«In the coming years, those promoting culture need to recognise and support the existential concerns and the different voices of those working in the arts and culture as best and as timely as possible in our critical times, and to strengthen the role of cultural practitioners in society.»Philippe Bischof, Director
«Against the background of increasing identitarian demands, geostrategic tensions and armed conflicts, culture forms a bridge between societies and people.»Charles Beer, Chairman of the Board of Trustees
In 2022, Pro Helvetia supported over 2000 art and cultural projects throughout Switzerland. Pro Helvetia supports Swiss artistic creation in all its diversity and ensures its dissemination across the country’s different language regions. The Swiss Arts Council supports cultural projects of national significance on an application basis and provides the arts and culture in Switzerland with fresh impetus.
After two years of the Covid-19 pandemic, which rendered long-term planning impossible, in 2022, the new realities in the cultural sector confronted the Foundation with fresh challenges. It was essential to root culture in social life again and to address the necessary changes. Against this background, Pro Helvetia included temporary support measures in its portfolio, which are meanwhile proving expedient for the future too. Through these measures, the Foundation supported the work of Swiss artists and cultural practitioners and its dissemination.
In 2022, Pro Helvetia supported over 3900 art and cultural projects in 98 countries as part of its international activities. Pro Helvetia awards grants on an application basis to Swiss cultural projects that are presented worldwide. The Foundation thus promotes contemporary art and culture from Switzerland across the world. Through its global network, Pro Helvetia supports the development of professional, international networks in all the creative disciplines supported by the Swiss Arts Council and strengthens cultural exchange and collaborations at an international level.
The two years of the Covid-19 pandemic posed great challenges for international cooperation. Although artists and cultural practitioners have been able to travel and cross borders more easily again since 2022, international mobility remains a major challenge. In addition, new uncertainties have arisen, such as Russia’s war against Ukraine. To once again strengthen international exchange and cooperation, the Foundation’s global network, consisting of many long-standing partnerships, proved to be crucial.
Our global network includes six liaison offices, as well as the Centre culturel suisse in Paris (CCS), the Istituto Svizzero in Rome (ISR) and its branch in Milan, and the Swiss Institute in New York (SINY). Pro Helvetia’s global network enables artists and cultural practitioners from Switzerland to attend important events. It also promotes exchange and cooperation with local cultural institutions and artists.
Pro Helvetia’s global network faced numerous challenges in 2022. Some regions of the world experienced a spirited revival of cultural activities. For example, the long-term, multilateral «Live Arts Workshop» in New Delhi continued or the «CCS on Tour» project was launched. At the same time, the situation for artists and cultural practitioners in other regions of the world was concerning: In China, isolation and severe restrictions on the freedom of movement strongly affected the arts and culture. The cultural scene in Russia was polarised by the country’s war of aggression against Ukraine and was partly driven into exile. Overall, Pro Helvetia’s global network focused its efforts on supporting professional cultural exchange and networking between artists and cultural practitioners facing very different circumstances.
«Writing and translating anchor me in life, ground me and give me a sense of being. They are like two masts of a ship which constantly support me and which I can rely on, especially now, at a time when my country, my language and my culture are threatened by war.
And the feeling of being at home literature is still able to offer, even when you feel paralysed and helpless, when you lose all your words, and you rediscover language within yourself.»LIUBA-PARASKEWIJA STRYNADIUK
The Ukrainian author and translator from German into Ukrainian will spend four months
in residence at Looren Translation House in Hinwil in spring 2023.
«Networking, connecting, negotiating: rooting myself in a new place for a short time enabled me to consider both my own practice and what was happening around me from an external vantage point. By connecting with the residents of these wonderfully special islands, I was able to better understand the political and social contexts and subsequently address them in an installation together with local people. This physical moment existed only fleetingly; the most diverse connections have different durations. What remains is renegotiated time and again.»MARIE SCHUMANN
Visual artist Marie Schumann spent a three-month residency at Palazzo Trevisan degli Ulivi in Venice.
«The Centre culturel suisse has temporarily left Paris and embarked on a Tour de France. Such a journey evokes a truly nomadic spirit: being on the move means following the natural rhythm of artists and their work with the aim of opening up new possibilities.»CLAIRE HOFFMANN
Visual arts curator, Centre culturel suisse, Paris
«Directing a festival like Les Créatives presents a real challenge. It is also about gathering the audience around an original and attractive programme while responding to our individual and collective realities and contexts. The year 2022 was anything but exemplary in the area of women’s and third-gender rights. Once again, the fragility of what has been achieved so far became evident and with it the importance of listening to and actively supporting feminist concerns.
