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Selection Open Calls Internationalization: Turkey, Russia, Egypt and Morocco #1

Selection Open Calls Internationalization: Turkey, Russia, Egypt and Morocco #1

4 May 2018

Last December, the Fund issued four different open calls where Dutch designers and cultural organizations were invited to submit a project plan for a project, intervention or process that deploys design for sustainable and inclusive urbanization in Turkey, Morocco, Egypt or Russia. An interdisciplinary committee with expertise in the countries concerned made a selection from 56 proposals.
The 16 selected projects offer opportunities that include improving living conditions and social cohesion, working together with different target groups, utilizing technology for social innovation and exploring new meanings of cultural heritage. This selection provides an initial impulse for setting up and reinforcing collaborations between makers in the four countries and the Netherlands. Where knowledge is developed and shared for the challenges associated with urbanization.

The number of submissions for this first series of open calls was high and almost evenly distributed over the four countries, with Russia standing out with 20 applications. There were also 13 applications for Morocco, 12 for Egypt and 11 for Turkey. Per country, 4 projects were selected for the first phase, with the option for submitting a follow-up application for the second phase.

The following stood out in the submissions per country:

The submissions for Turkey related to both large and small cities, instead of a mono-focus on Istanbul. This distribution of projects over the country makes the proposals interesting and sometimes surprising. A total of 11 applications is a modest harvest of entries, considering the long-standing relationships between the Netherlands and Turkey in the cultural sphere, and the challenges associated with urbanization in Turkey. One possible explanation is that the aim is to achieve collaborations with the local authorities and that is particularly challenging. The composition of the teams and expertise turned out to match only in varying degrees the themes and objectives of the projects, on both the Dutch and Turkish sides. The balance in reciprocity, the relevance of the issue and the approach was good in the selected projects. How collaboration and reciprocity are to be safeguarded and organized in the subsequent course of the projects requires further development for the second phase. The partnerships were the deciding factor for the selection of projects in Turkey.

selected projects Turkey:
Lüleburgaz Bisiklette Biniyor, cycling for a better city
Artgineering/ Novusens/ Sustainable Solutions
Toroslar Interactive CityLab
Ekim Tan, Play the City
Turkish and Dutch Farming Practices
IND International
Izmir Metabolic Cycling Network (IMCN)

Izmir Metabolic Cycling Network (MCN), FABRICations and WRI Turkey

Geographically, the applications were very widespread, from Moscow to Siberia and even Svobodny, towards the borders with China and Japan. This is an interesting and positive yield. The level and quality of the applications varied significantly in the 20 submissions for the open call Russia. Several applications focused on 'mono-towns'. This is the phenomenon of mono-functional cities that in their development – composition of services, economy and inhabitants – specifically focus on a particular industry. In terms of themes, these applications were similar to each other. The differences in approach and method therefore weighed more heavily. Many applications were focused on improving or developing the public space – a development that has recently been utilized in Russian cities. Only a few applications had a distinctive approach to this. One of the reasons for this could be that the same Russian partner, an important player in the development of public space, was often included in the project teams. On the whole, it was noticeable that 2 to 3 Russian partners were frequently mentioned in the applications. A few projects had an extremely good approach with regard to accessing local partners, particularly users, which is one of the greatest challenges in Russia in the area of spatial issues. In general, something that stood out in the budgets was that the hourly rates in Russia are lower in comparison with the rates in the Netherlands. This is a realistic representation and, according to the advisers, it is all the more important to be clear about how the reciprocity has been organized in the collaborative relationship. The approach chosen was decisive when selecting the projects in Russia.

selected projects Russia:
Prototyping Future Energy with HSE
Yin Aiwen
LL Tomsk One - Living Laboratory
LEVS Architecten
The 'Samarsky Yard' - Housing Heritage in the Post-Socialist City
Schiemann Weyers
New Urban Media Centre in Yekaterinburg
SVESMI Holding

New Urban Media Centre in Yekaterinburg, SVESMI HOLDING BV

The submissions for Egypt varied in their approach and the issue chosen. Many projects focused on Cairo, despite the fact that Egypt is a large country. It is, after all, the city where many things are centralized, including art and culture. Cairo is certainly the perfect place to start working in Egypt and to build up relationships from there. The strongest applications were to be found on the interface between art, culture and heritage. They are small in terms of set-up and implementation, but great in potential impact and for knowledge development and sharing. There are still opportunities and scope for small-scale projects in Egypt. Large-scale, urban design projects require collaboration with the authorities at national or local level and that is extremely difficult, perhaps even unrealistic, considering the time frame of the projects. However, the committee noted that heritage as a main theme was conspicuously absent in the applications. This is however a very relevant topic in the Egyptian context, for both material and immaterial heritage. A positive aspect is that a few projects made this connection and took up a position towards approaching heritage from a designer's perspective. It was noticeable that one particular local partner appeared several times in different applications. Building up relationships between various Dutch and Egyptian parties appears to be necessary. On the Dutch side, the main applicant or other parties involved appeared to be less well-matched with the theme or approach. From the applications, it emerged that the necessary cultural sensitivity (from the Dutch perspective) of the social context was not always present. This is crucial when working together on the basis of reciprocity. Deciding factors for the selection of projects in Egypt were the relevance of the themes and the partnerships entered into for the purpose.

