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Looking back at the Design rounds: what gives a project added value?

Looking back at the Design rounds: what gives a project added value?

13 March 2019

What do the advisors pay attention to and what do they find important in a proposal? We are using this review of the latest Design rounds to highlight a number of aspects of project applications that the committee considers important in a project plan. What were the strengths of the projects that received grants in the latest Design rounds? And what can you learn from them if you want to write an application yourself?
Here are 8 examples with the findings of the committee.

what does the project mean for your practice?
Jef Montes applied for a material and technical study, as part of the development of his new Marinero fashion collection with innovative materials and applications. In the proposal he described very precisely what he was going to do, which partners and knowledge he would utilize, and what this step in the process would mean in concrete terms for the further development of the collection. This specific and well-thought-out design gave the Committee insight into the intended result. The grant gives Montes space to carry out a special research project, the results of which will enrich his collection. The committee expects that a grant for this part will allow Jef Montes to take a new step in his practice.

what special contribution do you make to your field of expertise?
The committee considers it a daring proposal by fashion collective modecollectief Das Leben am Haverkamp to investigate new definitions and the positioning of fashion practices, such as their own practice, which is not aimed at selling clothing. As an example, to gather knowledge the collective invites several experts to visit its studio. The results of these discussions are translated into a methodology for other fashion practices. The committee believes that the collective knows how to position their own practice well within the design field and that they reflect seriously on the meaning of fashion. The committee expects that their sharp analysis and research can contribute greatly to the further development of the collective's own practice and that of others.

what new step are you taking in your practice?
Scenographer and costume designer Joost van Wijmen wants to make his observations about body awareness visible with the project 'ENCOUNTER'. This practice-oriented research project is about experiencing physical contact through performative work. For this, he uses elements from his practice as a costume designer and working method as a scenographer, such as visual language. Van Wijmen is trying to allow 'ENCOUNTER' to grow further and would like to use design research in other domains, such as the care sector, where the body is central. He is using the starting grant to analyze the project and share the results with partners and other stakeholders. In this proposal, the committee sees a special step from a designer who, from a very personal approach, is achieving a more broadly applicable method within a topical theme. The grant will help him to strengthen his position in relation to the partners from other domains and, in so doing, pave the way for other designers as well.
Joost van Wijmen, ENCOUNTER

what is your special position?
The committee describes the portfolio of social designer, communication designer and dentist Kuang-Yi Ku (Studio Ku) as special and idiosyncratic. It is also intrigued by the proposal for 'Millennium Ginseng Project'. Kuang-Yi Ku is developing a futuristic agricultural system to cultivate ginseng under extreme conditions. The project aims to protect endangered plant species and preserve traditional Asian medicine as heritage. The committee appreciates how Kuang-Yi Ku is developing new interdisciplinary research methods that link design and science. In this proposal, it saw Kuang-Yi Ku's various qualities come together.

what makes your project urgent?
Commonplace Studio is working with the Kunstgewerbemuseum in Dresden on a study of ways to utilize design for a new, more social role for museums and a new, relevant narrative about the history of applied art. For this purpose, they are designing new digital media that can be used flexibly and sensitively to tell a more topical and agenda-setting story about the museum's permanent collection. The committee sees finding new forms for telling stories about design and applied art as an urgent task. It expects the research to generate important information for this task.

for museums and institutions
The projects by institutions and museums that are receiving grants show how designers are deployed to add value to an exhibition where design plays a central role.

For the 'Family' exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam, designer Manon van Hoeckel was asked to carry out research and to set up a project to bring various families in Schiedam in contact with each other. The research eventually led to the establishment of a hairdresser's in the museum, where visitors could get a free haircut and enter into conversation with other visitors. Hairdressers play an important social role in society; they provide a listening ear and give space for conversation and encounters with 'the other'. The committee sees the role of Manon van Hoeckel as a distinctive contribution to the public reach of the exhibition.

In the Amsterdam Museum's application for 'Fashion Statements', an exhibition with a peripheral programme on fashion, identity and statements from past and present, the committee appreciated the involvement of the curator and designers in the composition of the exhibition programme. Eight contemporary fashion designers were invited to respond to fashion statements from the past and show how these expressions play a role in their own design practice. The committee was positive about the way in which the designers draw on their own experiences to reflect on themes such as identity and diversity. On display in the Amsterdam Museum from 18 April.

