 to 2020. In these five years, the prime aims will be to foster cultural participation, social cohesion and artistic creation and innovation. A total of CHF 1.12 billion is to be granted over the whole period, which represents a 3.4% rise in the annual budget compared to the previous period. Parliament is due to debate and decide on the issue next year. Further details can be found in the press release of the Federal Office of Culture (in German, French or Italian) at www.bak.admin.ch


Poetry in Basel

Basel’s 12th international lyrics festival will be held in Basler Literaturhaus from 23 to 25 January. The festival opens with female rapper Big Zis – known for her hefty, poetic verbal acrobatics – and a school class from Oberwil, who jointly created lyrical and other texts in advance of the festival. Those who like weird and whacky texts should enjoy the Dadaistic dialect pop presented by King Pepe from Berne and Herwig the Engine. Author Birgit Kempker will run a creative writing workshop under the heading «Gedichte sind Räume aus Worten» (poems are spaces made of words). The festival highlight will be the presenting of the «Basler Lyrikpreis» (Basel lyrics award). Programme details at www.lyrikfestival-basel.ch

Journey of Discovery Through the Swiss Jazz Scene

Ten bands, twenty clubs, fifty concerts. The Suisse Diagonales Jazz festival represents a journey of discovery through the landscape of young Swiss jazz from Frick to Sion, from La Chaux-de-Fonds to Biasca. First stop will be at Moods in Zurich on 10 January, where singer Erika Stucky and the «Hildegard lernt fliegen» formation are due to perform. «Akku Quintet» will also be on stage there at a later date. Further highlights of Suisse Diagonales Jazz include pianist Florian Favre from Fribourg, «Oggy & The Phonics» from Lausanne and the Ticino band «Insidevening». The programme can be found at www.diagonales.ch.

Dialogue Between Writers and Translators

Debates between authors and translators are at the heart of the «Bieler Gespräche» at the Bieler Literaturinstitut on 24 January. In workshops and round-table discussions, unpublished texts and their translation into another of Switzerland’s national languages will be explored and compared. Audiences can enjoy presentations of the short texts and poems. Participants in this, the eighth edition of the event, include Yari Bernasconi, Camille Luscher, Li Mollet, Gabriella Soldini and Elisabeth Wandler-Deck. Further information at www.bielergespraeche.ch


Spotlight on Swiss Dance in New York

From 9 to 18 January, New York’s dance aficionados will have the opportunity to discover contemporary dance from Switzerland. Parallel to the largest of international performing arts platforms - the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) - three Big Apple festivals have included Swiss dance productions in their programme. Marie-Caroline Hominal’s «The Triumph of Fame» can be seen at the Public Theatre, «Supernatural» by Simone Aughterlony at the American Realness festival, and «From A to B via C» by Alexandra Bachzetsis at the Swiss Institute as well as the Coil Festival. Details at americanrealness.com und utrfestival.tumblr.com und www.ps122.org

Collector of Memories Mats Staub in South Africa

Mats Staub collects memories and turns them into artistic projects. In his video installation «21 – Erinnerungen ans Erwachsenwerden» (memories of growing up), the artist from Berne shows people of different generations bringing up memories of when they were 21 years old. This long-term project will, with the backing of Pro Helvetia, now take him to South Africa on a research residency, where he will interview people who became 21 during or after the time of apartheid. Further information on residencies at www.prohelvetia.ch and on the project itself at www.matsstaub.com

Mentoring for Young Choreographers in Southern India

Philippe Saire’s dance company has, over the years, performed close to a thousand times in over 160 countries. With the support of Pro Helvetia’s liaison office in India, the Swiss dance maestro has now been invited to Bangalore to share his experience with young, up-and-coming choreographers. For one month, they will be working on new choreographies that are to be premiered at the Attakkalari India Biennial. This internationally renowned festival for contemporary dance, digital arts and research is scheduled for 6 to 15 February. Further details at attakkalari.org


Time for Writing

To have more time for the creation of a literary text. This is made possible by a work grant from Pro Helvetia for Swiss authors or those living in Switzerland. Support is granted for works in any one of Switzerland’s four national languages. Applicants must have at least one literary publication to their name, issued by a recognised publisher or a digital medium that provides editorial services. Further details on the conditions involved are available at www.prohelvetia.ch. The deadline for applications is 1 March 2015. 

Residency at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam

The residency programme at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam is a first-class launch pad for aspiring young visual artists. The programme includes not only a studio, an apartment and a monthly grant, but also mentoring, good infrastructure, an excellent network and initial opportunities to exhibit work in an international context. Pro Helvetia provides back-up for talented young Swiss artists who want to take part in the programme. Applications can be submitted from 1 January to 1 February 2015. Further information at www.rijksakademie.nl

Young Theatre Practitioners at Berliner Theatertreffen

Each year in May, the German-language theatre scene gets together at the Berliner Theatertreffen. The festival’s International Forum offers talented young theatre makers an intensive programme including the attendance of performances, workshops and a platform for discursive events. Pro Helvetia provides three theatre practitioners with the possibility of benefiting from this exceptional offer. Applicants must be 35 or younger, work professionally in a theatre environment in Switzerland on an ongoing basis, and have a good command of German. The deadline for applications is 31 January 2015. Details at www.prohelvetia.ch

Studio Roma

In connection with its «Studio Roma – Programma transdisciplinare sul contemporaneo» programme, the Istituto Svizzero di Roma (ISR) is inviting applications for an annual residency in the Villa Maraini. This offers workshops and field research with internationally renowned artists and experts. The research theme is: «Facing the crisis: the notion of surplus value in aesthetic experience, artistic practice and academic research». A total of twelve artists and researchers may take part. Applications are to be submitted by 9 February 2015. Further details at www.istitutosvizzero.it and www.studioroma.istitutosvizzero.it


On the Art of Staging in a Given Space

The term «scenography» is no longer restricted to the world of theatre. Staging in a given spatial context has now come to comprise practically all spheres of life, which can include anything from a political speech a city square to prison cells and virtual worlds in computer games. The cultural magazine «Passages» spotlights this largely unknown, yet omnipresent form of art and informs on the preparations for the world’s most important exhibition in the field of scenography – the Prague Quadrennial. For the latest edition go to: www.prohelvetia.ch.


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Pro Helvetia

Swiss Arts Council

Hirschengraben 22
8024 Zurich

Editor: Isabel Drews

Translations: Martin Striegel

Pro Helvetia supports and promotes Swiss culture in Switzerland
and throughout the world.