selected projects Egypt:
Grounded Urban Practices
Non Fiction & Cluster
Darb el Labana Lab
Bureau LADA & LALA Studio
Hope for Embaba
Connecting Deltas
Shift Works

Darb el Labana Lab, Bureau LADA and LALA Studio

Inspiring approaches to themes and collaborations – ranging from establishment to grassroots – characterized the applications focused on Morocco. There was a good geographical spread: Meknes, Casablanca, Rabat, Tanger in the north and Tiznit in the south. Remarkably enough, no projects focused on Marrakech. In terms of themes, various projects differed significantly in their degree of development. A few projects resembled 'classic' architectural projects that lay close to project development. In addition, the social or cultural significance and aim of the project were not always very clear. A balanced distribution of the budgets between the Dutch and Moroccan parties was not the case in all of the applications. In many projects, the requested amount for the first phase was intended in its entirety for the Dutch party, without clear insight into the contribution from the Moroccan side. Either in kind or financially. How the reciprocity is organized in the collaboration was already described in some project proposals, but attention is required for further development. In a number of applications, a Dutch team member with Moroccan roots is involved. The Moroccan diaspora is a valuable connection in building relationships and understanding between the Netherlands and Morocco, but also in creating together and sharing knowledge. Deciding factors for the selection of projects in Morocco were the approach to the collaboration and the type of projects (study + pilot).

selected projects Morocco:
Affordable Housing Casablanca
Bureau SLA
Network of Research & Architecture BV and MB Paysage
Learning from Tiznit
Slow Research Lab
Sara Frikech

PLAYCITY, Network of Research and Architecture BV & MB Paysage
Composition of the committee

Every open call specifically focused on one of the four countries, but they are all part of a single programme. For this reason the choice was made to put together a special committee, which includes experts per country, who are working in one of the fields of the creative industry and are able to think in an interdisciplinary way. The members of the committee are:

Committee chair: Saskia Ruijsink – senior expert Urban Policy and Planning Institute for Housing and urban development studies (IHS).
Advisor Egypt: Nat Muller – curator, writer and art critic specialized in the Arab world.
Advisor Morocco: Hicham Khalidi – curator Rotterdam Triennale 2020, Lafayette Anticipations - Fondation d'entreprise Galerie Lafayette in Paris, former guest curator Marrakech Biennale.
Advisor Russia: Eva Radionova – landscape architect bureau Novascape, curator and project leader Russian-Dutch projects, guest lecturer at the Academy of Architecture Amsterdam.
Advisor Turkey: Aslı Çiçek – architect and guest professor KU Leuven, works in Brussels and Istanbul.
Generalist advisor: Paula Zijp – project funding coordinator at Triodos Foundation, MSc Cultural Anthropology (Sociocultural Transformation).


The Creative Industries Fund NL is conducting a four-year programme within the policy framework of the International Culture Policy 2017-2020 (objective 2) with funding from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, entitled 'Sustainable and inclusive cities through design'. Central to the programme is the role and deployment of design and design thinking to question and provide solutions for rapid urbanization and the corresponding social themes. Cross-disciplinary working with relevant stakeholders in Turkey is encouraged, both within and beyond the design disciplines, where it revolves around providing opportunities for collaboration between Turkey and the Netherlands on an equal footing and strengthening the trust and understanding between the two countries.

Photo above: Grounded Urban Practices, Non Fiction and Cluster

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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 'Millenium 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 [email protected]'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


Interview Suzanne Oude Hengel | Innovation in textiles

13 March 2019

Suzanne Oude Hengel studied Product Design at ArtEZ Arnhem. Through her Instagram account, she keeps over 5,000 followers informed about her shoe designs, which are disappointingly not for sale. By now, she is developing in several areas, working internationally with major brands such as Timberland and Rothy's, and is increasingly shaping her own practice.
Material research plays the leading role in Suzanne Oude Hengel's work. As a shoe and textile designer, she focuses on combining techniques (including knitting techniques), industrial production and digital design methods. 'The fact that I concentrate on shoes actually happened intuitively', explains Suzanne. 'I develop materials, which I was already doing during my studies. When the focus shifted more and more to textiles, I wanted to use them in a functional way. I focus on innovation and would like to change the applications in textiles. Shoes are very interesting due to the scale and because the design involves many restrictions. Not only does a shoe have to fit your foot well, it also has to offer support at the right points and be of high quality'.