In Sundaymorning@EKWC's research project 'Ghosts', the committee appreciated the focus on makers, craftsmen and the workplace. Fifty works created in the work centre over the past fifty years were selected by design historian and critic Glenn Adamson. This selection represents different aspects of and tensions between craftsmanship, technology, experiment, failure, innovation and design quality. The white reproductions of the works, which were created using new digital techniques, are a reflection on fifty years of making, experimenting and innovating with ceramics. In the committee's opinion, this set-up provides relevant new insights into technology and developments for the discipline. The result of the project can be seen in the Design Museum Den Bosch until 19 May.

Kuang-Yi Ku (Studio Ku), Millenium Ginseng Project

deadlines 2019
The following are the closing dates for the Grant Programme for Design in 2019: 27 March, 5 June, 14 August and 16 October. The total budget available for 2019 is € 1,200,000.

Photo: Jef Montes, Marinero

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Fund takes measures due to the coronavirus

6 July 2020
Last update

The COVID-19 crisis is affecting and disrupting society as a whole, and its consequences will be felt worldwide for a long time to come. The aim of the Fund is to contribute to reducing the impact on the Dutch design sector. We will therefore continue to process and evaluate applications for all the grant programmes (with the exception of applications for projects physically taking place abroad). For applications you submit to the Fund from April 2020 onwards, the advisory committee's evaluation is based on the assumption that the reality of COVID-19 has been taken into account in the plans, as far as possible.

In addition, we are in constant consultation with the government, fellow cultural funds and the field so that we can take appropriate measures. The paragraphs below set out all the measures being taken by the Fund.

adapting the working method of the Fund and advisory committee
Since the beginning of April 2020, there has been a very substantial increase in the number of applications for the Fund's grant programmes and open calls. The quality remains as high as ever, which means that the advisory committees will have to make very difficult choices and will probably have to prioritize in each application round. For the same reason, as of 23 April, it will not be possible to submit draft versions of applications to staff members for advice. Specific questions about the procedure, budget or a project plan can be sent to the Fund by e-mail. You can find the correct contact details on the page of the relevant grant programme.

accommodating approach: supporting measures for makers, institutions and festivals
With regard to projects currently being supported that are dealing with the consequences of the coronavirus, the Fund is taking an accommodating position. This means that postponement (up until the end of 2021), modification, relocation or cancellation of the project will in principle be accepted. This also applies to the reimbursement of obligatory costs already incurred and eligible for subsidy if the project can no longer be carried out. The Fund will not compensate the loss of income of freelancers in connection with hours still to be worked within a subsidized project that is no longer being carried out. For this, we refer you to the government's additional support for people who are self-employed on this page.

The following is applicable:
• If your event or project has been definitively cancelled or rescheduled, please inform your contact person at the Fund by e-mail.
• If you receive an automatically generated message from the Fund about final accountability, but your event or project has been cancelled or rescheduled, please e-mail your contact person to let them know.
• You do not need to contact the Fund if there is any doubt about whether or not your event or project will go ahead. You should only e-mail your contact person in the event of a definitive cancellation or rescheduling.

€ 300 million extra for culture
On 15 April, the cabinet made an additional 300 million euro available for the cultural sector. This support will help cultural institutions that are vital to the sector through the financially difficult first months of the corona crisis. By supporting precisely these crucial cultural organizations now, they can ensure that after the crisis, the flow of assignments, including those for freelancers, will get underway again. The Minister aims to start implementing these measures as soon as possible. The extra resources will be used, among other things, to increase the subsidies for institutions that are now receiving support for a number of years from the Creative Industries Fund NL.

focus on makers
The makers in the design sector benefit from contracts and grants. In 2019, the Fund supported a total of 654 projects by makers (mostly carried out by freelancers) for around 10 million euro, in addition to support for 98 institutions to the tune of 6.1 million euro. All 11 grant programmes will therefore be continued in 2020, as will most of the open calls included in the 2020 annual plan. However, it is not possible to apply for projects (ranging from research to residency) abroad as long as there is a negative advice for international travel from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. On the other hand, (new forms of) international cooperation (without the need for a physical presence) are in fact being stimulated within the different grant programmes and, where possible, within the open calls.

