One year ago today, the Federal Council implemented the first lockdown, since when the cultural sector has been in crisis. The Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia is observing the situation with great concern and has therefore developed a special package of funding measures: «Bridges to the Future». The measures include adjustments to the funding activities in all sectors supported by Arts Council and is supplemented by ten calls for applications. «Bridges to the Future» offers artists and cultural practitioners the opportunity to adapt their working practice to the current circumstances and to create a basis for the future. Special focus lies on digital and hybrid models of dissemination and networking.
One year ago today, the Federal Council classified the situation in Switzerland for the first time as «extraordinary» and implemented the first lockdown. Twelve months later, many artists are still largely prevented from going about their profession — with serious consequences for their artistic and financial situation. Pro Helvetia is therefore again launching numerous specific support measures to provide targeted assistance to the cultural sector during the current transformation phase. With «Bridges to the Future», the Arts Council is not only adapting its existing funding instruments to current production conditions but also launching ten calls for applications. These measures aim in particular to create opportunities for artists and cultural practitioners from all disciplines to further develop their work and to adapt it to the challenges of the future.
The measures forming part of «Bridges to the Future» seek to strengthen new models of dissemination, visibility and networking in the national and international cultural market. Philippe Bischof, Director of Pro Helvetia, says:
«Art and culture professionals have been forced by the pandemic and its far-reaching consequences to equip themselves for the future. Temporarily, the cultural sector has become more local; it is now time to develop new future-oriented models of international cooperation and networking. Numerous approaches and initiatives have already emerged during the pandemic.»
«Bridges to the Future» builds on these experiences by dedicating the various funding instruments in particular to developing the digital skills of cultural practitioners as well as hybrid formats.
In the fields of design and interactive media, for instance, Pro Helvetia is supporting professionals through its new «Digital Matchbox» format: this enables selected studios to present their projects to industry partners via online meetings or to develop new audiences with the help of marketing strategies. In the performing arts, Pro Helvetia is now also supporting digital and hybrid productions and their tours. Literary professionals, on the other hand, are able to submit applications to pursue digital projects serving to disseminate contemporary Swiss literature: for example, in the form of podcasts, digital reading series or book trailers.
Through «Bridges to the Future», the Arts Council is continuing its specific support for the cultural sector during the pandemic. Since April 2020, Pro Helvetia has launched numerous initiatives and calls for applications to support artists during the pandemic and the current transformation phase.