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Guidelines for Applicants: Performing Arts

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Adjusted Funding Measures and Calls for Applications

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These guidelines set out the procedure for submitting a funding application in the field of the performing arts 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 2021 

1. General Requirements

Pro Helvetia promotes the contemporary professional performing arts in Switzerland with a view to ensuring their diversity as well as their national and international reach. It supports the creation of new productions, as well as the dissemination of Swiss performing arts outside Switzerland and cultural exchange within Switzerland. 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

2.1 Performing Artists

Pro Helvetia defines performing artists as both natural and legal persons who are artistically active in art forms such as dance, theatre, music theatre, contemporary circus or performances in public spaces. The field includes individual artists, companies and institutional ensembles.

2.1.1 Productions

i. New productions

Pro Helvetia supports productions (including digital and hybrid productions) by independent companies and artists. To be eligible for funding, applicants must provide evidence that their production can be performed several times at least at one cross-regionally recognised venue in Switzerland. The assessment process prioritises projects according to their artistic relevance, the number and quality of co-producers and performance dates, and touring potential.

Application deadlines: 1.3. and 1.9.; 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.

ii. Folk theatre

Pro Helvetia supports folk theatre projects of high substantive and artistic relevance and that appeal to a national audience (see Fact Sheet: Folk Theatre Projects).

Application deadlines: see Section 5

iii. Contributions towards research and production for transdisciplinary projects

Pro Helvetia provides contributions to research and production for the creation of transdisciplinary projects. As a rule, projects must involve at least three disciplines (of which at least one must be outside the arts). More information: Guidelines for Applicants Innovation & Society

2.1.2 Research contributions

Pro Helvetia supports research by independent companies and artists from Switzerland. Funding should enable applicants to reflect on their work to date and to seek new ways of producing models or artistic development. To be eligible for support, Pro Helvetia requires that the independent companies and artists have been touring cross-regionally and/or internationally for several years and receive regular support from Pro Helvetia (see Fact Sheet: Research Contributions).

Application deadlines:

  • 1 March for research starting between July and December, at the latest 4 months before research begins
  • 1 September for research starting January to June of the following year, at the latest 4 months before the research begins

These applications are evaluated by a jury. Decision timeline: within four months of the application deadline.

 

2.1.3 Guest performances outside Switzerland

Pro Helvetia supports guest performances at internationally recognised venues and festivals that make appropriate financial contributions. Funding is based on the amount of travel and transport costs. In the case of guest performances by independent companies and artists, additional funding may be granted for tour promoting activities. In the case of guest performances of digital or hybrid productions, the funding may cover some of the realisation costs (e.g. for technology or adaptation) instead of the travel costs.

Application deadlines: see Section 5

2.1.4 Cooperative funding agreements (CFA)

Pro Helvetia promotes internationally established independent companies in association with Swiss cities and cantons through three-year funding agreements. Pro Helvetia’s proportion of the overall funding must be used to organise international tours.

Funding requests must be submitted via the respective city/canton.

2.1.5 Residencies and research trips

Pro Helvetia funds residencies and research trips by Swiss performing artists 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 performing artists from specific countries.

See Residencies and Research Trips for possible destinations for Swiss performing artists and for the countries of origin of foreign performing artists.

Funding is available for residencies at the intersection of art, science and technology in all the artistic disciplines supported by Pro Helvetia.

More information: Guidelines for Applicants Innovation & Society

2.1.6 Networking trips

Pro Helvetia supports the international networking of the touring managers of independent companies and artists at major festivals and platforms in Switzerland and abroad. To be eligible for funding, the represented companies and artists must be receiving regular support from Pro Helvetia. Companies with a cooperative funding agreement are excluded from this arrangement. Funding is based on the amount of travel and accommodation costs.

Application deadlines: see Section 5

2.1.7 Translation and language adaptation

As part of its tour funding, Pro Helvetia also supports the translation of stage texts and the necessary adaptations of such material. Funding requires confirmed guest performance dates at recognised performance venues either outside Switzerland or in another language region of Switzerland.

Application deadlines: see Section 5

2.1.8 Invitations of event organisers

Pro Helvetia covers the accommodation costs of event organisers who travel either from another Swiss language region or from outside Switzerland to watch productions by independent companies and artists if the return journey cannot be made on the same day.

2.1.9 Emerging artist projects

Pro Helvetia promotes emerging artists in cooperation with established institutions in Switzerland and abroad. The projects supported must be aimed at performing artists 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. To be eligible for funding, artists must be in the first five years of their career, either after completing their professional training or after presenting their work in public for the first time.

Projects outside Switzerland: Several calls for applications per year (see Dossier Emerging Artists: Performing Arts)
Projects in Switzerland: Selection via event organisers (see Dossier Emerging Artists: Performing Arts)

2.2 Event Organisers

Pro Helvetia defines event organisers as cross-regionally recognised venues and festivals with curated national and/or international programmes.

2.2.1 Guest performances in Switzerland

Pro Helvetia supports guest performances in Switzerland’s other language regions. Funding is based on the amount of travel and transport costs. With independent companies and artists, Pro Helvetia also covers a maximum of one third of artist fees. In the case of guest performances of digital or hybrid productions, the funding may cover some of the realisation costs (e.g. for technology or adaptation) instead of the travel costs.

Application deadlines: see Section 5

 

2.2.2 Guest performances outside Switzerland

Pro Helvetia supports guest performances at internationally recognised venues and festivals that make appropriate financial contributions. Funding is based on the amount of travel and transport costs. In the case of guest performances of digital or hybrid productions, the funding may cover some of the realisation costs (e.g. for technology or adaptation) instead of the travel costs.

Application deadlines: see Section 5

2.2.3 Invitations of event organisers

Pro Helvetia covers the accommodation costs of event organisers who travel either from another Swiss language region or from outside Switzerland to watch productions by independent companies and artists if the return journey cannot be made on the same day.

2.2.4 Publications and other contextualising formats

Pro Helvetia supports projects that critically examine the current Swiss performing arts or certain aspects of it from an overarching, contemporary perspective. Projects include analogue and digital publications (regardless of publication format) and presentations. 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, biographies or purely scientific projects.

Application deadlines: see Section 5

2.2.5 Transdisciplinary events

Pro Helvetia supports transdisciplinary events (including festivals) that promote cooperation between at least three disciplines (of which at least one must be outside the arts) in and outside Switzerland.

Further information: Guidelines for Applicants Innovation & Society

 

2.2.6 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

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 persons involved in the project
  • Project description in conceptual and organisational terms
  •  Place and date of the public performance, publication or presentation including venue confirmation
  • 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 those projects that most comprehensively meet the funding criteria.

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 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, as well as being committed to gender equality and diversity. In addition, Pro Helvetia expects the involved artists 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 a 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 granting 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.

Factsheet for Support Recipients: see 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 months after the project’s closing date as per the application dossier.

6.7 Appeals

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 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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