We will make every effort, with the limited possibilities we have, to minimize the impact of this crisis on the sector as far as we can. This means that in the run-up to 2021, we will deploy additional initiatives to give the sector a boost in order to recover from the COVID-19 crisis.

Fund accessibility
The Fund is still operating and accessible by mail and telephone, despite the fact that Fund staff will be working from home as much as possible in the coming period. We are doing our utmost to ensure that all activities run as normally as possible.

• The secretariat can be reached by telephone and can put you in contact with the right colleague, but as a rule it is more convenient to mail your contact person directly.
• The closing dates are unchanged and can be found in the information on grants on the website.
• The committee meetings will continue as planned, but will mostly take place in the form of a video conference.
• All the Fund's information sessions, workshops and events on location have been postponed until at least 1 September 2020.
• The processing time of an application remains unchanged. You will receive an e-mail informing you of the decision 10 weeks after the closing date of the grant programme. Please note that your project may not start before you have received the result.

Read also the Frequently asked questions and answers about the consequences for the cultural and creative sector on the Government's site.


Frequently asked questions about subsidy applications and tips

6 July 2020

In the current circumstances, the Fund aims to be a stable factor for the field, to keep the basic grant programmes running as well as possible and to be accessible. Myrthe Kramer and Ilona Meijer, who both work at the secretariat, are the first points of contact for the Fund. At the moment they're working from home, like their other colleagues. Every day they receive a wide range of questions about the application procedure, the online application system and, of course, COVID-19. Here you will find answers to current frequently asked questions, plus some practical tips for your grant application.
1. How is the Fund dealing with the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic?
We have produced a separate news item about our accommodating policy, which you can read here. The Fund advises that applications should demonstrate a sense of reality and respond to current events, where relevant.

2. Up until what time can I submit my application on the closing date?
You can submit the online application form until 23.59 on the closing date. We strongly advise you to submit your application earlier due to the potential volume of traffic on the server.

3. When will I receive the result of my application?
You will receive an e-mail with the result 10 weeks from the closing date of the grant programme.

4. Is there a sample application I can have a look at?
No, but refer to the Grant Application Guide (PDF) before submitting your application. The guide provides advice with regard to the grant application and drawing up the project plan, budget and communication plan.

5. Can I submit an application to more than one grant programme at the same time?
No. It is not possible to apply for more than one grant programme for a single project.

6. Can I resubmit the same project after receiving a negative decision?
If your project has been rejected, it is not possible to submit the plan again within six months. You can, however, submit a revised application. In a revised application, you respond to the feedback from the advisory committee. A revised application should contain sufficient new information to allow a new advice to be issued. The staff assess whether the proposal has been adjusted sufficiently to allow it to be presented for evaluation again.

7. What is the maximum amount I can apply for?
The amount of the Fund's contribution depends on various factors, including reasonableness of the application and the degree of co-financing. There are no maximum amounts. For each grant programme and round, a maximum available budget is set; you can find this on the website. For each grant programme, there is a list of supported projects, including the amounts granted. This gives a good impression. For information about the breakdown of the total annual budget, please refer to the annual report.

8. Am I more likely to get a grant in the last round of the year or the first round of the year?
The Fund establishes an available budget for each grant programme and for each round, which you can find on the website. So it makes no difference whether you apply at the beginning or the end of the year.

9. If I'm still studying, can I apply?
No, students are not eligible. The Fund focuses on professionals working in the creative industry. In order to receive a grant from the Fund, the applicant must be registered in the Chamber of Commerce (KvK) business register, or a foreign equivalent.

10. What's an fte?
Fte means full-time equivalent, a unit expressing the number of people employed or the size of a person's job.

11. How many ftes should I fill in if I'm a freelancer, but I'm working together with several people on the project?
You only fill in the number of ftes working within your organization; as a freelancer you fill in 1 fte for a full-time working week and for example 0.2, 0.5 of 0.8 fte for part-time depending on the part of the week you work.

12. Is the grant reference the same as the application number?
Yes, those are the same numbers.

13. What hourly rate can I use in my budget? Is there a standard amount for this?
The Fund contributes a maximum of € 65 excl. VAT to the hourly rate of the applicant and equivalent collaboration partner. For a guideline on hourly rates, please refer to the website of the Fair Practice Code for more information.

14. I cannot change my bank account number in my application. Where can I edit this information?
At the question 'are the bank details correct' in the application form at Organization 1.2, if you click 'no', fields will appear in which you can type.

