Pro Helvetia COVID-19 fund for sub-Saharan Africa

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Pro Helvetia COVID-19 fund for sub-Saharan Africa-Welcome to Stevo’s Info Portal. See Full details & Apply below

Application Deadline:31 August 2020.  

The last six months has seen many of our assumptions about society, culture and economy upturned or broken. We see in equal measure both the emergence of possibilities for rapid and transformative change, and the deepening of existing fractures and injustices. It is clear that we are inside a period of disruption that neither began nor will end with the COVID-19 pandemic, and in which the larger social-economic-ecological crises of our time become vivid and present. 

For Pro Helvetia Johannesburg, we confront with renewed sharpness the question of the relevance of our central task of international exchange and collaboration in the arts during a time in which many artists on the continent are seeing their livelihoods unravelling, and in which many organisations and businesses are facing collapse. While physical mobility has been massively curtailed during this period, we have found ourselves mining more deeply the creative possibilities that inhere in the digital, not only for bridging physical distance, but also as a medium for the creation and reception of artistic work. 

Against this backdrop, the present call looks to¬†enable¬†a¬†modest¬†‚Äėbreathing space‚Äô¬†for arts practitioners,¬†organisations¬†and networks¬†across the sub‚Äďcontinent to¬†rethink ways of working and¬†reimagine¬†the¬†shape¬†and position¬†of¬†cultural and creative¬†work. The call is intended to¬†open¬†up¬†opportunities¬†to¬†experiment with¬†new¬†possibilities¬†and formats¬†for artistic production, exchange, collaboration, presentation and reception, responsive to the complex demands of the present time at both a¬†very¬†local and global level.¬†¬†

Moving beyond our¬†normal¬†funding¬†instruments,¬†the present call both supports¬†entirely new ideas and initiatives, as well as the amplification or extension of¬†what¬†arts practitioners¬†are already doing¬†in response to these changing¬†circumstances.¬†We are¬†also¬†open¬†to¬†proposals that involve¬†the¬†exploration of new formats and approaches as¬†well as projects that use this moment of global¬†rupture¬†to engage more deeply¬†with or¬†interrogate older methods and practices¬†and archives¬†‚Äď or indeed to do both.¬†Analogue and digital approaches are equally welcome.¬†It is not¬†expected that¬†proposals¬†should¬†address COVID‚Äď19¬†at¬†the level of theme or content.¬†

While connection to the Swiss arts scene is welcome, it is not a requirement of this call: our interest is more in enabling local possibilities on the subcontinent that could in the future provide a basis for exchange and connection with the Swiss arts scene and cultural field more generally. 

Selection Criteria: 

  • Clarity of¬†purpose,¬†intended outcome/s¬†and¬†methods?¬†(Is it clear what you want¬†do¬†and why?)¬†
  • Originality¬†in concept and methods, artistic quality¬†and relevance¬†(Will the project contribute something new¬†and significant¬†to the field¬†in concept and approach?¬†Will the project have a life beyond the immediate¬†stage covered by the grant?)¬†
  • Track record and professionalism of the applicant¬†and their network¬†(Will the project be¬†professionally executed?)¬†


  • Open to artists, collectives and organisations from across the African continent, excluding North Africa (which is covered by a¬†parallel call from our Cairo office).¬†Applicants should be actively involved in the professional arts field¬†on the subcontinent.¬†¬†
  • Open to all disciplines that Pro Helvetia is active in ‚Äď music,¬†performing arts, visual arts, literature, design and interactive media,¬†and inter-disciplinary work.¬†Note that¬†cinematographic¬†film¬†(long form, short form¬†and documentary¬†content¬†for cinematic screening or televisual broadcast)¬†is¬†excluded¬†from Pro Helvetia‚Äôs mandate.¬†
  • Activities covered by the grant should be completed and reported on by the end of¬†April¬†2021.¬†
  • Only one¬†application per individual/organisation.¬†
  • Requests should¬†be between¬†CHF¬†2¬†000¬†and CHF 10 000¬†in value (circa US$¬†2100 ‚Äď US$10 500).¬†The¬†more precise, specific¬†and clear the budget¬†is in relation to what you are trying to achieve, the better.¬†
  • We are not¬†in a position¬†to cover the¬†general salaries and¬†running costs of¬†organisations and¬†institutions, beyond a reasonable project administrative¬†fee¬†which may be included in the budget proposal¬†(normally not more than 10% of the overall budget).¬†Artist and other project specific specialist fees may¬†however¬†be included as eligible costs.¬†

Application Procedure: 

  • The call is open until¬†31 August¬†2020.¬†¬†
  • Applications should be made through our online portal¬†¬†

Your online submission should include: 

  • A concept note, of not more than¬†4¬†000¬†characters, summarising¬†the Why? What? How? Who? dimensions of the project¬†¬†
  • An indicative timeline and budget¬†
  • Please use downloadable¬†Applicant Budget Template. If your application is successful, this template can also be used for reporting.¬†
  • Information on the applicant, and any other¬†individual or organisational¬†partners involved.¬†
  • If¬†relevant, the applicant should indicate how local COVID-19 related public health and safety measures will be applied.¬†

For inquiries, please email [email protected]. 

For More Information:

Visit the Official Webpage of the Pro Helvetia COVID-19 fund

for more details

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