The South Caucasus countries share a rich cultural heritage, which is reflected in abundant local traditions and arts. Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia face similar challenges: a weak institutional infrastructure and limited governmental support constitute structural barriers to the sustainable development of arts and culture in the region.
In line with its culture and development policy, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) is committed to support arts and culture in its partner countries to strengthen the civil society, bring on board marginalized population groups, nurture debates on critical issues, and to promote social cohesion, freedom of expression and democracy.
The Regional Arts and Culture Project aims at supporting the cultural sector in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia from a perspective Arts & Culture for Development, that is:
To empower the civil society to reflect on critical social issues and enhance cross-border dialogue and cooperation between filmmakers by supporting the documentary film culture in the South Caucasus;
To preserve the cultural photo heritage of the South Caucasus, to strengthen the skills and capacities of female photographers and to increase the civil society’s access to art and educational activities through the promotion of the field of photography in the South Caucasus.
To strengthen the capacities of selected cultural actors in the South Caucasus and boost the local art scenes.
The Arts and Culture Project encompasses three components: documentary film, photography and a Small Grants Fund.
Under the documentary film component, the Documentary Film Festival CinéDOC-Tbilisi is strengthened by supporting the documentary competition "Focus Caucasus" and its new edition "New Talents Caucasus". Additionally, a yearly summer school is held to enhance the capacities of documentary professionals from the South Caucasus. Also, the year-long screening program "CinéDOC on Tour" is promoted in different regions of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.
Under the photography component, the Tbilisi Photography and Multimedia Museum is established to provide a platform for photographers to build up capacities and exhibit their vision on regional identity and other pressing social issues. Additionally, the component offers online photography and multimedia archives, and the Moving Museum of Photography to enhance the rural communities’ access to art.
Under the Small Grants Fund, local initiatives are financed in the field of arts and culture allowing cultural actors to test new ideas, or upscale existing projects, foster the quality and diversity of art projects, and stimulate the local art scenes.