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Meet-up Egypt, Turkey, Russia and Morocco - an overview

Meet-up Egypt, Turkey, Russia and Morocco - an overview

11 December 2018

In the context of the Open Call: Turkey, Russia, Egypt, Morocco #2 that is currently underway, Creative Industries Fund NL organized a meet-up at Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam. During the meet-up, speakers from Turkey, Russia, Egypt and Morocco shared their expertise about the political, cultural and social context in their countries and used a great diversity of projects to convey their experiences in the creative field.
This article provides an overview of the gathering and a link to the Frequently Asked Questions about this Open Call, which closes on 21 January 2019.

How can designers work with other disciplines to create cities and societies that are more inclusive, despite the difficult political climates in these countries? How do you invest in the next generation of creatives? How do you appropriate the public space and how do you shape identity? Four speakers talked about their projects in the context of these questions.

Haytham Nawar, founder and artistic director of Cairotronica and the New Media Arts Festival as well as a lecturer at the American University, kicked off the session by sketching out the various editions of Cairotronica. This festival for digital culture was established in collaboration with 50 countries. In the most recent edition the emphasis was on approaching new relations between human and technology via artistic applications. For Egypt this is a new step and at the same time a means to prompt young people to look differently at the world around them via the familiar technology that they use every day. Haytham explained how they pointedly search for locations in the city for their festival, in the public space and elsewhere, in order to involve groups of people who normally would not visit a museum or gallery.

Bahia Shebab, who is also linked to the American University, then told us about how she employs graphic design and street art to discuss socio-critical topics in the streets of Cairo. Bahia presented a huge diversity of projects that her ‘graphic design’ students have developed in their graduation year: from a socio-critical comic and a sexual education kit to a navigation app in which formal and informal city structures are made visible. For Bahia, her students and the ‘seeds’ that she is planting are the most important aspects of her work. This is not accompanied by a great deal of fuss or noise, but it does have an impact. Or in Bahia’s words: ‘You can hear a tree fall, but you can’t hear a forest grow.’
Haytham Nawar, founder and and artistic leader of the Cairotronica and New Media Arts Festival and teacher at the American University. Photo: Mohamed Najah
Bahia Shebab, American University. Photo: Mohamed Najah

Nagehan Kurali Alan is a co-founder of Design In Situ, a design studio in Istanbul with a passion for the creation of digital experiences with a narrative. Nagehan sketched out an image of Istanbul as an urban playground; a city with challenges and opportunities. Within that context the studio’s mission is to employ the public space for more interaction between people and to capitalize on social behaviour. When creating their statements, interactive technology is the servant of the message, as in the case of the politician who stated that women should not laugh out loud in public space. She placed this quote in ‘monumental script’ on a wall, and thanks to the use of interactive technology every passer-by gets to hear a giggle. With them being female designers, much of the studio’s work is related to the position of women, because the city’s development does not self-evidently provide space for women. Social media and new media are subsequently used to disperse the narrative beyond the public space.

Nagehan Kurali Alan and Selin Mörth of Design In Situ. Photo: Mohamed Najah

After Turkey we turned our attention to the cold north, to the independent collective Fridaymilk in Murmansk, which Zhanna Guzenko and Oleg Khadartsev told us about in greater detail. As a collective they explore the northern identity, and far away from Moscow they discover that they have more in common with their neighbours across the border (Finland, Norway, part of Sweden and the Arctic Circle) than the inhabitants of their own country. They investigate what it means to live in Murmansk in a post-Soviet Russia. This is about loving a place despite the discomfort, the struggle with nature and infrastructure, and that struggle is one of the factors that is shaping a new northern identity. Oleg uses the fridge as a metaphor, as you don’t just want to take something from it where you need it, but to add something as well. Zhanna and Oleg have achieved this with, among other things, their festival, which besides providing physical warmth also and primarily promotes the idea of the decentralization of cultural centres: a shift of the focus on major cities to rural regions. Regional identity and the perception of the region’s specific culture is being constructed and built on in conjunction with producers of digital culture, architects, designers and journalists.

