Here We Are

Here We Are is a hands-on participatory research programme developed with and for artists who have recently immigrated to Switzerland. Here We Are provides tailored activities, initiatives, services and funding opportunities that support these artists in their pursuit of an art career in Switzerland.

Here We Are
Initiated by artlink in cooperation with Zurich
University of Arts
November 2021 - November 2024, pilot project

Here We Are empowers and works for the inclusion of artists with migration experience. The term migration experience denotes first-generation migrants who typically invested in their artistic studies and practice in their country of origin before pursuing their careers in Switzerland.

The inclusion of newcomer artists in the Swiss cultural scene not only increases its diversity but also the intercultural competences of all artists. Questions that motivate Here We Are:

  • How does the Swiss arts and cultural landscape work?
  • Who are the important players?
  • How do Swiss arts and culture funding schemes operate?
  • Which funding bodies can I approach?
  • How do I connect with peers?
  • What education and training opportunities are available?
  • Who represents my interests?
  • Where, and how, can I share and promote my work?
  • How do I identify and access the resources I need?
  • What is my legal status as an artist in Switzerland?
  • What should an application for funding and/or my portfolio look like?

Artists First

Here We Are places artists from different disciplines with migration experience at the center of its methodology. The programme is not designed for, but rather with artists who have migrated to and now live in Switzerland.

Here We Are invites cultural practitioners from Switzerland to co-create long-term initiatives, services and funding opportunities for these artists.

Thinking through doing

Here We Are follows a participatory process consisting of three modules, which are based on focused and moderated workshops. These workshops are organised around the Process Design approach involving

  • co-thinking
  • co-creating
  • co-acting


  1. co-thinking

    This module creates space for active listening to properly understand, assess, and specify the needs of artists with migration experience. In five moderated workshops artists from different disciplines collectively define the challenges and opportunities of their specific situation and propose initial ideas for the implementation of programmes, formats and funding schemes. Are you an artist with migration experience? Share your thoughts and insights – join a co-thinking Here We Are working group!

  2. co-creating

    In this module, measures, services, formats and programmes are made concrete on the basis of the learnings from the previous workshops. Priority will be given to solutions in areas where a great need for action has been identified.

    Participants of the previous workshops are invited to take part in this process, as well as more artists, funding bodies, representatives of art academies and organisers and other interested parties.

    This working group will accompany the further process as a sounding board and meet regularly for critical feedback.

  3. co-acting

    In this module, artlink in collaboration with artists and partners realises a selection of the formats, funding schemes and services that have been developed in the co-creation modul. At regular intervals, the implemented projects are questioned and evaluated by the participants of the co-thinking and co-creating modules and adapted accordingly.

Lessons Learned

What challenges do artists with migration experience face when they want to build their artistic careers in Switzerland? How can cultural practitioners contribute to ensuring that the voice of these artists is heard and their presence in Switzerland is strengthened?

Listen to the "Lessons Learned" below. The episodes were produced as part of and reflect on a series of workshops with 60 artists of all disciplines from around the world.

In the first episode we learn about the initiative Here We Are. In the framework of five workshops, around 60 artists with migration experience came together to share their experiences in building their artistic careers in Switzerland.

What challenges and obstacles do artists who have arrived in Switzerland regularly face? In episode two we hear first-hand experiences.

How are artists with migration experience viewed and defined from the outside? How does this limit their possibilities and identity? How can we overcome the problems of categorisation in the context of migration in Switzerland? Find out more about it in the current episode.

In this episode the artists talk about their daily experiences of dealing with a lack of diversity in various institutions of Swiss society. They reflect on what real inclusion would look like and what needs to be done to achieve it.

The last episode of the podcast is about ideas for possible initiatives and formats that can help open more doors for artists with migration experience.


Responsible for the podcast:
Ana Sobral

Music: El Mizan

German speaker:
Rahel Leupin

French speaker:
Markus Baumann

Partners of the initiative are artists, Swiss art schools, public and private funders and cultural organisers.

Participating artists

Ailen Monti, Aly Khamees, Anna Högl-Fatyanova, Anouar Kaddour Cherif, Aviv Szabs, Beatriz H. Restrepo de Rettenmund, Bessa Myftiu, Bharathi Mayandi Franaszek, Blanchi Lusilao, Cecilia Moya Rivera, Charles Wrapner, Dandara Varejão Modesto Hölzl, Didier Mukalayi, Divine Harrison, Dom Stephenson, Ebuka Anokwa, Emma Murray, Fiona Byrne, Haci Orman, Hassan Taha, Hélia Aluai, Ivonne Gonzalez, Kapi Kapinga Grab, Kara Sylla Ka, Kea Boccomino, Kwaku "Reez" Opoku, Lorenzo Benzoni, Luca Frati, Mabe Bethonico, Maha Kardouh, Mariana Da Cruz, Maricruz Peñaloza, Marisa Cornejo, Maurizio Meta, Max Lobé, Mayara Yamada, Mbene Mwambene, Parvez , Patricio Gil Flood, Saadet Türköz, Sabahet Meta, Sibel Kocakaya, Simon Pellegrini, Sofia Rossi Bunge, Talal Doukmak, Tudor Ciurescu, Tyra Wigg, Valentina Parati, Viviana Gonzalez