Art for Change: Documentation of the Forum on the Conclusion of the Swiss Cultural Programme in South Eastern Europe (SCP)

Culture and the arts are building blocks of human existence. They make an essential contribution to the development of societies and can fulfil important roles in conflict situations and in democratic reconstruction. Acting on this conviction, Switzerland launched a long-term programme to promote the arts and culture in South Eastern Europe and Ukraine in 1999. From 2008 to 2013 the programme focused on the countries of the Western Balkans and trans-border projects.

The Swiss Cultural Programme in South Eastern Europe (SCP) was brought to a close in the summer of 2013*). To what extent did the projects funded positively contribute to social change? How do funding programmes influence the production of culture in their target countries and cultural exchange between them and Switzerland? What lessons from the experiences in the Balkans can be used to improve cultural cooperation with other regions of the world?

Experts, artists and people involved in arts outreach from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia and Switzerland, together with representations of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and Pro Helvetia who were responsible for the programme, presented their intentions, experiences, successes and limits for public discussion. The talks and discussion groups have been supplemented by a selection of music, dance and art videos, short films and an exhibition.

In the morning, the conference focused on a discussion with the people responsible for the SCP and experts in a programme block titled Arts and Social Change. The focus in the afternoon shifted to Cultural Encounters, with artists and organizers talking about their own projects and being joined by artists of various disciplines from Switzerland in a discussion of the opportunities and difficulties
associated with funding programmes and intercultural exchange.

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