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Cultural diversity in non-urban regions

Project Management

Murielle Perritaz

Head of Programmes

T +41 44 267 71 46


Media Relations

Lisa Stadler

Media relations

T +41 44 267 71 51


Objective of the «Cultural diversity in non-urban regions» initiative

Back in 2015, the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia launched the «Cultural diversity in non-urban regions» initiative with the aim of bolstering and fostering cultural programmes and projects outside of the country’s urban hubs. The initiative promotes measures that bring local and regional cultural productions into the public spotlight and improve their framework conditions. These measures include cross-regional networking and residence projects, but also schemes that strengthen and expand the diversity of cultural programmes on offer, for example with the help of participatory projects or financial support such as crowd funding.

In close cooperation with the cantons and cities, Pro Helvetia has selected twelve projects. Priority was given to projects with great networking potential and model character, as well as projects dedicated to the reinterpretation of traditions and characterised by sustainability.

The selected projects are located throughout Switzerland and are spread over all four linguistic regions. They each highlight different facets of culture in peripheral regions; their funding has been secured.

The projects started in July 2015 and will continue until the end of 2019.

Promoted projects

The twelve selected projects document different forms of culture in the regions that lie outside of the big cities. Many of the projects react to the ramifications of the demographic change taking place in non-urban areas, identify and tap their existing potential and establish new networks. They all independently contribute to the cultural diversity in their respective region.

Fostering cultural diversity in a particular region

The projects summarised in this section all preserve or foster cultural programmes and productions on offer in regional areas, outside of the urban hubs. Many of them focus on dealing with a region’s cultural legacy and historical roots in the modern age. Cultivating cultural diversity in a particular region necessitates support on a communal and cantonal level.

Positioning and presence

Contemporary cultural endeavours in non-urban areas strive for attention just as much as their counterparts in big cities. Thanks to «Cultural diversity in non-urban regions» initiative, regional projects can optimise their presence in the public spotlight in their respective geographical areas. Furthermore, they increase the visibility of regional cultural productions and encourage the populace to identify with the projects.

Improving access to cultural productions

Several projects are committed to making culture more accessible to the public in regional areas outside of the big cities. Among other measures, this requires using participatory strategies.


The twelve selected projects employ different tools and methods.

Expanding networks

Infrastructure and service networks are a prerequisite for cultural diversity to prosper in peripheral regions. Furthermore, they help make living and working conditions in these regions more appealing. The majority of the promoted projects aim to expand these networks, foster cooperation and intensify exchanges between regions.

Highlighting regional distinctions

In order to hone the cultural identity of a particular location and emphasise its respective area of speciality (e.g. City of Comics, City of Film, etc.), the initiative supports projects that help such locations develop a cultural specialisation.

Offering residences

Residence projects are particularly suitable for firmly rooting existing or new cultural activities in a particular region. Firstly, they provide an opportunity for people to make direct contact with each other and gain insight into regional cultural endeavours, and secondly, residence projects help vitalise a region’s economy. Three of the promoted projects illustrate how residence projects can nurture culture on a regional level.

Fostering participation

Several of the projects strive to boost public interest in and acceptance of regional cultural endeavours. This requires employing participatory strategies and methods. Participation encourages the public to identify with the projects and ensures greater public presence.

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