Moderator Hassnae Bouazza, Zhanna Guzenko and Oleg Khadartsev of the collective Fridaymilk. Photo: Mohamed Najah

Lastly, Kenza Benchouchaïb, director of the Kulte centre for contemporary art and editions in Rabat, provided us with insight into her experiences. The guiding principle for the Kulte gallery is experimentation with various disciplines, analyses and reflections on social questions in Morocco and Africa in a broader context. The connecting thread is the questioning of the public space and the role that is played by diverse groups. As an example, Kenza mentioned ‘The Africans’ project, which tackles the discussion about race and black identity, a topic which in Kenza’s opinion deserves greater attention in Morocco. For the ‘Ghorfa’ project, artist Younes Rahmoun devised a travelling ghorfa – a room which can accommodate various functions – that started out from his village in the mountains and after a journey through various parts of the world returned to its roots in the Rif mountain range. His message is about the ability to adapt oneself to different circumstances and reconnect with the here and now based on a new situation. This resilience is a quality that is needed to cooperate and to make an impact in the Moroccan context.

open call
After this tour of all the projects and the wealth of presentations by the international guests, the discussion proceeded to the parallels in the projects and the challenges that are encountered when employing design for inclusive societies. These discussions encompassed elements such as gaining trust, the troublesome issue of mobility (visas) and the contextual sensitivity that is needed to establish meaningful collaborations and projects.

Moderator Hassnae Bouazza in conversation with Kenza Benchouchaïb, director of Kulte Center for contemporary art and editions. Photo: Mohamed Najah
Photo: Mohamed Najah
Photo: Mohamed Najah
After the presentations there was the possibility to make aquintance with each other and to ask the Fund’s staff any questions about the open call. Foto: Mohamed Najah

Text: Rachida Abdellaoui
Photos: Mohamed Najah

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Activity programmes grants awarded 2019

17 January 2019

The Fund has awarded a one-year subsidy to 26 institutions. The selected institutions are important for the development and strengthening of the cultural and creative industry infrastructure in the Netherlands. The 26 institutions are together receiving more than € 1.4 million for their programming in 2019. The contributions range from € 25,000 to € 100,000 per annual programme.
The Grant Programme for Activities Programmes supports programmes in the field of architecture, design or digital culture or a combination of these disciplines. Cultural institutions may apply once a year for a contribution to their programme of activities for a maximum duration of one year.

The advisory committee chaired by Rutger Wolfson reached decisions concerning 46 programmes of institutions in the creative industry field. These institutions had applied for a total of more than € 2.5 million. As a result, the round was considerably over-subscribed, which meant that the committee had to make keen choices. The proposals that have been awarded a grant make an active contribution to presentation, exchange of knowledge, experiment, reflection and research in the field of architecture, design or digital culture. The advisory committee particularly appreciated a strong platform function and innovative, agenda-setting programmes.

In the field of digital culture nine proposals received contributions, in the field of architecture eight proposals, and six proposals in the field of design. Finally, three interdisciplinary proposals received contributions.

new initiatives
A number of newcomers are being supported by the grant programme. These six institutions are: The Hmm, Creative Coding, New Emergences, MacGuffin, Warehouse and Spatial Media Laboratories. The committee considers it important to encourage newcomers, and calls the six new institutions within the grant programme a valuable addition to the existing practice. In the committee’s view, the institutions provide new platforms and the programmes examine current issues and practices. An example is the programme of the new Warehouse initiative, which focuses on alternative, critical fashion practices by developing exhibitions, debates, performances, publications and podcasts.

diversity and inclusiveness
The committee attaches great importance to diversity and inclusiveness within the programmes. The committee noted that this issue was not sufficiently addressed in this round’s proposals. According to the committee, a number of the proposals receiving grants are noteworthy in the area of diversity and inclusiveness.
Through its programme 'Amplifying Voices', the New Emergences platform focuses on the issue of diversity and underrepresented voices within the field of electronic music and sound art.
Programme components in the proposal by Hackers & Designers are also interesting, such as the Feminist Intersectional Search, set up in collaboration with Read-in, Openbare bibliotheek Amsterdam and Atria Knowledge Institute on gender equality and women's history, about the dominant Western mindset in search results.
In the coming year's programme, PrintRoom will focus on non-Western practices, among other matters. According to the platform, artists' publishing is currently still a dominant Western system, despite the growing participation and radically innovative contributions of non-Western makers. Artists' book fairs and specialized shops/project spaces still exist mainly in Western Europe and North America, although important players are active in Asia and South America. How can the perspective of the field become broader and more inclusive and can we learn from the Do-It-Yourself production and presentation forms of non-Western artistic ‘publishers’?