For Les Créatives, advancing gender equality, especially in the arts and culture, involves continuously fostering relationships and dialogue with creators and their cultural and institutional networks.»ERMELA HAILE AND NEVENA PULJIC
Co-directors and programmers, Festival Les Créatives
Of the CHF 44.2 million available to Pro Helvetia in 2022, 86.6 per cent were invested directly invested in art and cultural activities. At 13.4 per cent, the share of administrative costs lay within the range defined by the Federal Council. In 2022, Pro Helvetia received a total of 5390 applications. Compared to the previous year, the share of approved applications fell by around three percentage points to 42.4 per cent.
Of the CHF 44.2 million spent by Pro Helvetia in 2022, 86.6 per cent went directly to cultural activities. At 13.4 per cent, the share of administrative costs, calculated based on the ZEWO standard, remained within the range defined by the Federal Council.
Projects of offices abroad
Projects of offices abroad
Amounts spent in CHF
In the context of the Federal Cultural Policy Statement (Kulturbotschaft), Swiss Parliament grants Pro Helvetia a framework budget every four years. For the four-year period 2021–2024, the Swiss Arts Council received CHF 180.4 million. The 2022 instalment amounted to CHF 44.2 million.
In 2022, Pro Helvetia received 5390 applications. Support was granted to projects in the fields of Design & Interactive Media, Literature, Music, Performing Arts, Transdisciplinarity and Visual Arts.
In 2022, none of Pro Helvetia’s funding decisions were appealed. An appeal pending from the previous year was approved by the Federal Administrative Court, with the respective application being referred to the Foundation for reassessment.
The share of approved applications decreased by around three percentage points compared to the previous year. However, significantly more applications were submitted in 2022 than in the previous year. The absolute number of approved applications therefore increased slightly in 2022.
For the 2021–2024 funding period, the Swiss Arts Council has introduced a new key figure system. The approval rate is now calculated exclusively based on third-party applications. Own initiatives are no longer included.
Support granted by Pro Helvetia takes into account Switzerland’s linguistic and cultural diversity.
Principal languages by region.
Source: Federal Statistical Office (as at 2020)
Project funds granted
In 2022, Pro Helvetia funded 2038 arts and cultural projects in Switzerland. Projects were spread nationwide across 189 localities – from rural municipalities, such as Gordola, Arosa or Crissier, through towns, such as Frauenfeld, Fribourg or Zug, to densely populated conurbations, such as Bern, Geneva, Basel or Zurich.
Besides its domestic activities, in 2022, Pro Helvetia supported over 3900 Swiss art and cultural projects in 98 countries.
Pro Helvetia regularly evaluates its commitments and measures. In 2022, the Foundation focused on optimising internal administrative processes. On the one hand, an external audit of the IT security system was conducted to identify possible security gaps early on. On the other, Pro Helvetia’s website will undergo a thorough overhaul by the end of 2023, to ensure the Swiss Arts Council can respond even more appropriately and more uniformly to applicants’ needs in the future.
After various updates, improvements and further developments of its IT infrastructure in recent years, Pro Helvetia decided to conduct a comprehensive external analysis of its IT security in 2022, in order to identify any gaps – particularly in the area of cyber defence – and to initiate necessary countermeasures. The analysis revealed that while the Swiss Arts Council had an effective security system in place, there was room for improvement and optimisation, such as integrating cyber risks into the organisation’s overall risk management, increasing staff awareness of cyber threats or introducing consistent information security governance. Based on these findings and the resulting expert recommendations, appropriate measures have been taken, such as updating IT policies, documenting key ad hoc processes and introducing regular cyber risk awareness sessions for staff. Further measures will follow in 2023 and 2024 to raise Pro Helvetia’s IT security mechanism to the highest possible standard.
To integrate content and technological developments, and to address its target groups even more purposefully, the Swiss Arts Council is preparing a complete redesign of its website.
The digital relaunch will focus on optimising user experience: the new website will make navigating funding measures easier, will provide a better overview of the Swiss Arts Council’s activities and will make its digital channels more coherent and better aligned.
Pro Helvetia has commissioned reverse, a Zurich-based service design agency, with this project. Among other measures, the agency conducted a series of interviews with both various internal teams and a diverse range of arts and culture stakeholders. The hearings served to identify existing needs and potential to establish the foundations for the new website’s architecture and functionality. The new site is due to go online in January 2024.