Pro Helvetia
  • Fully Funded

Photo Credit: Pro Helvetia’s Official Link

Application for the Connect South Africa residency programme in Switzerland and South Africa is open! Apply now!

Pro Helvetia, in association with The European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN), is calling on artists with a distinct interest in an interdisciplinary approach, and a keen engagement with scientific thinking and fundamental science, to apply for Connect South Africa residency programme. Connect South Africa is part of the Connect collaboration. Connect serves as a global platform for interactions and dialogue between artistic and scientific communities across Switzerland, Chile, South Africa and India, which will be realised during the course of 2021-2024.

Connect South Africa supports artistic residencies in Switzerland and in South Africa that germinate new projects, which in turn feed into and animate an ongoing programme of professional exchange between artists and scientists across this international network. Each country is host to some of the most singular scientific facilities and minds in the world, dedicated to advancing our understanding of the origins and the evolution of the universe. Each context provides different and unique opportunities for artists to be confronted with the scale and reach and implications of cutting-edge experimentation in the scientific field.

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The two selected artists will participate in a dual residency split between CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics in Geneva, home of the world’s largest particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC); and in the array of optical and radio astronomy observatories across rural and urban South Africa, concentrated particularly in the vast semi-desert expanses of the Northern Cape. These include SARAO’s MeerKAT radio telescope near the town of Carnarvon, as the precursor to the South African component of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope, as well as the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT), the largest of a number of telescopes operated by SAAO near the town of Sutherland.

The selected artists for the Connect South Africa residency will be expected to:

  • Engage in research based on the proposal submitted in the context of this Call
  • Complete the period of the residency at CERN and in South Africa
  • Meet regularly with the scientific partner/s to discuss the process of artistic research, exploration and discovery, and additionally work with other scientists
  • Give one talk and/or workshop during the residency
  • Communicate regularly with the curators and teams of Arts at CERN and –defunct context in South Africa
  • Develop a concrete project resulting from the residency within the six months following the residency. Depending on the nature of the artists practice, this project proposal could be a fully realised artwork or the development of a preliminary stage or prototype of a project idea
  • Support the curators and project teams on the evaluation and report of the residency within the six months following the residency


Connect South Africa awards one individual artist from Switzerland and one individual artist from Southern, East or West Africa with a funded residency at CERN, Geneva, and at the South African contexts. The grant includes the following support and conditions for each artist:

  • A production stipend of 6,000 CHF I US$ 6,500.
  • Living expenses in Switzerland and in South Africa.
  • International travel costs and local travel, when required, and accommodation at CERN, Geneva, and across various locations in South Africa – principally Cape Town,
  • Johannesburg, the Northern Cape.


The Connect South Africa Call for Applications encourages the participation of artists interested in the ideas described above and who meet any of the following criteria:

  • Artists interested in the cultural significance of scientific research and technology
  • Artists interested in extending their connection with the field of physics and sciences of the universe, and to enter in dialogue with scientists and engineers, and staff at CERN, and scientists of the observatories of SARAO and SAAO in South Africa
  • Artists pushing the traditional forms of dialogue with other fields of research, and keen to ask innovative questions across disciplines
  • Artists interested in the scientific community and the interaction with its social fabric and its history and narratives
  • Artists whose work and proposal aims to reflect on new models of social enquiry, the potential synergies between art and science, and to offer challenging methods of exchange and enquiry
  • Artists with a demonstrated ability to work collaboratively and flexibly across different social-cultural and institutional worlds
  • Artists from a discipline supported by Pro Helvetia (visual arts, music, literature, performing arts, design, and interactive media)and meeting the general Pro Helvetia criteria:
    • A convincing body of work and track record
    • A significant footprint in the arts scene of the respective contexts of Switzerland and South, East and West Africa
Eligible Regions: Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Eswatini, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Cameroon, Kenya, Comoros, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Zambia, Sao Tome and Préncipe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Chad, Uganda, Central African Republic and Zimbabwe.

Application Process

Artists intending to apply to Connect South Africa residency should submit a proposal adhering to the criteria of the call. The application should be written in English and should contain the following elements:

  • Personal details: name, address, contact details
  • An artist dossier with the most relevant artworks or projects, including a brief statement and the artist’s biography
  • A project proposal describing, in detail, the project that the artist intends to undertake during the residency at CERN, and in South Africa
  • A video statement (no longer than five minutes), defending the relevance of the intended project
  • For artists from Southern, East and West Africa, please download and use the submission form that can be found at Apply Now link.
  • For Swiss artists, please apply via the submission form on the Arts at CERN website.

Submissions of entry in this competition automatically constitute the acceptance of these terms and conditions. The jury’s decision will be final. The decision will be published on both Arts at CERN and Pro Helvetia’s websites by the end of July 2021. Only the selected artist(s) will be notified by e-mail.

Application Deadline: May 26, 2021 (11 Days Remaining)

Apply nowOfficial link

For Further Queries

For more information about the programme in South Africa and for inquiries from artists from Southern, East and West Africa, please contact: [email protected] For information about the programme at CERN and for Swiss artists interested in applying, please contact: [email protected]
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