The 26 institutions receiving a contribution are:
The Hmm
CKB Zeeland
Hackers & Designers
Platform GRAS
Architectuur Centrum Amsterdam
Creative Coding
Current Obsession
Spatial Media Laboratories
Ontwerp Platform Arnhem
Partizan Public
What Design Can Do
Architectuurcentrum Nijmegen
New Emergences
Podium voor architectuur, Haarlemmermeer en Schiphol

You can find more information about the content of the specific programmes per institution here (in Dutch only).

The closing date for the Activities Programmes in 2019 is 9 October. The total available budget for 2019 is € 1,450,000.


Selection Open Call Professionalization #4

16 January 2019

Finding a good balance between artistic development and entrepreneurship is not always easy. There is little room or funding available for professionalization and entrepreneurship in daily practice. But this is certainly important for the development of the design field. In order to encourage professionalization and strengthen professional practice in the field of design, the Open Call for Professionalization in Design Practice was launched from the Design Grant Programme for the fourth consecutive year in 2018.
With the Open Call Professionalization in Design Practice, designers and small design firms are given the opportunity to free up time to make their practice future-proof and to develop activities to realize their visions for the future. Three advisors - Anne van der Zwaag, Ellen Schindler and Yassine Salihine - examined 18 proposals and selected 7 of them.

The selected designers and design firms work in various disciplines within design, but each occupy a special position in the field. Each of the studios has been active for a number of years and has built up a sound practice and strong portfolios. The designers have also worked consistently on the quality of their work and projects and have portfolios that are meaningful for the field. Their proposals show that they are well aware of their position and their responsibilities, including their social responsibilities.

The proposals submitted were assessed against the criteria set out in the call text. The selection was based on the quality of the planned approach. The expertise involved, the problem definition and the artistic quality of the applicant's work were examined. The degree of self-reflection and insight into the positioning and its improvement were also included in the selection. The advisors additionally evaluated the level of consistency of the project plans.

The proposals submitted by the following designers and design firms have been selected:
The Soft World
Circus Engelbregt
Siba Sahabi
Alessandra Covini

The applicants of the selected proposals know how to justify their visions for the future well in terms of content and the strategies envisaged are a logical next step. In their proposals they clearly set out what they are ruunning up against in the further development of their practice and why they want to plan time now to work on their future. In addition to focusing on the future, the strategies are also outward-looking, and efforts are directed towards taking control of their own practice in order to arrive at an organizational structure that promotes business development.

Many proposals still lack insight into the long-term significance of the plans for the applicant's practice, according to the advisors. Overall, they feel that the vision on the future in these proposals is not strongly conceived and that the intended professionalization is not being sufficiently deployed in terms of content. As a result, they expect that this will not lead to deepening.

In the committee's view, a number of plans are too strongly focused on the execution of an (artistic) project and too little on the development of a strong organizational model. Although the committee found a number of projects interesting, it has given priority in its choice to projects that focus on the longer term.

follow-up in 2019
In view of the continuing urgency of the subject, the Fund wishes to issue the call again this year. Keep an eye on our newsletter and website for updates.

Image: Allesandra Covini by Kyoungtae Kim

Selection Open Call Salone del Mobile Milan 2019

15 January 2019

The Salone del Mobile is seen by many as the place to show yourself as a product and/or furniture designer to a large group of professionals from the international design world who are all looking for the latest developments within the field. In order to underline the high quality of the Dutch design sector in Milan and to strengthen the international reputation of the Dutch creative industry, the Fund called on Dutch designers to submit a proposal for a presentation at the Salone del Mobile 2019, which takes place from 9 to 14 April.
The Open Call Salone del Mobile 2019 yielded 29 proposals. Advisors Lucas Verweij, Marleen Engbersen and Chris Kabel selected 11 proposals from among them. The selection offers a rich and diverse picture of the Dutch design sector within an international context. The selected proposals distinguish themselves strongly in terms of artistic quality, presentation form and strategy.

