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Guidelines for Applicants: Music

These guidelines set out the procedure for submitting a funding application in the field of music to the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia. They also explain the assessment criteria, procedures, deadlines and appeals process. These guidelines supplement the Grant Ordinance of 27 November 2019 of the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia, as well as the Federal Act of 11 December 2009 on Culture Promotion and the Ordinance of 23 November 2011 on Culture Promotion.

Status: January 2022

1. General Requirements

Pro Helvetia promotes contemporary professional Swiss music with a view to ensuring its diversity as well as its national and international reach. It supports the creation of new musical works, as well as the dissemination of contemporary Swiss music outside Switzerland, international cultural exchange and exchange between Switzerland’s various linguistic regions. As a national foundation, Pro Helvetia only supports projects of cross-regional or international significance and supplements the promotional activities of Switzerland’s cantons and cities.

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 funders (including event organisers)

2. Funding Measures

Applications may be submitted by music professionals or event organisers. The formats for which applications can be submitted are explained in the sections below (2.1. for music professionals, 2.2. for event organisers).

2.1 Music Professionals

Pro Helvetia defines music professionals as both individuals (composers, musicians) and collectives (bands, ensembles, orchestras, etc.). For event organisers see 2.2.

2.1.1 World premieres of new musical works

Pro Helvetia supports the composition and first public performance of new works by Swiss composers. To be eligible for funding, composers and performing musicians must be nationally established and the new works must premiere at renowned festivals and/or concert series in Switzerland or abroad. Pro Helvetia can award funding for both composition fees and performance costs. The production of recordings and their live premiere are supported exclusively via 2.1.2 (production of recordings including release tour). Scenic productions as well as sound installations are supported exclusively via 2.1.4 (sound art and music theatre).

Application deadlines: see Section 5.

2.1.2 Production of recordings in connection with international release tour

Pro Helvetia supports Swiss bands and musicians in developing, recording and internationally premiering their own compositions (new repertoire). In the context of international release tours, contributions can be made towards travel and transport costs (excluding accommodation costs) as well as towards bookings and canvassing. Contributions can also be made towards the production and recording of the new repertoire as well as international distribution (analogue and/or digital) and promotion. To be eligible for funding, the band or musician must be nationally established and be performing regularly at renowned venues abroad, and must present a convincing diffusion concept. Pro Helvetia gives priority to tour projects that maintain a sustainable use of resources, in particular when large distances are covered (coherent routing, selection of means of transport, connected series of performances, etc.). Pro Helvetia may assume additional costs incurred in this connection. Event organisers are expected to pay appropriate fees and to cover local production and accommodation costs.

Application deadlines: see Section 5.

Covid-19

Due to the limited possibility of international touring, release tours in Switzerland will also be temporarily considered, provided that they are realized in 2022 and take place in different language regions. This measure concerns tours in connection with the release of a new repertoire only. From 2023 onwards, productions of recordings will only be supported in connection with an international release tour.

2.1.3 International tours and performances outside Switzerland

Pro Helvetia supports nationally established Swiss ensembles, bands and musicians to tour internationally and to perform at major festivals and venues. Pro Helvetia also supports foreign ensembles and musicians to perform the works of contemporary Swiss composers. To be eligible for support, programmes must comprise an own repertoire (i.e. original compositions) or contain a substantial number of works by contemporary Swiss composers. In the context of international tours, contributions can be made towards travel and transport costs (excluding accommodation costs) as well as towards bookings and canvassing. Pro Helvetia gives priority to tour projects that maintain a sustainable use of resources, in particular when large distances are covered (coherent routing, selection of means of transport, connected series of performances, etc.). Pro Helvetia may assume additional costs incurred in this connection. Event organisers are expected to pay appropriate fees and to cover local production and accommodation costs.

Application deadlines: see Section 5.

2.1.4 Production grants for sound art and music theatre

With its production grants, Pro Helvetia supports the creation of scenic and performative musical productions as well as sound installations regardless of genre and format. Funding is available for projects in the field of music theatre, multimedia works, sound installations and other forms of sound art, as well as for musical productions linked to forms of artistic expression in other disciplines. Support is granted for conceptually and organisationally convincing projects realised by cross-regionally established music professionals. Co-productions with international partners are possible. To be eligible for support, productions must be publicly presented at renowned venues. Grants may be awarded for all steps in the production process, from project development to performance. The production of recordings can be supported only via 2.1.2.

Application deadlines: 1 March and 1 September; the first public event may take place no sooner than four months after the application deadline. These applications are evaluated by a jury.

Decision timeline: within four months of the application deadline.

