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Guidelines for Applicants Interdisciplinary projects

The Arts Council’s criteria for support as well as information about the procedures for submitting an application and the deadlines are contained in the Guidelines for applicants.

1. General conditions

Status: January 2018

Pro Helvetia promotes artistic work and activities from Switzerland, with a focus on diversity as well as on national and international appeal. It supports the creation of interdisciplinary work, the dissemination of artistic work from Switzerland abroad, cultural exchange within Switzerland as well as audience awareness of the arts. As a national institution, Pro Helvetia supplements the promotional activities of Swiss cantons and municipalities and supports only projects that are cross-regionally or internationally recognised.

To qualify for support from Pro Helvetia, the project must

  • be clearly connected to Switzerland;
  • be of nationwide importance;
  • be publicly accessible;
  • be adequately co-financed by other public or private sponsors (incl. event organisers).

2. Scope of promotion

2.1 Work grants

Pro Helvetia supports the creation of new interdisciplinary work and its first public presentation by means of contributions to:

  • productions by Swiss art practitioners and independent groups;
  • co-productions of foreign and Swiss art practitioners and independent groups.

Transdisciplinary formats and projects that combine several arts disciplines in a conceptual manner, in particular by applying new media and technology, are considered to be interdisciplinary.

As a general rule, public presentation of the work at cross-regionally recognised festivals and venues in Switzerland is a condition for support. Projects in the digital sphere must contain evidence of a national or international distribution strategy on the internet. Projects that are publicly presented in multiple cities are prioritised.

2.2 Project contributions

2.2.1 Events in Switzerland

Considered to be interdisciplinary are:

  • transdisciplinary event formats (e.g. festivals)
  • projects that combine several arts disciplines in a conceptual manner

Project grants are contributions towards costs incurred in the context of a public presentation of a project. For contributions towards production costs, an application for a work grant has to be submitted.

Pro Helvetia supports interdisciplinary projects by independent groups and art practitioners at nationally recognised venues and festivals in a linguistic region of Switzerland other than the individual’s or group’s own.

The Artists – Theatre – Organisers Association of Switzerland (ktv) provides support on behalf of Pro Helvetia for domestic tours in the area of cabaret and variety shows involving theatre, dance or music (Kleinkunst): www.ktv.ch.

2.2.2 Events abroad

Considered to be interdisciplinary are:

  • transdisciplinary event formats (e.g. festivals);
  • projects that combine several arts disciplines in a conceptual manner.

Project grants are contributions towards costs incurred in the context of a public presentation of a project. For contributions towards production costs, an application for a work grant has to be submitted.

Pro Helvetia supports interdisciplinary projects by independent groups and art practitioners at internationally recognised venues and festivals. As a rule, the amount of support provided is linked to the travel and transport expenses involved.

Pro Helvetia fosters the international exchange of knowledge. Eligible for support are specialists who contribute to the content of public events outside of Switzerland on topics connected with Swiss artistic production. As a rule, the amount of support is measured against the travel expenses. The application is to be submitted by the event organiser.

2.2.3 Arts and audience projects

Pro Helvetia supports arts and audience projects in Switzerland that engage audiences in personal encounters with professional artistic creation and thereby heighten their awareness of artistic works and presentations. Projects can be considered for promotion if they contain an innovative approach to outreach and education in practice and therefore are of nationwide exemplary nature or if they focus on more than one linguistic region in Switzerland.

Factsheet on the promotion of arts and audience outreach

2.2.4 Residencies

Pro Helvetia supports studio and research residencies of Swiss arts practitioners in China, India (or other south Asian countries), Russia, Egypt (or other Arab countries) and Southern Africa.

Guidelines Residencies

2.2.5 Publications and translations

Pro Helvetia supports the publication of work by professionally qualified Swiss authors dealing with Swiss topics of any arts discipline from a contemporary perspective.

Pro Helvetia also supports the translation of theme-based publications dealing with topics of Swiss cultural practice from a contemporary perspective. The authors do not necessarily have to be Swiss.

Factsheet on the promotion of non-fiction book projects

3. Exclusions

Pro Helvetia provides no support if

  • the same part of the project is already supported by other Federal institutions (e.g. Swiss Federal Office of Culture, Presence Switzerland, Swiss National Science Foundation, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation);
  • the project is part of a school, college or university curriculum or a training course (incl. research projects, theses, dissertations, diploma projects, scholarship projects, etc.);
  • the support is intended for infrastructure or equipment costs, or for the operational costs of cultural institutions, archives or collections;
  • the project is not dependent on financial support.

