Since 2021, the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia has been running its own department that provides sustainable support for Swiss creatives in the two specialist areas of design and interactive media.
Under the title of “New models of cooperation – Culture, and Business” (See chapter 3.5.1), the Confederation set the bases on the 2016-2020 period to encourage young creatives to develop and innovate in the areas of design and interactive media (counting videogames as the principal sector and Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality technologies), considering their potential on the commercial level, both national and internationally.
This new model follows the projects “from concept to market” offering not only financial assistance but also coaching, mentoring measures and possibilities to present the projects at national and international trade fair and festivals.
Under the umbrella “Swiss Games” and “Design Switzerland”, the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia supported growing participation on different international and national stages, giving a space to young creators to show the pioneering qualities of technology in Switzerland. The Federal Council, through the report “Video games. A domain of cultural creation in development” (2018), recognised the high quality of these productions and agreed to support and encourage further developments in the long run. In the Culture Dispatch 2016-2019, both design and interactive media are jointly addressed. The following challenges have been identified:
Research and production in design (along with promotion and presentation), stimulating subvention of third parties (along with network creation, professionalisation of developers, etc.), long-lasting structuring of interactive media sector, promoting exchanges in Switzerland, as well as international diffusion and promotion, and acquisition of works.
The Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia, which is responsible for developing these funding strategies, has issued its fifth call for projects in the field of interactive media (2019). Ten projects were selected from 42 applications. The selected projects received funding at different developmental stages, for example, during pre-production, production or distribution. The goal was to support studios in establishing themselves on the market.
The Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia’s ‟Culture and Business” focus supports the development, production and distribution of video games, virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) technology, interactive comics and other forms of digital content demonstrating a high degree of interactivity. Specific mentor and coaching partnerships, as well as special measures to interconnect young creators and developers with professional networks, have proven to be successful. More international attention is planned to reinforce visibility and access to markets.