Design – 31 projects selected

In the second Design round of 2023, 31 proposals have been selected. The available budget was not sufficient to award a grant to all positively assessed applications. Tibor Bijl, deputy coordinator Design Grant Scheme, reflects on the round.

13 July 2023

general impression

With 94 applications taken into consideration, this round of the Design Grant Scheme was an exceptionally large round with once again an increase in the number of new applicants and high-quality applications. Some themes that came up several times in this round were sustainability, experience of time, other kinds of material use and the changing role of museums and arts venues. In addition, craft, more specifically ‘radical craft’, plays a role in several applications . In these projects, crafts are deployed in resistance to dominant systems. And there has been an increase in the Do-It-Yourself mentality, where, partly due to the democratization of technology, applicants are producing at home themselves. This trend makes it important for applicants to continue to reflect on the positioning of their practice and project in the wider design field and their own distinctiveness.

Het nieuwe sprookjesboek – Djenné Fila illustratie


The available budget of € 450,000 was not sufficient to award a grant to all 37 positively assessed applications. This meant that prioritization took place. The procedure used is described in the Design Grant Scheme. After prioritization, 6 projects were eliminated from the selection.

A few notable projects selected in this round include:

Designers write – Stichting Designplatform Rotterdam
With the programme Designers write, Designplatform Rotterdam encourages reflection on the design profession through design criticism. The platform focuses on the theme of poverty with this second edition of the programme. According to Designplatform Rotterdam, almost every mass product is becoming part of global industrial processes. Should the designer be wondering what impact those processes have on growing wealth disparities on our planet? How can the designer relate to poverty that might result from design? Designers and publicists are encouraged to reflect meaningfully on the theme by means of writing assignments. The resulting essays will be discussed at four public sessions at partner locations in Den Bosch, Groningen, Hasselt and Rotterdam. During the sessions, recordings will be made for podcast episodes. The aim of the essays, sessions and podcasts is to stimulate design criticism in the Dutch-speaking world.

The Decaying Archive – Yassine Ben Abdallah

The Decaying Archive – Yassine Ben Abdallah
With the project The Decaying Archive, Yassine Ben Abdallah explores the multifaceted history of collecting, preserving and interpreting colonial objects in the context of the Western museum depot. Abdallah sees in the museum depot the potential for a new institutional place where monuments from a colonial past can be laid to rest: a possible necropolis. In this first phase of The Decaying Archive, Abdallah conducts a ‘forensic dissection’ of the Wereldmuseum Rotterdam’s depot. Abdallah is investigating what has got lost in the depot and how a necropolis could be created there. To do so, Abdallah is conducting on-site research into the museum’s infrastructure and collection, and is interviewing curators, researchers and experts from the Research Centre for Material Culture. With this first phase of research, Abdallah is laying a foundation for a depot installation at the Wereldmuseum in Rotterdam. The desired installation revolves around the question of how objects collected during colonial periods can help understand our colonial past and its repercussions in a postcolonial Netherlands and Europe.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.... Works from Thomas Thwaites – Stichting ICU2

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.... Works from Thomas Thwaites – Stichting ICU2
With Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow: Works from Thomas Thwaites, Zone2Source, a platform for art, nature and technology, invites designer Thomas Thwaites for an exhibition cum residency and workshop. Here, in the context of previous works, the project Harmless Car is being developed and presented. The exhibition brings together works by Thwaites and facilitates a workshop to work on the Harmless Car with the public. In this project, Thwaites starts from an impossible but logical ideal: designing a car that does no damage. The project raises questions about the role of ethics and care in design. During the residency, the process, the research with experts, material research, tests and other material will be turned into an installation, a video documentary, a performance lecture, a series of workshops and a book. The exhibition is open from 9 July to 10 September 2023 at the Glazen Huis in Amsterdam.

Dit Lichaam van Ons – Per August Pisters Møystad

Dit Lichaam van Ons – Per August Pisters Møystad
The project Dit Lichaam van Ons (This Body of Ours) is an initiative by comic-book creator Guus Møystad. Dit Lichaam van Ons is a creation of a comic-book anthology by nine different queer makers, in which the body plays the central thread. As an organizing metaphor, the body provides space for cerebral stories (head), emotional stories (heart), practical stories (hands) and stories that take the reader into the future (feet). With the project, Møystad aims to counteract the ageing of the comic-book industry and create a project led by young makers that encourages professionalization and creativity in the sector. Møystad also aims to increase the visibility of queer makers and create more inclusion and diversity within the Dutch comic-book world. The initiative gives the makers involved the chance to express themselves creatively and freely, including with ‘pulp’ topics. Besides artistic realization, the project aims to let the makers develop professional skills, for instance in management.

Click here for all the projects selected in Design in 2023.


Of the 94 subsidy applications taken into consideration, 31 are receiving grants. This brings the percentage of applications receiving grants to 37%. The budget for this, and the following rounds in 2023, has been increased from € 350,000 to € 450,000. The closing date for the next Design round is 16 August 2023.