Regional Arts and Culture Project in the South Caucasus


Dancers on a stage in colorful dresses throw clothes in the air.
Twenty performers from a range of generations and different walks of life formed a cast to dance at a Contemporary Dance Festival in Tbilisi. © SCO Tbilisi

By providing a platform for the development of contemporary art, the Regional Arts and Culture Project promotes intercultural dialogues and exchanges in the South Caucasus. Implemented in collaboration with partners based in Georgia and networks in Armenia and Azerbaijan, the project aims at supporting visual arts (documentary film and photography), building up professional capacities, engaging civil society, and boosting local art scenes with a small grants’ fund.

Country/region Period Budget
Armenia
Azerbaijan
Georgia
South Caucasus
01.10.2017 - 30.09.2021
CHF 800'000
Background

The three countries of the South Caucasus have a rich and diverse cultural heritage. In contrast to traditional arts, contemporary forms of art still lack recognition and support reflected in a shortage of professional trainings, insufficient arts education and scarce possibilities for independent actors to receive public funds. A weak institutional infrastructure combined with a lack of governmental support and funding constitutes structural limitations to the sustainable development of art and culture.

Contemporary art constitutes an important driver of changes in today’s societies. It makes a unique and significant contribution to sustainable development by providing space for cultural exchanges, stimulating different perspectives, and challenging social and cultural norms and prejudices.

Objectives

Through the promotion of contemporary art, a pluralistic, innovative and participatory cultural sector in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia is fostered with intercultural dialogue and regional exchanges being stimulated.

Target groups
  • Arts and culture community in the South Caucasus (e.g. documentary film-makers, producers, media professionals, photographers (with a focus on women photographers), various artists and cultural actors)
  • Civil society and general public, including the population living outside of the South Caucasus’ capitals
Medium-term outcomes
  • The civil society is empowered to reflect on critical social issues, and cross-border dialogue and cooperation between film-makers is enhanced by supporting the documentary film culture in the South Caucasus
  • The cultural photo heritage of the South Caucasus is preserved, the skills and capacities of female photographers are strengthened, and the civil society’s access to art and educational activities increased through the promotion of the field of photography in the South Caucasus
  • Diverse cultural actors in the South Caucasus are capacitated to boost the local art scenes
Results

Expected results:  

  • The regional platform of the Documentary Film Festival (CinéDOC) is strengthened by supporting the documentary competition “Focus Caucasus”, enhancing the capacities of documentary professionals and promoting the year-long screening programme “CinéDOC on Tour”
  • The South Caucasus Photography Hub for Education and Innovation (PHEI) is established in Tbilisi covering the South Caucasus, incl. photo archives, a permanent photo exhibition, educational activities, capacity-building workshops and a Moving Museum
  • Small grants in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia support diverse local art and culture initiatives


Results from previous phases:  

The first phase of the Regional Arts and Culture Project was implemented in 2014-2017. With 70 funded projects, the SDC successfully promoted contemporary dance and experimental art, carried out social art projects in marginalized communities, trained cultural managers, and issued small grants for promising art and culture initiatives in all three countries.

In order to enhance and consolidate the effectiveness of the project, the complex set-up of the first phase will be streamlined for the upcoming phase. Phase 2 will have three components in total: two components implemented each by one external partner (documentary film and photography) and one component self-implemented by the three SCO offices in the region (small grants’ fund).


Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Swiss cooperation with Eastern Europe
Project partners Contract partner
International or foreign Non-Governmental Organization


Other partners

Cooperation and coordination with the EU’s Creative Europe program and Institutes of Culture in Georgia (which also cover Armenia and/or Azerbaijan) will be ensured.

Coordination with other projects and actors

The SDC’s continued engagement in the field of arts and culture increases Switzerland’s visibility and credibility in the South Caucasus, which will benefit the SDC’s overall portfolio.

The project will actively coordinate and cooperate with key actors in the field of arts and culture, such as the EU Creative Europe Programme and the network of EU National Institutes of Culture (EUNIC).

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF   800'000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF   325'686
Project phases Phase 2 01.10.2017 - 30.09.2021   (Current phase) Phase 1 01.10.2012 - 31.10.2017   (Completed)