4. Dossier contents

An application to Pro Helvetia must contain the following items:

  • description of the project;
  • place and date of the event(s);
  • information on the arts practitioners or groups and all key persons involved in the project;
  • budget and finance plan including specification of the contribution requested from Pro Helvetia.

Pro Helvetia accepts applications exclusively via www.myprohelvetia.ch.

5. Application deadlines and time until decision is taken

Applications not subject to a fixed deadline are decided on within eight weeks, those subject to a fixed deadline within four months.

Application typeApplication deadlineBeginning of events
Work grants (productions and co-productions)1 Septemberfrom 1 January
1 Marchfrom 1 July
Project grants up to CHF 25‘000 towards events in Switzerland and abroad
ongoing, up to 8 weeks before the first event
Project grants of over CHF 25‘000 towards events in Switzerland and abroad1 Septemberfrom 1 January
1 Decemberfrom 1 April
1 Marchfrom 1 July
1 Junefrom 1 October

6. Processing of applications

6.1 Pre-assessment

Pro Helvetia decides to process an application only if

  • the project in question fulfils the general criteria for support (cf. section 1);
  • there is no reason for exclusion (cf. section 3);
  • the application is complete and has been submitted on time (cf. sections 4 and 5).

6.2 Qualitative evaluation

Pro Helvetia assesses whether

  • the project fulfils the requirements of high artistic and technical quality;
  • the project is executed in accordance with professional standards;
  • the costs are proportionate to the impact expected;
  • the project is likely to have a long-term Impact.

6.3 Decision-making bodies

  • Work grants: The decision on applications is taken by the directorate of Pro Helvetia on recommendation of a jury.
  • Project contributions: The decision on requests for up to CHF 50,000 is taken by Pro Helvetia’s Cultural Promotion department.
  • The decision on applications for more than CHF 50,000 as well as on several years of support agreements is taken by the directorate of Pro Helvetia at the request of the Committee of Experts and after consultation with the Management Board; decisions on applications for over CHF 300,000 must be approved by the Board of Trustees.

6.4 Notification of a decision

A decision is communicated without detailed reasons being given. On receipt of the decision, applicants can demand an official decision statement from Pro Helvetia against which an appeal can be lodged.

6.5 Obligations of recipients of support from Pro Helvetia

A pledge of support by Pro Helvetia places certain obligations on the applicants. If the applicants do not fulfil these obligations, Pro Helvetia is entitled to reduce the amount of support accordingly or demand a refund of support payments already made.

Factsheet for grant recipients

6.6 Disbursement

Pro Helvetia makes the support payments only after a final report, including the accounts, has been examined. Advance payments are possible on request. Unless the applicants notify Pro Helvetia of any delays, funding expires at the latest one year after the project’s closing date specified in the application dossier. If no closing date has been specified, Pro Helvetia sets deadlines itself.

6.7 Appeals

Decision statements from Pro Helvetia can be appealed within 30 days of the date of receipt. The appeals must be lodged with the Federal Administrative Court (Bundesverwaltungsgericht). An appeal must include the original application as well as the reasons for the appeal, including appropriate evidence, and must be signed by the appellant. The decision statement being appealed against needs to be enclosed as evidence. Appellants bear the costs of this procedure.

Appeals are to be submitted to:
CH-9023 St. Gallen

7. Purpose of the guidelines and legal basis

The guidelines explain what is needed to submit a complete application for support from Pro Helvetia for an artistic or a cultural project, what the criteria for the evaluation of an application are, what deadlines and procedures apply, and what legal steps can be taken. The guidelines supplement the Grant Ordinance (Verordnung über Beiträge der Stiftung Pro Helvetia) adopted by Pro Helvetia’s Board of Trustees on 23 November 2011 as well as the Arts and Culture Promotion Act (Kulturförderungsgesetz) of 11 December 2009 and the Arts and Culture Promotion Ordinance (Kulturförderungsverordnung) of 23 November 2011. These legal documents can be accessed (in German, French and Italian) on Pro Helvetia’s website at


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Andreas Moos
Head of Funding and Cultural Promotion


Milena Pellegrini
Interdisciplinary projects (until 31.12.18)


Tobias Rothfahl
Interdisciplinary projects & work grants


Eva Stensrud
Interdisciplinary projects and «performing arts cooperation projects in Europe»