Suzanne does not see herself purely as a designer, but considers herself equally to be a technician. To develop her technical knowledge, she works a number of hours a week at the TextielLab in Tilburg. 'The TextielLab is a very valuable place for me, but also for many other designers. I started working there after an internship. I operate and repair the knitting machines, learn how to programme and am an ambassador for knitting for the visitors. In addition, there is room for personal experimentation and knowledge development.'
Photo: Masha Bakker

In addition to my own research and the work at TextielLab, I often work on behalf of major brands. They ask me to develop new products or to set up research for them. I don't approach anyone, but through Instagram people have been able to find me in the last three years since I graduated.' During those three years, Suzanne has increasingly determined her own course and that sometimes takes courage. For instance, she has rejected a number of great offers from major brands. 'Of course, a job provides security and you feel honoured to be asked. But I find building my own business more attractive. I work on so many enjoyable projects and it's achieving success,' explains Suzanne.

In order to invest as much time as possible in her research and to accelerate the development of her own practice, Suzanne applied for a talent development grant from the Creative Industries Fund NL. And to get some support in the collaboration projects with large companies, she became a member of the BNO. 'When you start working together with large, internationally operating companies, you suddenly have to deal with non-disclosure agreements and the tax systems of other countries. The working grant from the Fund enables me to invest in my own development and gives a boost to building up my company. The grant gives me space to work on my visibility and network. In terms of professional content, in the past year I have delved into the software of flat knitting machines and have carried out a great deal of material research. When I applied for the grant, I did ask others for feedback on the development plan that had to be written for it. You shouldn't be too cautious about doing that and it can be extremely useful. I thought it was important to stay close to myself and to write down what I really wanted. I know from others that they sometimes experience a threshold when applying for a grant like this. But there's no need for that whatsoever. A new opportunity always comes along.'

The next step in building her own practice is in sight. Suzanne is discussing merging her studio with someone else's and setting up her work in a larger way as a result. She wants to present herself even more as a hybrid designer and to develop herself in technical respect. The aim remains to highlight all the facets of textiles, both functional and technical.

Photo: Masha Bakker

You can find out more about the Creative Industries Fund NL's Talent Development working grant here. Are you curious about everyone who received support in recent years via the Grant Programme for Talent Development? Platform Talent provides an overview of all the supported designers and makers.

This interview is the last in a series of three. Previously we interviewed Marjan van Aubel and Koos Breen (Dutch only).


Six showcases at South by Southwest 2019

13 March 2019

On Friday 8 March, the annual showcase festival South by Southwest (SXSW) started in Austin, Texas. Traditionally, the festival opens with the technology and film programme, after which the city is completely taken over by the music industry. Six makers from different disciplines of the creative industry received a voucher from the Creative Industries Fund NL to support their participation.
Due to the different registration dates for SXSW, the open call for vouchers was open from the spring of 2018. Confirmation of participation in one of the predefined official tracks was the most important condition to be eligible for support from the Fund.

The supported makers are:
• Killing Architects – Migration Trail, (Panel within interactive conference)
• Aiwen Yin – Reimagine Families, (Panel within interactive conference)
• Daniël Ernst – Diorama no. 4: Die Fernweh Oper (Virtual Cinema Expo)
• CIRCUS FAMILY – Installation (SXSW Art Program)
• Wendela Scheltema – Ahorse! (Virtual Cinema Expo)
• P'tites Madeleines Productions – INCITEMENT (Virtual Cinema Expo)

It's good to see that three of the six projects have a history with the Fund. Alison Killing received a contribution for her project 'Migration Watch' from the grant programme for Non-fiction Transmedia. Aiwen Yin's research was previously supported in the Digital Culture grant programme and Daniël Ernst's first version of 'Die Fernweh Oper' was developed in 2016 following a joint contribution from the Fund and the Dutch Foundation for Literature.

New in the SXSW programme this year was the Virtual Cinema Expo, which focuses entirely on VR and 360-degree film productions. With projects by Daniël Ernst, Wendela Scheltema and P'tites Madeleines Productions, the Netherlands was well represented in this section.

Circus Family tested a new work with the working title 'Lighthouse' in the public space.
Previous participation at SXSW proved to be a perfect springboard for them for a series of exhibitions in the United States.

