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PRO HELVETIA (article first published : 2008-02-20)

Pro Helvetia Cape Town is inviting applications for a grant to support professional art projects involving exchange within the SADC countries. The application deadline for funding for new projects is March 1.

Pro Helvetia Cape Town (PHCT) acts as a funding body, advisor and coordinator of projects in all art disciplines in Southern Africa on behalf of the Swiss Arts Council. In particular it encourages the exchange between Switzerland and Southern Africa, as well as regional exchange between the countries within Southern Africa.

This year Pro Helvetia Cape Town celebrates its 10th year of activity in Southern Africa since it opened its office in November 1998. Since May 1999, PHCT has been mandated to manage additional funding from the Swiss Agency for Development and Co-operation (SDC), which operates from Pretoria.

The collaboration between the two Swiss bodies allows for a broader cultural support that is more suitable to the needs of art professionals in Southern Africa, as Pro Helvetia’s policies are first and foremost designed for the European arts and culture scene.

Pro Helvetia’s principal restriction to only support projects with a distinct Swiss component and its custom to not focus on developmental or educational aspects, have been covered by the SDC mandate fund.

In December 2007, SDC and PHCT approved a fifth mandate agreement for 2008–2010, which involves the management of CHF 960,000 (Nine Hundred and Sixty Thousand Swiss Francs, or roughly R5.5 Mil) for local art projects within the SADC region that involve exchanges between any two countries within the region.

PHCT’s overall goal for this regional mandate agreement is to contribute to a strong professional contemporary arts sector in Southern Africa which in turn supports overall development in the region with the understanding that contemporary, innovative arts play a critical and nation building role in society, promoting solidarity in the context of regional integration and democratisation.

The mandate aims to achieve the following outcomes: building good administrative and organizational capacity in independent arts organisations in the region; stimulating high quality and a higher degree of visibility of contemporary professional arts in the region, thus enhancing its marketability and chances of survival and sustainability; and organising more and stronger regional networks, helping artists to break out of their isolation regionally and internationally.

In pursuing these objectives, PHLOSA supports projects with at least two of the following qualifications: Projects that build awareness using the arts; have synergies with existing PHCT (exchange) projects; that develop new syntheses out of modernity and tradition or that promote opportunities for cultural differentiation, thus strengthening the understanding of differences.

Projects in New Media are to be considered as well as residencies in the Southern African Region, projects that develop skills in arts administration to build local capacities and those that build (new) audiences.

Application deadline for projects taking place between July 2008 and July 2009 is March 1, 2008. Application forms can be obtained from PHCT offices or downloaded from www.prohelvetia.org.za

More information from Miranda Madikane on 021 425 4701.




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