The Swiss Polar Institute and Pro Helvetia, the Swiss Arts Council, have renewed their partnership for a second edition of PolARTS. The next call for proposals will open in autumn 2021.

PolARTS is a pilot collaboration between Pro Helvetia and SPI aiming at promoting exchange between arts and polar sciences. The following tandems were selected by an external panel and will start their collaborative work in spring 2020.

Scientific tandem partner

Artistic tandem partner

Carolin Willibald, WSL – Snow Physics Mario von Rickenbach – Interactive Media Art, Design
Prof. Margit Schwikowski, PSI  – Ice core research Sabine Harbeke – Writing and Directing, Theater
Prof. Gabriela Schaepman-Strub, UZH – Tundra ecology, bidodiversity Barbara Schibli – Author
Fien De Doncker, UNIL – Glacier dynamics, geomorphology Gianna Molinari – Writer, Novelist

About PolARTS

In order to offer a platform for the interplay between art and science, Pro Helvetia, the Swiss Arts Council, and the Swiss Polar Institute (SPI) have launched a joint initiative aiming at mediating partnerships between polar scientists and artists and supporting the exchange between the two communities. The goal of the programme is to enable dialogue and the exchange of ideas between polar science and art practice. The proposed format aims to support the cooperative process between disciplines and to create space for new collaborative and explorative practices.

Proposed format of collaboration

The PolARTS programme funds the four trans-disciplinary tandems listed above, all composed of an artist and a polar scientist, over a period of about eight months in order to enable mutual exchanges and facilitate interactions between art and science. The tandems meet on a regular basis at different sites (laboratories, workshops, scientific and artistic events and gatherings, etc.) and exchange on their research interest, professional activities, career perspectives, work background, etc.

Field trip

In order to complement the exchange initiated by the tandem, the artist can request support for a field trip to polar regions or remote high-altitude areas. The field trip can either take place in the framework of the fieldwork of the scientist tandem partner (i.e. the artist would accompany the scientist during already planned fieldwork) or together with another scientific partner suggested by SPI.

Scientist-artist speed meeting event

Artists and Scientists interested in the proposed format of collaboration, who have not found a tandem partner themselves, were invited to join a speed-meeting event organised for this purpose. The event was held on 5 December 2019 in Zürich at Cabaret Voltaire.