Photo above: Daniël Ernst – Diorama no. 4


28 March: Bring it on! Creative Industries Fund NL Open Day

1 March 2019

After a successful first edition last year, the Creative Industries Fund NL is once again organizing Bring it on! on Thursday 28 March. On this open day we will bring the designing sector together, director Syb Groeneveld will talk about our new plans and we will discuss ambitions, design ideas and social impact.
Through public interviews with supported design talent, we demonstrate the power of design and the value of design research. Designers, makers, talents and institutions show what the subsidy they received has meant for them and together we discuss new developments. In a varied programme, the themes of professionalization, collaboration and talent development play a central role. During Bring it on! we will also launch a number of new open calls and grant programmes.

An important part of Bring it on! is the speed dating with staff of the Fund and a number of other organizations. Would you like to speed date? You can find more information at the end of the programme.

date: Thursday 28 March 2019
time: 14.00 - 17.00, followed by drinks
location: Theater Rotterdam, Schouwburgplein 25, 3012 CL Rotterdam
registering: You can sign up via our registration form.


14.30Welcome by moderator Stephanie Afrifa

14.35 Interview with executive director Syb Groeneveld about the past year and plans for the coming period

14.45 Storytelling and Immerse\Interact: Joris van Ballegooijen (Fund) explains the possibilities

15.00 Sustainability in the fashion sector: a talk with three fashion platforms: FASHIONCLASH, State of Fashion and M-ODE, and a fashion collective Das Leben am Haverkamp.

15.20 Interior and interdisciplinarity: designer Siba Sahabi and advisor Aslı Çiçek reflect on the profession

15.30 Collaborating on care: a discussion about commissioning with designer Manon van Hoeckel and Gijsbert van Herk (Humanitas), led by Jetske van Oosten (Fund)

15.45 Break

16.00 Experimenting in workplaces: what are the benefits of collaborating with a company, lab or industrial partner?

16.10 Interview with design talents who received a talent development grant last year, including Joana Chicau (in English)

16.25 Remix and sampling as a method for new design: which ideas, styles and relationships arise when mainstream worlds and countercultures come together or collide? Farida Sedoc uses remix and sampling in her work. She talks about which recognition and ownership you can enforce with this working method.

16.45 Diversity and festivals: new festival initiatives shed light on their programming, for instance Brigitte van der Sande from Other Futures 2020 and Shirin Mirachor of Get Me - for today's activist

17.00 Wrap-up with executive director Syb Groeneveld

17.05 Drinks, until 18.30

speed dating
An important part of Bring it on! is the speed dating with staff of the Fund and a number of other organizations. During a speed date, you can ask all your questions about subsidy possibilities, Fund policy and, of course, briefly test out your idea.

Would you like to know more about the possibilities of a grant programme? Are you interested in an open call? Perhaps you would like to know more about the options of an interest-free loan from Fonds Kwadraat, or do you have questions about your professional practice which the BNO can help you with?

Sign up: use the registration form to let us know which question(s) you have. We will then organize a brief meeting with a Fund employee or an external expert. The speed dates are not meant to be used to present your portfolio or a concept application. Due to limited capacity, it is advisable to respond quickly.

Timetable for speed dating:
14.30 - 15.30
15.30 - 16.30


Talent Development Grant Programme conditions broadened for architects

14 February 2019

From now on, starting architects, urban designers, garden and landscape architects and interior architects may submit applications to the Talent Development Grant Programme up to four years after their registration in the Architects' Register.
To be eligible for the Talent Development grant, applicants must not have graduated more than four years ago. For architects and related disciplines, this condition proved to have a limiting effect. Since 31 December 2014, they are required to gain two years' professional experience before they can be registered in the Architects' Register and are allowed to use the protected title of architect, urban designer, garden and landscape architect or interior architect.

So from now on, The Fund will regard registration in the Architects' Register as the moment of graduation. Starting architects, urban designers, garden and landscape architects and interior architects may submit applications to the Talent Development Grant Programme up to four years after being included in the register.

By broadening the conditions of the Talent Development Scheme for architects and related disciplines, the Fund hopes to lower the threshold and receive more applications for the working grant from this group. The number of applications from architects lags behind those submitted by designers and makers working in design and digital culture. The broadening of the conditions also offers architects greater opportunity to formulate their own vision on spatial and social developments before submitting an application. Given the complexity of their field, this takes more time than in other fields.

The deadline for applying for Talent Development grants for 2020 is 6 March 2019. Are you interested in knowing who has received support in recent years through the Talent Development Grant Programme? Platform Talent gives an overview of all the supported designers and makers.

Foto above: Arna Mačkić graduated in 2010 from the department of Architectural Design at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie and was supported for the Talent Development Grant Programme in 2014.

the fund



On Friday 8 March, the annual showcase festival South by Southwest (SXSW) started in Austin, Texas. Traditionally, the festival opens with the technology and film programme, after which the city is co... more >