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Close Distance instead of cultural distancing – Pro Helvetia supports new cultural formats

In reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia is launching a call for projects for new formats that enable art production and reception to continue despite restrictions on mobility and gatherings. With its call for projects named «Close Distance», Pro Helvetia is inviting cultural practitioners and institutions to use the current lockdown as an opportunity to develop new formats that do not require mobility.  These formats should be maintainable beyond the corona crisis. The call for projects opens immediately and runs until further notice. A selected project can be supported with a grant of up to CHF 50,000.  

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought cultural life in much of its diversity to a standstill. Theatres, museums, clubs and concert halls are closed. National and international collaboration between arts practitioners and cultural institutions is barely possible any more. This extraordinary and for many practitioners existentially threatening situation requires innovative and creative solutions. Artists and cultural practitioners should be able to cooperate in spite of mobility restrictions, and their productions should be shareable with audiences that are willing to pay despite the prohibition of gatherings. «Cultural distancing» is not an option. This is why the art world is called on to cope with distance in innovative ways.

The Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia is therefore launching an immediately beginning call for projects under the heading «Close Distance». The aim is to encourage arts practitioners and cultural institutions to initiate new forms of collaboration and new forms of connection with audiences or to intensify existing ones – within Switzerland or in cooperation with international partners. Experimental formats of artistic collaboration and reflection, as well as international networking, partnerships and platforms are of special interest in this context. “The lockdown has led to numerous spontaneous cultural manifestations, especially in the digital realm,” says Seraina Rohrer, Head of Innovation & Society at Pro Helvetia. “Our aim with the call for projects «Close Distance» is to support and stimulate the creation of new formats which can be maintained beyond the corona crisis and which demonstrate that physical mobility need no longer be a prerequisite for cultural production and reception.”

Information on the call for projects:

Eligible are digital or analogue projects in all arts disciplines that are supported by Pro Helvetia: design, interactive media, literature, music, dance, theatre, visual arts and interdisciplinary approaches. The projects must have a connection to Switzerland and be of cross-regional interest in this country. The maximum grant per project is CHF 50,000. Pro Helvetia will assess applications on an ongoing basis and decide within three weeks of submission whether to support a given project.

Further information can be accessed here.

Images:  https://prohelvetia.sharepoint.com/:f:/s/TeamKommunikation/EukzUkmytdhJvUmv86LCKPwB0rOtnYE5QWryO6lsV7_F7g?e=N4SoRe

Media information: 
Lisa Stadler
+41 44 267 71 51

Media Release
Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia, 7 April 2020