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Swiss arts play on cultural diversity

Asita Hamidi is one of the many musicians taking part in the Swixx programme. www.hamidi.ch/Carmelo Agovino

The Arts Council of Switzerland, Pro Helvetia, is launching a new programme to play up the country’s cultural diversity.

This content was published on October 28, 2004 - 10:04

The two-year project, which goes by the name of swixx, will show how different cultural identities influence the arts.

Through a series of events – ranging from literature, music and film to theatre, visual arts and traditional culture – the programme aims to raise awareness of the cultural mix that is part of Switzerland’s heritage, said Pro Helvetia’s Margrit Bürer.

Bürer said Switzerland was a country at a crossroads of diverse cultural origins and the diversity went beyond the country’s four language regions – German, French, Italian and Romansh.

“People of foreign origin are, and have for a long time been, an integral part of Switzerland’s cultural life,” she commented.

The contribution of foreigners was as marked in the arts as in the fields of construction, catering, banking or sport, said Bürer.

Music and beer mats

The programme starts on Friday, October 29, in the town of Neuchâtel in western Switzerland, with the first in a series of concerts featuring jazz, hip-hop and rock music.

Four other venues across the country have been chosen for musical events between now and the end of November.

“The concerts will highlight the artistic creativity that stems from the interplay of various influences,” Pro Helvetia said in a statement.

For the launch of swixx – a blend of the words “Swiss” and “mix” - ten authors have contributed short texts printed on beer mats and in other formats.

Pro Helvetia said another aim of the programme was to encourage a fusion of traditions and new cultural trends.

Swixx, which has a budget of SFr1 million ($0.8 million), will be represented at four major festivals over the next two years.

In addition, the arts council will commission multicultural artistic works, organise a symposium and support research into Swiss cultural identity.

swissinfo with agencies

In brief

Swixx is a two-year programme run by the Arts Council of Switzerland to promote a fusion of traditions as well as modern trends in music and other art forms.

The SFr1 million ($0.8 million)-programme includes artistic events, research into multiculturalism, and a presence at major music festivals.

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Key facts

The state-funded arts council, Pro Helvetia, is charged with representing Swiss culture abroad.
Founded in 1939, Pro Helvetia focuses on promoting contemporary artistic productions, notably music, literature, theatre and dance.
Pro Helvetia receives 4,000 requests a year for financial support for artistic projects.

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