Illustration masterclass

Target group
Practitioner with connection to Switzerland
Submission deadline
1 September


A one-year professional programme for children’s book illustrators from Switzerland and the regions of the Pro Helvetia liaison offices in the Middle East, China and South Asia. The 2025 programme focuses on the China region (mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan) and includes:

  • Monthly online meetings with international experts and stakeholders in the children’s literature sector
  • Online meetings with the illustrators participating in the programme every eight weeks
  • Trip to China in November 2025 (length of stay: 10 days)

Programme objectives:

  • Professional dialogue through working sessions on projects that are in development
  • Deepened knowledge of international markets
  • Visibility in the international book scene
  • Establishment of a network for children’s book illustrators from the Middle East, China, South Asia and Switzerland.

For Whom

  • Professional children’s book illustrators must have published at least one work with a publishing house that has professional structures

Selection Criteria

  • Artistically independent methodological approach and content-related relevance
  • Impressive artistic form for the project and impact objective
  • Motivation for participation in the programme

In addition to these specific criteria, the apply.

Financial Contribution

The main costs for the trip (accommodation, travel expenses, per diems) to China are covered by Pro Helvetia

Content Of Application

  • All applications must be submitted in English
  • CV and bibliography
  • Portfolio (as a PDF, max. 15 MB)
  • Description and excerpts from a picture book project currently in the works, including illustrations (max. 5 pages)
  • Motivation for participation in the programme

Application Deadlines and Decision Timelines

Applications can be submitted from1 July
Submission deadline1 September
Notification of decisionEight weeks after application deadline

Additional Information

  • The programme requires approximately 50 hours of mentoring, lectures and presentations to be completed over its 12-month duration (plus additional time for the trip to China).
Image by Dirk Koy

General Requirements


Pro Helvetia promotes the professional contemporary Swiss art and cultural production (without film) with a view to diversity as well as national and international reach. It supports the creation of new artistic works and productions, the exchange between Switzerland’s various linguistic regions, the dissemination of Swiss art and culture outside Switzerland and international cultural exchange. As a national foundation, Pro Helvetia supplements the promotional activities of Swiss cantons and municipalities and only supports projects that are cross-regionally or internationally recognised.

Pro Helvetia will only consider funding applications if they are complete and have been submitted on time.

To be eligible for support, projects must

  • have a clear connection to Switzerland
  • be of nationwide importance
  • be adequately co-funded by other public or private means
  • respects/guarantee fair working conditions

Connection to Switzerland

A connection to Switzerland is given, if one of the following conditions is met:

  • The production or project in question is developed or implemented by artists and cultural practitioners, who verifiably hold Swiss citizenship or are permanent residents of Switzerland and who are regularly artistically involved in relevant events in Switzerland.
  • The project is created, developed, or implemented by an independent group or cultural institution whose place of production is in Switzerland and who is regularly and publicly active in Switzerland.

Nationwide relevance

Nationwide relevance is given, if one of the following conditions is met:

  • The art and cultural practitioners participating in the project are regularly involved in programmes of nationally recognised art and cultural institutions in Swiss regions other than their own or abroad, and the project in question has a transregional appeal.
  • The artistic potential of an emerging art practitioner involved is exceptional in terms of a national or international career.
  • The project makes a significant contribution to the development of Swiss artistic and cultural production and its dissemination.
  • The project is of significant importance for the exchange between Switzerland’s various linguistic regions.

Assessment of content and quality

Within the framework of the available funds, Pro Helvetia prioritises projects that most comprehensively meet the funding criteria. The Foundation assesses whether

  • the project demonstrates high degree of independence and professional competence as well as social and thematic relevance
  • the project is implemented according to professional standards
  • the costs are commensurate with the expected impact
  • a lasting impact can be expected

Furthermore, the Foundation attaches great importance to the following aspects:

  • The project has an appropriate commitment to diversity.
  • Resources are used in an ecologically responsible manner and work and production are planned sustainably.


Pro Helvetia is unable to consider funding requests if

  • the same part of the submitted project is already received funding from other federal bodies (e.g. Federal Office of Culture, Presence Switzerland, Swiss National Science Foundation, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation)
  • the project is part of a school or university curriculum/basic training or continuing education programme (including dissertations, diploma projects, university scholarships, etc.)
  • funding is intended to cover infrastructure and equipment costs, as well as the costs of operating cultural facilities, archives and collections
  • the project does not depend on funding from Pro Helvetia

Status: January 2024