15. My files are larger than indicated, what should I do?
Tip: lower the resolution of your images or compress your PDFs.
You should not send the documents to the Fund by e-mail or via WeTransfer.

16. What should you do if you're not yet registered with the Chamber of Commerce but would like to apply in the meantime?
You can simply submit the application and upload an empty document instead of the Chamber of Commerce (KvK) form. However, we will need your KvK registration number within a few weeks. A grant cannot be awarded without a KvK number.

Tip 1: Create an account in good time in the online application environment. You may not receive the confirmation e-mail until the next working day.

Tip 2: Before starting an application, please refer to the Grant Application Guide (PDF) for guidance on drawing up the project plan, budget and communication plan.

Tip 3: Do not wait until the last minute to submit your application. The server is busy around 23:59 on the closing date, which can cause delays and your application may not be submitted on time. The application round closes after 00:00 (midnight). You are strongly advised to submit your application earlier, preferably during office hours.

frequently asked questions
Do you have any other questions? Take a look at the extensive overview at Frequently Asked Questions.

Is your question not answered there? Call +31(0)10 436 16 00 or send an e-mail to Myrthe Kramer or Ilona Meijer at

Offices wanted: space for 12 master-companion trajectories in architecture discipline

29 June 2020

Is your architectural office willing to host a master-apprentice programme and to dedicate time to helping a novice architect, urban planner, landscape architect or interior architecture perform a research project? The Creative Industries Fund NL is seeking architectural offices who would like to work with upcoming talents within the architectural discipline.
The fund is seeking 12 offices active in one of the fields of the architectural discipline, together forming a cross-section of the overall work field. The fund is therefore seeking a diverse range of offices in terms of sub-discipline, size, work domain, design method and regional base. Interdisciplinary offices are also invited to apply. The fund distinguishes the following profiles:

Profile 1 • architecture
Profile 2 • urban planning
Profile 3 • interior architecture
Profile 4 • garden and landscape architecture
Profile 5 • interdisciplinary

Offices working within at least one of these profiles are invited to apply. The deadline for applications is Thursday 30 July 2020. A call for apprentices will follow in September 2020.

Read more about the open call here.

additional resources for makers affected by Covid-19
In June 2020, Minister van Engelshoven provided the Creative Industries Fund with additional resources to support makers in the design sector who have been hit hard by the Covid-19 situation.

The Creative Industries Fund expects that the Covid-19 situation will make it extra difficult for novice architects to connect with the work field, to set up their own practice or to find a (training) position within an office. At the same time, offices will find it harder to devote time to research and experimentation. The fund therefore aims to devote extra resources to giving young architects an impetus and to supporting architectural offices, simultaneously.

5 productions supported by the Creative Industries Fund NL nominated for the Golden Calf Best Interactive Award 2020

28 June 2020

The Netherlands Film Festival has nominated eight titles for the 2020 Golden Calf Award for Best Interactive production. This category covers virtual reality experiences, installations and multi-media productions. Five of the eight productions were supported through Creative Industries Fund's Immerse\Interact programme (previously, Non-fiction Transmedia) and the Digital Culture programme. All nominees can be viewed on the NFF Interactive Expo at Post Utrecht starting 25 September 2020.
The nominees are:
#VerlorenJongensZullenWinnen – Polina Medvedev and Isaura Sanwirjatmo (Studio Isaura San)
In this trans-media documentary installation, two young makers carrying a telephone, camera or microphone challenge dominant power structures and mainstream opinion-making. With the assistance of a group of Rotterdam students, the audience is immersed in a combination of online and live performances, ranging from dance and theatre to spoken word and debate.

Big Village – Beri Shalmashi and Lyangelo Vasquez (Kaliber Film)
Using narrative and images, this interactive documentary recreates the Iraqi town of Gewredê, which was entirely flattened by bombing in the 1980s. The Kurdish resistance movement, feared by Iran in its fight against the Ayatollahs, had their headquarters here. Gewredê is also where maker Beri spent the first few years of her life with her parents, before the family fled to the Netherlands.

