«Close Distance»: Seeking New Cultural Formats

The Covid-19 pandemic has drastically reduced our mobility within a very short time, in some cases down to zero. Cultural life in public has ground to a halt. This unprecedented situation is posing great problems for the arts and cultural scene and requires innovative solutions.

What creative strategies and alternative formats can be applied when mobility is so severely curtailed? What role can technology play and what cultural and social networks are relevant in this context? To deal with these and similar questions, the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia is launching a call for projects under the heading «Close Distance». Pro Helvetia thereby intends to support projects by Swiss cultural organisations and institutions as well as arts practitioners that are seeking creative and innovative ways of coping with the newly imposed distance.

The call for projects encompasses all disciplines that are supported by Pro Helvetia: design, interactive media, literature, music, dance, theatre, visual arts and interdisciplinary approaches. Projects are wanted that initiate or intensify new formats under the current conditions of restricted mobility. These can be new formats of reflection, international networks or platforms, or experimental forms of artistic collaboration. Preference is given to projects that could be maintained beyond the corona crisis and envisage a long-term re-thinking of mobility. This call for projects is deliberately broad in scope. Digital formats are just as welcome as analogue ones. The experimental element is, however, important. With one-off grants, Pro Helvetia will be supporting new formats of very different reach. Not eligible are projects that are exclusively aimed at providing free streaming of a cultural production. Sought after, by contrast, are those that are conceived as a series, a special point of focus or a network.


To gain a grant from Pro Helvetia, the project must

  • have a connection to Switzerland;
  • be of cross-regional interest in Switzerland;
  • pursue and implement a clearly defined goal in terms of impact.

Pro Helvetia will assess whether the project

  • convinces through a high level of cultural and discipline-related originality and quality;
  • is or will be realised according to professional standards;
  • has the capacity to bridge artistic and social distances.

Pro Helvetia assesses the projects submitted on an ongoing basis and informs the applicants of its decision within three weeks.

Please note

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Pro Helvetia is relaxing the criteria laid down in the guidelines for applications in all the arts disciplines it supports, which means that some applications may be considered even if they, due to the current situation, do not fulfil all the criteria specified in the guidelines. If in doubt, please contact the division concerned before submitting a project for «Close Distance».