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Selection Open Call Professionalization #4

17 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