Seraina Rohrer, head of Innovation & Society Sector, talks about the new measures of support for transdisciplinary artistic projects dealing with social developments.
The world is changing rapidly and becoming ever more complex. Artists and cultural practitioners should have the possibility of engaging with these sociological shifts and integrating them in their artistic endeavours beyond the confines of their specific arts discipline – also in terms of support. A transdisciplinary approach can trigger various transformation processes and has therefore become a key pillar of Pro Helvetia’s Innovation & Society sector and the support it offers. Transdisciplinary projects generate synergies, with the mindsets, methods and procedures of the various disciplines entering into a dialogue. Artistic perspectives, digital technologies, non-artistic disciplines and scientific debate meet on a single platform. This leads to new experiences and insights that subsequently need to be critically reflected and processed with the aim of making a relevant contribution the shaping of our future.
Innovation requires freedom to experiment. Pro Helvetia is therefore offering artists and cultural practitioners an opportunity to develop and implement transdisciplinary approaches, to build national and international networks and to raise awareness for their artistic production.
Socially relevant projects foster critical reflexion and debate on topical issues such as digitalisation, social justice and climate change. Projects supported are aimed at a wide audience, not just at specialists in the field concerned.
Innovation refers to the development of new forms of expression and is based on collaboration between various disciplines. Innovative projects involve the use of hitherto unknown ideas, methods and/or processes and are future-oriented. They are the result of curiosity and the willingness to explore new territory. Innovation cannot be neutral in its stance, it is derived from a conscious attitude and positioning. It occurs, for example, when a designer researches the creation of new materials together with scientists and then integrates the findings in her or his artistic practice.
Non-artistic disciplines are understood to mean all fields that are outside the world of arts, for example biology, medicine, technology, sociology, anthropology and many others.
The term «(artistic) disciplines» in this context designates those disciplines that are promoted by Pro Helvetia. At present they comprise the following: visual arts, performing arts, literature, music, design and interactive media.
New insights in terms of method and content
New insight means the gaining of new knowledge and experience. In terms of method, this means the discovery of new methods or a new understanding of existing methods. With regard to content, the focus is on new content or deeper exploration of existing content.
A project has a pioneering character if, in its presented form, it is unlike anything that existed before. Such projects are forerunners for new trends and imply a high measure of initiative and inventiveness. Examples for projects with pioneering character are documentary theatre in the 1960s or the up-and-coming crypto art with its non-fungible tokens.
Events combining artistic disciplines
Pro Helvetia requires events combining artistic disciplines to involve at least three different artistic disciplines from the range that it supports (visual arts, performing arts, literature, music, design and interactive media). Funding requests for discipline-specific events must be submitted to the responsible division of Pro Helvetia. An example for an event that combines artistic disciplines is one that includes elements of literature, design and performing arts.
Further information on support for events that combine artistic disciplines can be found in the Guidelines (chapter 2.2.3, IV).
A transdisciplinary project combines artistic and non-artistic disciplines. The latter include, for example, biology, medicine, technology, sociology, anthropology and many others. Transdisciplinary projects generate a dialogue between a variety of disciplines, and this leads to new insights. To be eligible for support from Pro Helvetia, transdisciplinary projects must, as a rule, involve persons from at least three disciplines (of which at least one must be outside the arts). An example would be a project that combines visual arts, music and nutritional science.