2.1.5 High priority jazz promotion

The three-year funding programme «High priority jazz promotion» is aimed at younger leaders of Swiss working bands who are at the beginning of an international career, who have already completed international tours and who are aiming to strengthen their international presence.

Application deadline: 1 November for every subsequent year. These applications are evaluated by a jury.

Decision timeline: within four months of the application deadline.

2.1.6 Residencies and research trips

i. Countries and regions covered by the six liaison offices

Pro Helvetia supports residencies and research trips by Swiss musicians to the countries covered by its six liaison offices as well as to other selected regions (Arab region, China, Russia, South America, South Asia, West Africa, Central Africa, East Africa and Southern Africa). Pro Helvetia also supports residencies and research trips to Switzerland by musicians from specific countries.

More information: Residencies and Research Trips

ii. Art, science and technology

Pro Helvetia supports residencies at the interface of art, science and technology in collaboration with CERN in Geneva, South Africa, India and Chile. These residencies are aimed at practitioners from all arts disciplines that are promoted by Pro Helvetia.

More information: Guidelines for Applicants: Innovation & Society

2.1.7 Research and production grants for transdisciplinary projects

Pro Helvetia supports the creation of experimental transdisciplinary projects. Funding can be granted for research and/or production. As a rule, projects must involve persons from at least three disciplines (of which at least one must be outside the arts).

More information: Guidelines for Applicants: Innovation & Society

2.1.8 Critical reflection

Each year up to 2024, Pro Helvetia is launching a theme-based call for projects that are intended to stimulate opinion forming and critical discussions on the role of art and culture in society. Eligible for support are exemplary, transdisciplinary projects that seek new forms of critical reflection on contemporary art production and art criticism, and that appeal to different types of audiences.

More information: Guidelines for Applicants: Innovation & Society

2.2 Event Organisers

Pro Helvetia defines event organisers as institutions (e.g. festivals, concert series) that programme and organise musical events and performances. For music professionals see 2.1.

2.2.1 Events in Switzerland

Pro Helvetia supports festivals and concert series with a national reach that place strong emphasis on exchange between the various language regions of Switzerland and/or that launch exchange projects between the country’s different  linguistic regions, and/or that premiere compositions by Swiss composers or new productions by Swiss musicians. Event organisers are expected to aim for a balanced gender mix in their programme and to pay performing musicians commensurate fees (i.e. in accordance with the rates of the relevant professional associations). Co-funding by other public funders is required (subsidiarity). Pro Helvetia can award funding towards production and performance costs; in the case of world premieres, it also contributes to cover composition fees.

Application deadlines: see Section 5.

Pro Helvetia also supports Swiss folk culture projects with a global grant administrated by the IG Volkskultur. Applications must be submitted to the IG Volkskultur.

Applications must be submitted according to the IG Volkskultur Fact Sheet (see volkskultur.ch)

2.2.2 Events outside Switzerland

Pro Helvetia supports internationally renowned event organisers for the programming of Swiss bands and musicians with an own repertoire as well as for the performance of works by contemporary Swiss composers. Pro Helvetia can make contributions towards travel and transport costs (excluding accommodation costs) and, in the case of performances of works by contemporary Swiss composers towards production and performance costs as well as composition fees. Event organisers are expected to pay appropriate fees and to cover local production and accommodation costs.

Application deadlines: see Section 5.

2.2.3 Emerging artists projects

Pro Helvetia promotes emerging artists in collaboration with established institutions (festivals, ensembles, associations, etc.). The projects supported must be aimed at composers or Swiss musicians and bands who demonstrate great artistic potential with a view to a national or international career and help them establish themselves firmly in the national and international professional environment. Support can be granted to projects that enable artists in the first five years of their artistic career, either after completing their professional training or presenting their first work in public.

Application deadlines: see Section 5.

2.2.4 Publications and other contextualising formats

Pro Helvetia supports projects that critically examine current Swiss music or individual aspects of it from an overarching, contemporary perspective. Projects include analogue and digital publications (regardless of publication format) as well as other forms of presentation. To be eligible for funding, projects must be of national importance and not only address a specialist audience. No funding is available for commemorative publications, monographs or purely scientific projects.

Application deadlines: see Section 5.

2.2.5 Events combining artistic disciplines

This category refers to events or festivals that present productions from various artistic disciplines. As a rule, productions from at least three disciplines must be envisaged. Otherwise, applications must be submitted to the division primarily responsible for the event. Events combining different artistic disciplines are assessed according to the same criteria regarding form and content that apply to discipline-specific events. Particular importance is given to the criteria of the disciplines of which the productions are part of. Events combining artistic disciplines are supported in and outside Switzerland. In Switzerland, they are supported provided they present productions from Switzerland’s other language regions. Outside Switzerland, support is given to these events that present Swiss productions.

