A joint initiative of the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia and the Swiss Polar Institute

PolARTS projects funded in 2020 and 2022

The call for proposals 2021 is now closed. Thank you for your submissions. The next PolARTS call for proposals will be opened in 2023 and will be announced on this webpage.

PolARTS is a joint initiative of the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia and the Swiss Polar Institute to stimulate the exchange and foster the collaboration between art and science. The PolARTS initiative opens a space for new collaborative and explorative practices and supports the processes of transdisciplinary cooperation.


This call for proposals is aimed at both artists and scientists who are interested in collaborating. The PolARTS initiative supports up to three tandems composed of an artist and a polar scientist over a period of twelve to eighteen months. The tandems will meet on a regular basis on different sites (laboratories, studios, scientific and artistic events and gatherings, etc.) and exchange on their research, professional activities, career perspectives, work background, etc. PolARTS is about a process, not about an end product. It offers research grants and focuses on the exchange and exploratory processes rather than a tangible output.

Artists and scientists interested in forming a tandem are requested to propose a collaborative process over a period of approximately twelve to eighteen months, defining format, objectives, and motivation. The tandem’s proposal must engage with topics and research linked to polar regions, the Arctic or Antarctic, or to remote high-altitude regions, such as the Andes or the Himalaya.


A tandem must be composed of one scientist and one artist.

The PolARTS initiative encourages the participation of scientists who meet the following criteria:

  • Level of seniority from PhD students onwards
  • Actively working on polar topics, including research from fields considered “non-typical” for polar sciences (e.g. engineering, material sciences, medicine, humanities, social sciences, etc.)
  • Affiliated to a Swiss public research institution
  • No previous funding by PolARTS

The PolARTS initiative encourages the participation of artists who meet the following criteria:

  • Convincing track record of professional artistic practice
  • Holding Swiss nationality or active in the Swiss artistic scene
  • Active in any of the disciplines supported by Pro Helvetia (Design, Interactive Media, Literature, Music, Performing Arts, Visual Arts)
  • No previous funding by PolARTS

The proposals will be evaluated based on the following criteria:           

  • Added value for the tandem partners/synergy within the tandem
  • Mutual inspiration and influence/capacity to overcome disciplinary boundaries
  • Originality, quality and potential of the collaboration


The artist can additionally request support for a fieldtrip to polar regions or remote high-altitude areas. Such a fieldtrip should take place in the framework of the fieldwork of the scientist tandem partner (i.e. the artist would accompany the scientist or her/his team during already planned fieldwork). Undertaking a fieldtrip is optional. The timeframe for the undertaking of a fieldtrip is May 2022 until the end of the foreseen duration of the tandem (latest November 2023).

Artists who want to apply for support for a fieldtrip must submit a separate proposal (application form B). This proposal can be handed in up to two months prior to the proposed fieldtrip.


PolARTS grants each tandem a funding which includes the following support:

  • Up to 7’000 CHF compensation for the artist to cover living expenses (artist only).

Compensation will be paid to the artist for every day dedicated to the activities of the tandem, on a self-defined per diem basis (minimum of 12 half days are required). The artist can claim this support under the condition that she/he is self-employed while working within the framework of the tandem.

  • Up to 5’500 CHF in support of the operational costs of the tandem (both artist and scientist).

This, for instance, includes the transport costs of the tandem partners, or the purchase of consumables needed for scientific or artistic work (scientific experiments, material for creative activities, etc.).

  • Up to 10’000 CHF in support for a field trip to the polar regions, upon separate application (artist only)

Funding for the field trip will be granted on the basis of a separate budget. The exact sum of the funding will be defined in proportion to the size of the fieldtrip. The exact amount will be based on a detailed budget (flight ticket, lodging, transport, material, per diem, visa, etc.).

Follow-up projects (i.e. after completion of the PolARTS tandem)

Requests can be submitted to Pro Helvetia within the scope of regular funding activities. For more information, please refer to https://prohelvetia.ch/en/ or to .   


The selected tandem of the PolARTS programme will be expected to:

  • Engage in research based on the submitted proposal
  • Schedule and attend regular meetings and exchanges with their respective tandem partners
  • Participate in three PolARTS workshops organised by Pro Helvetia and SPI
  • Submit a brief report at the end of the tandem collaboration