The presentation proposals of the following applicants have been selected:

Stichting Cor Unum
Adrianus Kundert United Enterprises
Thijs Verhaar/Knitwear Lab
Studio Sanne Visser
Atelier Mark Sturkenboom
Audrey Large
Studio Minale-Maeda
David Derksen Design
Studio Joris de Groot
Siba Sahabi

The proposals submitted were assessed against the criteria set out in the call text. The starting point for the selection was the quality of the work to be presented and the portfolio. The advisors evaluated the extent to which the presentations contribute to the development of international practice and the broadening of the field of activity of both the applicant and the Dutch creative industry. In addition, the evaluation considered the extent to which proposals were designed consistently and how well they were aligned with the objectives of this call and the Internationalization Programme.

The nature of the proposals selected varies widely. The selection includes three proposals for more application-oriented and specifically detailed designs, namely those by Studio David Derksen, Studio Joris de Groot and a retrospective exhibition by Os & Oos. Presentations of more experimental and investigative projects come from Sanne Visser, Siba Sahabi and Studio Minale-Maeda. The presentation of 'art-design' by Mark Sturkenboom targets collectors. Cor Unum and Knitwear Lab (Thijs Verhaar) show the innovative design results of designers who use the facilities provided by the workplaces. Cor Unum presents ceramics by various well-known designers. The Knitwear Lab shows live the work process in which design and production come together and invites designers and labels to come and work on the spot.
The selection also includes two presentations by collectives: Oddness by Adrianus Kundert (four designers) and Morph by Audrey Large (fifteen designers). Both presentations were initiated and produced by young designers who want to offer an alternative in terms of form and content to the current furniture and product design in Milan.

Although not all the locations of the selected presentations had yet been confirmed, the advisors note that applicants are aware of the significance of the place they present their work. This is important because the specific locations in Milan each present themselves differently from the others. It is also striking and positive that in their proposals the applicants provided insight into the considerations they make in relation to the work being shown, the presentation strategies and the objectives they themselves formulated.

In general, the advisors note that the nature of the proposals reflects the diversity of the Salone del Mobile. The fair is no longer purely focused on furniture design, but has become a place where innovation, creatives in the broadest sense of the word and industry can find each other. According to the advisors, the applicants know how to give a good description of what they have to offer in the context of the furniture fair.
Finally, the advisors see an upward trend in the professionalism of the applicants and the proposals. This is evident from the images shown in the proposals and the presentation strategies. The advisors note that this applies to almost all applications. Applicants are well aware of the substantive significance of their work and practice. The proposals often reflect a highly developed body of thought.

Photo above: Adrianus Kundert United Enterprises


24 Jan: Get a Grant Maastricht

21 December 2018

Want to know how to get your project or practice funded? The Creative Industries Fund NL and the Mondriaan Fund will jointly organize meetings about grant possibilities, aimed at creative professionals and graduates. Join the next Get a Grant Event on Thursday 24 January 2019 at the Maastricht Academy of Fine Arts and Design.
The Get a Grant Event gives you insight in what the Creative Industries Fund NL and the Mondriaan Fund as Dutch public funds have to offer. Learn the how to’s from a visual artist and a designer on how they got their grant. And join the informal get together with drinks afterwards where you can ask your specific questions at staff from the Creative Industries Fund NL and the Mondriaan Fund.

Creative Industries Fund NL
Creative Industries Fund NL is the cultural fund for architecture, design, digital culture and every imaginable crossover. In addition to project subsidies from the various grants such as Design and Digital culture, the fund also makes an annual scholarship available for around 25 talented young designers / creators for their artistic and professional development.

Mondriaan Fund
The Mondriaan Fund is the public fund for visual art and cultural heritage in the Netherlands. It enables plans, projects and programmes of artists, exhibition makers and critics, museums and other art and heritage institutions, and publishers and commissioners.

Date: Thursday 24 January 2019
Time: 2.30pm – 4.30pm (doors open at 2.00pm, programme 2.30pm – 4.00pm, afterwards possibilty to talk to speakers indivually)
Location: Maastricht Academy of Fine Arts and Design, Herdenkingsplein 12
Admission: free
RSVP: via this form

Speakers: t.b.a.
Moderator: Valentijn Byvanck (director Marres)
Main language: English

the fund



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