How do you select new design talent?

On 10 February 2021, the Talent Development Grant Programme's annual deadline expired for qualifying for a 2021-2022 talent development grant. A total of 200 portfolios were submitted by diverse, talented makers and designers. But the answer to who is getting the opportunity to develop both artistically, professionally and as a cultural entrepreneur in the coming year remains uncertain for a while. We talk about the follow-up procedure with Marieke Ladru, Talent Development programme manager at Creative Industries Fund NL.

11 februari 2021

Every year, you receive a substantial number of applications, but who decides who is eligible for the coveted one-year talent development grant?
The number of portfolios that we receive annually for the talent development grant is much larger than we can honour. As a result, we have to make an astute selection. To do this, we work with an advisory committee. Because the portfolios can be subdivided into more than 20 sub-disciplines, this is no easy task. Each adviser on the committee must have knowledge of several sub-disciplines and their specific contexts – one of the reasons why, with nine members, the Talent Development advisory committee is the largest within the Fund.

You can see here who has a seat on the Talent Development advisory committee.

What role do the scout nights play?
The scout nights were created in 2019 for makers and designers who have developed a working practice without having completed a relevant design study. We see that these designers and makers, often with different backgrounds, bring in other themes such as gender, identity, colonization/decolonization and racism. For them, we organize four scout nights parallel to the first round of the regular procedure. Four scouts – Marian Duff, Meryem Slimani, Jess Oberlin and Saïd Belhadj – select 15 makers from these applications per scout night who get the chance to present themselves to a jury. Subsequently, 5 makers are selected during the same scout night, so 20 in total who can participate in the follow-up phase of the whole procedure. If you are interested in one of the scout nights, please sign up by 24 February 2021.

What does this follow-up phase involve?
Everyone selected by the advisory committee or through the scout nights is asked to prepare a development plan, in which they explain their plans for the coming year. What are you going to focus on specifically? What are you hoping to explore that you haven't had the time or resources to do yet? Who do you want to involve? And how will you share your work? The artistic quality is of course paramount. Each development plan should present an artistically strong and promising profile, within its own sub-discipline but also in relation to the design field and society as a whole. Based on these development plans, and of course the criteria applicable to the grant programme, the final selection for the 50 available development grants for 2021-2022 is made. So it is back to the advisory committee again.

Wat hoop je te kunnen onderzoeken waarvoor je tot nog toe geen tijd of middelen had?

The final selection for the 50 development grants will be announced in September 2021, in public. All applicants who have submitted a development plan will at any rate receive individual feedback. I know from experience that if you don't make the final selection, it's not the end of the world. There's more than one way of achieving your goal, and you can always try to submit a portfolio again a year later. Or you can explore the Fund's other support options once your four-year term after graduation has passed.

When is the next closing date?
9 February 2022 is the closing date of the new round for the Talent Development Grant Programme.