Two disciplines have been officially established within Pro Helvetia, namely design and interactive media, which will form a fully-fledged division offering long-term support to Swiss creatives in these two branches as of 2021.
The integration of Design into the established disciplines of Pro Helvetia takes place after several years of build up: Until 2016, Design was supported within the Visual Arts department, with a pilot project 2014-2016. From 2016 to 2020, the «New models of collaboration – Culture and Business» programme focused on specific support to creative people in the Design and Interactive media branches, enabling them to strengthen their networks and achieve their professional objectives.
For Design, the following measures and instruments have been put in place in the course of these past 4 years: Calls for projects that have encouraged over 70 projects offering support from concept through to marketing; various matchmaking events in Switzerland and abroad; and Design Switzerland exhibitions showcasing young Swiss talents at major international events such as Milan Design Week, Shenzhen Creative Week, 3daysofdesign Copenhagen, London designjunction and Vienna Design Week.
The positive results of the above measures as well as the feedbacks obtained from supported studios and compiled in a study conducted by Olivier Glassey (Professor IDHEAP, University of Lausanne) were taken into account when defining the future funding axes for Design. In this sense, the support strategy that takes effect from 2021 maintains as its focus research and access to the market, and is concretely implemented with the following instruments: the encouragement through annual working grants is continued and expanded, the existing offering of formats for coaching, matchmaking and mentoring programmes is broadened, and an emphasis on delegations at major international gatherings.
The creation of this new department within Pro Helvetia has been welcomed by Philippe Bischof, Director of Pro Helvetia: «This inclusion crowns years of work and dialogue in the two domains. The great cultural potential of design and interactive media in Switzerland is widely recognised, and it is essential that their promotion be part of Pro Helvetia’s support strategy».