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CLOSE FROM AFAR

In April 2020, the Swiss Cultural Fund UK (SCF) launched its call for submissions Close from Afar. Through this initiative, the SCF is supporting a selection of artistic projects which aim to bring art and culture to audiences despite the challenge of social distancing.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought social and cultural life to an unprecedented global standstill. While all levels of society are affected by this crisis, a high number of independent cultural practitioners find themselves in a financially precarious situation. As culture continues to be an essential part of our lives, the SCF encouraged artists of all disciplines to respond to our call for submissions by sending us projects which are accessible to audiences despite the current challenges of social distancing. With Close from Afar, the Swiss Cultural Fund (SCF) seeks to support innovative ways of producing art and bringing culture to people in times of restricted mobility.

It is our Fund’s mission to bring the work of Swiss and/or Swiss-based cultural practitioners to British audiences, and by doing so to contribute to intercultural dialogue between Switzerland and the United Kingdom. While free movement of people between the two nations is currently restricted, we nevertheless aim for cultural projects to cross the Channel and find audiences in the United Kingdom. The SCF and the Embassy of Switzerland in the United Kingdom will help to promote selected projects to audiences in the United Kingdom via the connec+ newsletter, the SCF website, social media channels and the Fund’s annual publication.

While the long-term consequences of this crisis for the cultural sector are not yet clear, we are forced to reconsider our understanding of what a cultural gathering or intervention could look like and how this could be brought to audiences and participants. Close from Afar seeks to connect the UK and Switzerland but potentially also numerous other cultures and individuals by supporting projects that contribute to the aim stated above.

We assessed applications in accordance with our usual criteria, taking into account reasonable limitations resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic where possible and appropriate.