Against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, Pro Helvetia Johannesburg has launched a call that seeks to enable a modest ‘breathing space’ for arts practitioners, organisations and networks across the sub–continent to rethink ways of working and reimagine the shape and position of cultural and creative work. The call is intended to open up opportunities to experiment with new possibilities and formats for artistic production, exchange, collaboration, presentation and reception, responsive to the complex demands of the present time at both a very local and global level.
Moving beyond Pro Helvetia’s normal funding instruments, the present call both supports entirely new ideas and initiatives, as well as the amplification or extension of what arts practitioners are already doing in response to these changing circumstances. The organisers are also open to proposals that involve the exploration of new formats and approaches as well as projects that use this moment of global rupture to engage more deeply with or interrogate older methods and practices and archives – or indeed to do both. Analogue and digital approaches are equally welcome. It is not expected that proposals should address COVID–19 at the level of theme or content.
While connection to the Swiss arts scene is welcome, it is not a requirement of this call: the interest is more in enabling local possibilities on the subcontinent that could in the future provide a basis for exchange and connection with the Swiss arts scene and cultural field more generally.
The call is open to artists, collectives and organisations from across the African continent, excluding North Africa (which is covered by a parallel call from Pro Helvetia’s Cairo office). Applicants should be actively involved in the professional arts field on the subcontinent. It is open to all disciplines that Pro Helvetia is active in – music, performing arts, visual arts, literature, design and interactive media, and inter-disciplinary work. Note that cinematographic film (long form, short form and documentary content for cinematic screening or televisual broadcast) is excluded from Pro Helvetia’s mandate.
Activities covered by the grant should be completed and reported on by the end of April 2021. Requests should be between CHF 2000 and CHF 10,000 in value (circa US$ 2100 – US$10,500).