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35 Talent Development grants awarded

09 september 2020

Every year, the Creative Industries Fund NL offers emerging design talent the free space to focus on artistic and professional growth. The 2021 group was recently determined by the selection committee. There were 35 grants available.

After a pre-selection from 198 portfolios in the first round of the Talent Development grant programme, and four scout nights during which 40 young makers presented themselves to a jury, the selection committee evaluated 59 development plans in the second round. The committee, consisting of Angelique Spaninks (chair), Paulien Bremmer, Lotte van Laatum, Harriët Mbonjani, Hellen van Rees, Yassine Salihine, Tim Terpstra, Simone Trum, Gerben Willers and Tim Prins, selected 35 plans from this group. These applicants will each receive € 24,000 and, as a result, will have the opportunity to develop their artistic practice further in the coming year, both artistically and professionally. In the evaluation, the committee paid attention to the artistic quality of the development plan, the plans for professionalization and presentation, and finally the development potential of the applicants.

general impression
The submitted proposals showed a wide diversity in disciplines, topics and themes. In addition, a number of common themes could be distinguished in the plans. Many applicants question (social) structures and systems, such as economy, democracy and migration, and identity, sexuality and inclusiveness are also recurring themes, as is the relationship between public and private and our dealings with nature. Applicants are also regularly engaged in the investigation of sensory experiences, with technology, machine learning and data, while many people concentrate on material research, and the revaluation of crafts and local focus is also common.

Although it is positive that young makers are taking up topical social challenges, the committee stresses the importance of relating to this carefully as a designer or maker and ensuring that major terms such as sustainability, circularity, inclusiveness, diversity and multiperspectivity do not become umbrella terms and are therefore not sufficiently explained and covered. If a designer or maker is engaged in one of these areas, it is also important, for example, that their involvement in the theme is reflected in their own working methods, and that their own position, collaboration partners and the public are looked at critically.

  • Bodil Ouedraogo


  • selection
    The advisory committee has opted for applicants who have shown that they are ambitious, and at the same time have a realistic picture of what they can achieve in a year. The committee also appreciates applicants who are looking outside their own network for new collaborations and opportunities. The committee expects the selected makers to continue to work on their artistic and professional development in their own unique way in the coming year. The following 35 designers and makers have been selected:

    Lesia Topolnyk
    Jean-François Gauthier
    JeanPaul Paula
    Wesley Mapes
    Luuc Sonke
    Sophia Bulgakova
    Stefano Murgia
    Sydney Rahimtoola
    Frances Rompas
    Andrius Arutiunian
    Thom Bindels
    Gabriel Fontana
    Renee Mes
    Irakli Sabekia
    Asefeh Tayebani
    Louis Braddock Clarke
    Khalid Amakran
    Cleo Tsw
    Moriz Oberberger
    Sherida Kuffour
    Vera van de Seyp
    Funs Janssen
    Josse Pyl
    Fransje Gimbrere
    Fana Richters
    Don Kwaning
    Philipp Kolmann
    Audrey Large
    Mirjam Debet
    Marlou Breuls
    Bodil Ouedraogo
    Inez Naomi
    ILLM
    Johanna Seelemann
    Seok-hyeon Yoon

    diversity and inclusiveness
    Within the Talent Development grant programme, applications are submitted by an extremely diverse group of designers and makers. Approximately half of those selected in this round have the Dutch nationality. Of the other half, many applicants came to the Netherlands for their studies and then built up their own practice here. Due to the relatively large number of non-Dutch applicants, influences from non-Western cultures are visible in a number of portfolios. In recent years, the Fund has also made extra efforts to reach and support talented applicants with a bicultural identity, migration background and/or who have been trained outside art education. These groups are often less able to find their way to the Fund, even though they sustain relevant practices. From the Research & Remix project, in which four young, talented makers were given the opportunity by the Fund to work on a new work under the supervision of Metro54, there has been a transfer to the Talent Development grant programme. Like last year, the Fund also organized scout nights in collaboration with Marian Duff, Meryem Slimani, Jess Oberlin and Saïd Belhadj. In this way, we are able to appeal to a culturally diverse group with different experiences and backgrounds and to activate them.
  • Fransje Gimbrere


  • discipline distribution
    The 35 positively evaluated applications can be categorized into the following sub-disciplines, although many practices transcend the boundaries of these disciplines:

    • 1 grant awarded per sub-discipline: illustration, interaction design, textiles, typography, digital storytelling, landscape architecture, interior design and urban design
    • 2 grants awarded per sub-discipline: animation, bio design, scenography and art-science
    • 3 grants awarded per sub-discipline: product design and audiovisual
    • 4 grants awarded per sub-discipline: fashion and social design
    • 5 grants awarded per sub-discipline: graphic design

    In recent years, the Fund has made an effort to also reach emerging design talent from the architectural discipline, because the number of applications within the Talent Development grant programme from this discipline is lagging behind. This time, three grants were awarded within this discipline. In order to strengthen the link with the field of architecture and in particular to give starting architects, urban designers, garden and landscape architects and interior architects the opportunity to develop their talent, the Fund has taken the initiative for the Open Call Building Talent. This open call gives them the opportunity to work with established bureaus on a current social issue. The deadline for the Open Call Building Talent is Wednesday 28 October 2020.

    The talent development grant can be applied for once a year. The closing date for next year is expected to be known at the end of 2020. Keep an eye on our website and newsletter for the date.
  • Andrius Arutiunian