Pro Helvetia Johannesburg promotes artistic and cultural collaboration between Switzerland and the countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Our office acts as a link and active facilitator of connection between artists and cultural projects from Switzerland and local artists, arts professionals and partners in Southern Africa.
Central to Pro Helvetia’s facilitation and promotion of Swiss contemporary art practice is project support, enabling artistic exchange and collaboration between Switzerland and other parts of the world in areas of common interest and relevance. Projects often emerge from networks and relationships generated through residencies, and often develop over a period of time.
For the presentation of Swiss or collaborative work and the facilitation of residencies, we partner with a variety of organisations, promoters, venues and festivals from across the region. We work closely with local partners in ensuring a good fit between particular kinds of content and particular audiences, and regularly enable research/prospection trips for festival directors and curators in each direction.
We currently prioritise support for presentation (touring and exhibitions) and collaboration across the visual and performing arts, and music. We also support participation in critical platforms (conferences, symposia and the like) in both directions and are particularly interested in work that is borne out of collaborations with knowledge disciplines and professional domains outside of the arts. We welcome work and projects which have a trans- or multi-disciplinary character, and which test conventional definitions and boundaries with regard to audiences and institutional framing.
The scope of our work covers fifteen Southern African countries. We also particularly encourage collaborations and the presentation of work that extend into the region beyond South Africa. These countries are:
Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania (including Zanzibar), Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Parallel to our core programme of Swiss/SADC exchange we also support a Regional Arts Programme financed through the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation that enables the mobility of artists and work within the region, which has helped us to build a strong network of collaborators and partners within the region.
For an overall impression of the kinds of projects, tours and residencies that we support, download our current Annual Programme here.