Looking ahead to 2022

On the day that the Fund had planned to organize a New Year’s reception together with Het Nieuwe Instituut, as an alternative we look ahead to 2022 with executive director Syb Groeneveld. Once again this year, the COVID-19 pandemic will leave deep marks in society as well as in the creative and cultural sectors. What is the Fund going to do?

What ambitions does the Fund have for 2022?
Last year, we identified three priorities for the post-COVID period. Unfortunately, there is not much of that ‘post’ yet and in 2022, we will continue the themes we had for 2021:

- professionalization and commissioning;
- talent development;
- internationalization.

We are promoting the first theme of ‘professionalization and commissioning’ by connecting young designers with established agencies for an equal, temporary collaboration within the open calls for Building Talent. Through this programme, we stimulate deepening of the starting designer's practice and give an impulse to the exchange of ideas and knowledge between starting designers and established agencies.

Once again, we have been able to increase the number of grants within talent development in 2022, thanks to support from the government. At this time when it is more difficult for the young talents to ‘show’ themselves, this is extremely important. With the continuation of open calls such as Professionalization of the design practice and Research, Act & Reflect, talent development within and outside art education will remain an important focus for the Fund. Alongside involving makers who represent other perspectives on our society, and who are an important other voice in the field.

Finally, the new Grant Programme for Internationalization for the design sector was published, which will contribute in the coming period to developing, profiling and strengthening the international position of our sector. We hope and expect that in the spring much more will be possible internationally!

Apart from these three priorities, a great deal more is happening in 2022, of course. The basic grant schemes for design, architecture and digital culture continue unabated, and I am pleased to mention our grant scheme for festivals and exceptional presentations. We will make a total of one million euro available for this purpose in 2022 for the five different parts of the country, plus the Caribbean part of the Kingdom (with a budgetary division). I am very curious to see the results.

I believe that the use of (spatial) design research in the approach to the main transition challenges is fundamental. Syb Groeneveld, executive director

How do you see the connecting role of the creative industries in major societal challenges?
For years, we have been deploying the power of design within the Action Programme for Spatial Design on topics such as the future of the healthcare and educational environments. This can provide the new perspectives and new forms of imagination needed to tackle the challenges of today. That is why I believe that the use of (spatial) design research in the approach to the main transition challenges, which the new government also names in the coalition agreement, is fundamental. I was therefore surprised and delighted that the coalition agreement explicitly states that ‘the creative industry will be involved in major societal challenges’. At the same time, we recognize that the potential of (spatial) design research, or access to design power, is often not well enough known to local authorities across the country. For that reason, in 2021 we made available the vouchers for spatial design (again with additional support), so that local authorities and semi-public organizations can engage that design power with support from the Fund. By now, for a sum of almost 4 million euro, 130 collaborative projects have been supported, tackling such challenges as space for climate adaptation and energy transition, strong and healthy cities and regions, sustainable economy and the future-proof development of rural areas.

Just a word about the agility and resilience of the sector ... Any news about the innovationlabs?
Yes! The Innovationlabs programme is intended to give an impulse to resilience in the cultural and creative sectors. With an open call late last year, we invited makers and institutions to develop usable knowledge and working methods that benefit the agility and resilience of the entire sector. We were fairly overwhelmed by the number of applications (more than 180), which an interdisciplinary committee will be considering over the next two weeks. Together with CLICKNL and the other national culture funds, we will ensure in 2022 that the projects ultimately supported are clearly visible and that others can learn and benefit from them. Incidentally, the Fund was also flooded in another way ... On New Year's Day, a torrent of water came pouring into our office through an upper floor. The entire floor was flooded, and as a result we embarked on a small evaporation campaign to get the room dry again. We were already in a lockdown, but for the next month the Fund is really not accessible, unfortunately! It remains fantastic that a setback like this does not prevent all our colleagues and advisers from continuing to do our important work (remotely). That is also incredibly important agility and resilience!

So, we’re going to have a good year?
From today onwards, absolutely. On Wednesday, 31 August 2022, the Creative Industries Fund NL will celebrate its 10th anniversary. Together with all the makers and institutions we have seen far too little of live over the past two years. How? We don’t know exactly yet, but at least it won’t be digital!

And one very last piece of news:
Next Tuesday, 18 January, our new website will go online. Our communications team, together with Digital Natives and Studio van Onna, has worked very hard on this. The website will be more accessible, with a clearer overview of grant opportunities and more insight into project results. We are deliberately retaining our well-known visual identity and logo, but are particularly curious about how the user will experience the website in the near future ...

On behalf of all our colleagues at the Fund: here’s to a healthy and powerful 2022!