Application deadlines: see Section 5.

2.2.6 Transdisciplinary events and festivals

Pro Helvetia supports transdisciplinary events and festivals in Switzerland and abroad. As a rule, persons from at least three disciplines (of which at least one must be outside the arts) must participate in such an event or festival.

More information: Guidelines for Applicants: Innovation & Society

3. Restrictions

Pro Helvetia is unable to consider funding requests if 

  • the same part of the submitted project is already receiving 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.

4. Application Dossier

Funding applications submitted to Pro Helvetia must contain:

  • Details on the key persons involved in the project
  • Project description in conceptual and organisational terms
  • Place and date of the public performance, publication or presentation
  • Detailed cost and financing plan including information on all financial assistance requested from third parties
  • Details on the amount requested from Pro Helvetia and cost justification
  • In the case of exclusively virtual projects, evidence of a convincing national or international online dissemination strategy must be provided

Applications must be submitted via www.myprohelvetia.ch

5. Application Deadlines and Decision Timelines

Unless otherwise stated (see Section 2), the following application deadlines apply:

Application typeApplication deadlineDecision timeline
Funding requests up to CHF 25,000ongoing, up to eight weeks prior to the event/publicationwithin eight weeks
Funding requests between CHF 25,001 and 50,000ongoing, at the latest four months prior to the event/publicationwithin four months
Funding requests over CHF 50'0001 September, at the latest four months prior to the event/publicationwithin four months
1 December, at the latest four months prior to the event/publicationwithin four months
1 March, at the latest four months prior to the event/publicationwithin four months
1 June, at the latest four months prior to the event/publicationwithin four months

6. Application Processing

6.1 Preliminary assessment

Pro Helvetia will only consider funding applications if

  • the submitted project meets the general funding requirements (see Section 1);
  • there is no valid reason for exclusion (see Section 3);
  • the application dossier is complete and has been submitted on time (see Sections 4 and 5).

6.2 Assessment of content and quality

Within the scope of its available funds, Pro Helvetia prioritises projects that most comprehensively meet the criteria for support.

Pro Helvetia assesses whether

  • the project corresponds to the funding activities described in Section 2
  • the project demonstrates high artistic and professional quality
  • the project is implemented according to professional standards
  • the costs are commensurate with the expected impact
  • a lasting impact can be expected

Pro Helvetia prioritises support for projects in the field of contemporary art and culture according to their degree of originality and professional competence, as well as their social and thematic relevance.

In assessing applications, Pro Helvetia attaches great importance to applicants using resources in an ecologically responsible manner. Pro Helvetia may assume related additional costs (e.g. CO2 compensation for flights). Such costs must be contained in the budget.

Pro Helvetia also expects event organisers to be committed to gender equality, diversity and equal opportunities. In addition, Pro Helvetia expects the involved music professionals to receive commensurate fees.

6.3 Decision-making bodies

Applications which are reviewed by a jury: The decision on applications is taken by the director of Pro Helvetia on recommendation of the jury.

The following regulations apply to all other applications:

  • Applications up to CHF 25,000: Decisions are taken by the responsible division at Pro Helvetia
  • Applications between CHF 25,001 and 50,000: Decisions are taken by the responsible sector head at Pro Helvetia
  • Applications over CHF 50,000: Decisions are taken by the director of Pro Helvetia at the request of the committee of experts

In the case of multi-annual performance agreements, the amount of funding requested per year is decisive.

6.4 Decision notification

Funding decisions are communicated without a statement of reasons. 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

The awarding of funding entails obligations for recipients. Pro Helvetia reserves the right to reduce the amount of funding or to demand that disbursed grants be restituted if recipients fail to meet their obligations. See Factsheet «Requirements for support recipients» (blue box above).

6.6 Disbursement

Pro Helvetia disburses funding only after examining the final report, which must include a statement of account. Advance payments are possible on request. Unless applicants notify Pro Helvetia of any delays, funding shall expire at the latest six (6) months after the project’s closing date as per the application dossier.

6.7 Appeals

Funding decisions taken by Pro Helvetia may be appealed within 30 days of receipt. Appeals must be filed with the Federal Administrative Court (Bundesverwaltungsgericht). Appeals must include the original application, as well as the grounds of the appeal and 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 must be submitted to: Bundesverwaltungsgericht, Postfach, CH-9023 St. Gallen


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