Pro Helvetia Johannesburg is one of five Liaison Offices of the Swiss Arts Council located in major regions of the world – the other four Offices are in Cairo, Moscow, New Delhi and Shanghai. We also run a cultural centre in Paris and work in cooperation with larger partner institutions in Rome, San Francisco and New York.
The Johannesburg Liaison Office promotes artistic and cultural exchange between Switzerland and the Southern African region. To raise awareness of Swiss contemporary arts in the region, we forge ties with local organisations and event organisers, develop and nurture long-term partnerships, initiate co-productions with artists from the region and organise residencies.
Activities and Focus
Located in the inner city suburb of Braamfontein, Pro Helvetia Johannesburg has the characteristic of a mobile office, reaching out to most countries in the Southern African region, with the characteristics of a mobile office. While the bulk of infrastructure, resources and capacity within the cultural field in the region are located in South Africa, there are also dynamic arts scenes in other countries in the region where we work with and through local partners around the realisation of tours, projects and residencies.
Our programme is interdisciplinary and exploratory in nature. Special emphasis is placed on the disciplines of music (jazz, electronic and experimental music in particular), contemporary dance and theatre/performance, and visual and digital arts and design. We encourage work that forges connection between the world of the arts and other fields of inquiry and work. We also support exchanges around critical issues and questions facing artists and the arts field within the differently demanding and complex realities of Southern Africa and Switzerland.
Through an agreement with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) in Harare, we additionally support Southern African artists and arts organisations to collaborate and connect with one another, to circulate new work to new audiences throughout the region, and to exchange expertise across national borders.
To download our current annual programme, go here.
Our international work is guided by the following goals:
Encounter and Exchange
Through our international activities, we help create conditions that allow arts professionals and cultural practitioners to explore and address other cultures and to achieve creative development.
Dissemination and networking
We promote the dissemination of culture and art from Switzerland. We highlight the diversity of the Swiss cultural scene and choose representatives on the basis of their outstanding qualities.