Alongside our primary focus on exchange and collaboration between Switzerland and Southern Africa, Pro Helvetia Johannesburg has since 1998 been investing in transnational collaborations, exchanges and joint projects between organisations and creative practitioners spread across the Southern African/SADC region. This “intra-regional” programming has been financed through a series of cooperation agreements with the regional office of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), now located in Harare, Zimbabwe.
While this part of our programming has no Swiss dimension from the point of view of participants and content, this Regional Arts Programme has enabled us to make a modest but strategic contribution to building artistic networks across national borders within the region, in ways which in turn also greatly enrich the possibilities for our Swiss programming.
2014 was used to refresh and renew the existing approach in this area, with a view to providing a basis for medium to long term investments in networks and platforms that have a shared interest in building a stronger regional creative fabric. In the 2015-17 period, the programme has been concerned with supporting three key mutually reinforcing outcomes:
- creative collaboration and exchange between individuals and organisations across the region, generating new work;
- circulation and presentation of new work and creative talent across the region, building new markets and audiences;
- developing the professional capacities of creative practitioners and organisations.
The approach adopted for the current period has involved three key activities:
- Strategic partnerships: amplifying the activities of organisations and initiatives that are already working trans-nationally in the region through systematic multi-year funding of activities that have a cross-border dimension
- ANT Projects funding: more dispersed investments in smaller projects that have a regional dimension, with a particular focus on creative collaborations toward new work, the circulation of work and reaching new audiences
- ANT Research Residencies: production/project development residencies for artists and cultural operators to explore pother contexts in an open-ended way, and develop new projects with new partners in other countries in the region.
Under this definition the SADC region is understood to include the following countries:
Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Seychelles, Tanzania (including Zanzibar), Zambia, and Zimbabwe).
Pro Helvetia Johannesburg is presently working on the design of the next phase of the programme for the 2018 – 2020 period together with the regional office of the SDC in Harare. We look forward to posting new calls relating to this new phase during the latter part of 2017.
For an overall impression of the kinds of projects, tours and residencies that we support, download our current Annual Programme here.