At the onset of the war in Ukraine, Pro Helvetia took the decision to suspend support to all public activities in Russia. Nevertheless, the team at Pro Helvetia Moscow has remained active, mapping the drastic changes that occurred in the Russian cultural scene, researching and testing the possibility of cultural exchange under the current circumstances, mainly through digital formats. The experience of these past months highlights the importance of maintaining existing cultural links between Swiss and Russian artists and the key role Pro Helvetia’s presence in Russia plays in maintaining dialogue between artists and art practitioners from both countries.
While the decision to cease support to public events like concerts, exhibitions or festivals remains in place, Pro Helvetia Moscow has adjusted its mandate for 2023:
The office’s programme will focus on two main axes of activities alongside Pro Helvetia’s legal mandate of fostering cultural exchange and the dissemination and promotion of Swiss arts outside Switzerland.
- Firstly, the office will foster peer-to-peer exchange and knowledge transfer among artists and arts professionals. Such exchange allows to maintain cultural cooperation with the Russian independent art scene, and to support and develop further connections. Pro Helvetia Moscow will explore research-based and process-oriented formats that are required for the professional development of artists, allowing them to exchange on working in fragile and socially and politically complex contexts.
- Secondly, the office will adapt its promotion and dissemination activity through online programming and experiment with new digital or hybrid formats. Pro Helvetia Moscow is committed to maintaining its connections with its former partners who had to relocate to new countries. It will extend its support to projects that increase the visibility of Swiss arts in areas not geographically linked to Russia by collaborating with the Russian art diaspora.
Pro Helvetia strongly believes in the necessity of continuing its collaboration with the independent cultural sector in and outside of Russia. The foundation seeks to create space for dialogue, distances itself from cultural boycott and continues to support diverse and independent artistic practices.