More Moiré² – Philip Vermeulen (Studio Philip Vermeulen)
This immersive installation creates an overwhelming cinematographic experience within a panoramic capsule-like space. Through carefully composed landscapes of light, sound and moving moiré patterns, the maker plays tricks on people's perception.
Weightless Bricks Act II: Collaboration – Paula Strunden and John Cruwys (Soft Bodies)
This virtual space speculates on the future roles of freelancers and remote working. Thanks to evolving technologies, the possibilities for remote working are increasing steadily. As a result, the private domain and work domain are merging to form a single space. This project examines how you can expand your bodily experience by designing interactive virtual environments.

nerd_funk – Ali Eslami and Mamali Shafahi (ALLLESSS) (photo above)
This project presents a virtual Instagram identity which you can follow to ensure your exposure to a curated dose of contemporary digital culture. A series of VR experiences explores the larger themes that emerge from this media stream. In this installation structured as a series of chapters, users explore the new reality created through social media.
Big Village – Beri Shalmashi en Lyangelo Vasquez (Kaliber Film)

#VerlorenJongensZullenWinnen, Big Village and More Moiré² were created with the support of a grant provided through the Grant Programme Immerse\Interact (previously, the Grant Programme Non-fiction transmedia). This programme is offered in collaboration with the Netherlands Film Fund to support cross-over projects involving film, design and digital culture. Digital pioneers, interactive and graphic designers work with directors, screenwriters and producers to create innovative media productions. The next deadline for the Grant Programme Immerse\Interact is 25 August 2020.

Weightless Bricks Act II: Collaboration and nerd_funk were supported with a grant through the Grant Programme Digital Culture. The next deadlines for the Grant Programme Digital Culture are 12 August and 7 October 2020.

The 40th edition of the Netherlands Film Festival will be held from 25 September to 3 October 2020. For more information go to


3 proposals selected in Open Call Exceptional Presentations

28 June 2020

In the second round of the Open Call Exceptional Presentations, three proposals for public presentations have been selected. All three engage with socially relevant themes in an innovative way. Coordinator Eva Roolker reflects on the open call.
In order to demonstrate the qualities and significance of contemporary architecture, design and digital culture, in March the Creative Industries Fund NL called on presentation institutions, exhibition venues, museums and new initiatives to develop proposals for a distinctive, bold or ambitious public presentation. The fund's goal is to create room for surprising proposals that stimulate innovative presentations within the creative industry for a new or specific target group.

Almost all of the proposals submitted to the fund in response to the open call addressed relevant societal themes. This also applies to the three selected proposals:

The Nightshop: an underground museum – Concrete Blossom
With a proposal titled 'The Nightshop: an underground museum', Concrete Blossom wonders what an institute would look like that is modelled on the typology of multicultural working-class neighbourhoods where diversity emerges as a matter of course and a new type of cosmopolitan identity has evolved over the past few decades. The Nightshop is a permanent exhibition, but at the same fulfils the classic role of a neighbourhood shop.

RE-/place – RE-/place (Studio Ester van de Wiel and Studio Joost Adriaanse and others)
'RE-/place' is all about the transition to a more inclusive and circular society. In this public depot created by and for and with the city, urban metabolism and the world of recreation converge, and various RE- strategies such as RE-value, RE-combine and RE-order are investigated through design research.

Court for Intergenerational Climate Crimes – Framer Framed
Framer Framed's proposal is geared to climate justice. For a period of five months, this art institute will be transformed into a social space offering a platform for the 'Court for Intergenerational Climate Crimes'. Through court hearings, lectures, training courses and an education programme, the CICC reaches out to a critical and predominantly young but engaged target group.

The Advisory Committee, consisting of Melle Daamen, René Boer and Annelies Thoelen, checked whether the submitted proposals met the criteria of this open call and evaluated to what extent the proposals were consistent and whether they fulfil the objectives of the call and grant programme. The Open Call explicitly urged participants to devise truly exceptional plans, to enter into strong partnerships, and to focus more emphatically on the intended target group. As in the first round of this open call, the advisors found that this last point receives too little attention in the proposals, except in the three selected entries.

In response to the Open Call Exceptional Presentations, the Creative Industries Fund accepted 13 proposals for consideration. With the 3 selected proposals, the acceptance rate comes to 23 per cent. The available budget for this round was € 300,000.

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While COVID-19 has the world in its grip and has an enormous impact on our daily lives, it's almost impossible for us to imagine that a few weeks ago we were in a completely different position. The cu... more >