Scout nights – 12 talents selected

During four online Scout nights in early April, 40 young makers pitched their work to qualify for a grant from the Creative Industries Fund NL. Twelve of them were selected for the next round: each one of them makers with great potential and the ambition to let a different sound be heard in the cultural sector and beyond.

23 April 2020

This year, four scouts appointed for Talent Development managed to reach a large number of makers who have largely developed their own skills in their profession. The scouts were each linked to a city: Marian Duff scouted in Amsterdam, Meryem Slimani in Rotterdam, Jess Oberlin in Eindhoven and Saïd Belhadj in Utrecht. The Fund received 83 registrations for the scout nights. After selection, 40 makers were given the opportunity to pitch themselves and their emerging practices before a jury. Contrary to plan, this could not be done on location in the four different cities due to the COVID-19 restrictions. So instead, the 40 makers had short conversations with the jury members online. Twelve makers were selected for the next round and receive a grant of € 1,000 to draw up a development plan for the coming year. They will use this plan to apply for a working grant in the second round of the Talent Development Grant Programme.


The work of the makers who signed up for the Scout nights shows a great thematic diversity. Many of them do not recognize themselves at all, or only to a very limited extent, in the stories with which professional colleagues reach the media and which are generally told in the cultural sector. They observe a lack of diversity and are making it their aim to change this. In their work they focus, for example, on the (post)colonial (slavery) past of the Netherlands and the migration histories of different generations. The variety is striking: from the native inhabitants of South America to stories related to Amsterdam, Eindhoven, Indonesia, Aruba, Suriname and Curaçao. Another important theme is gender and sexual inclusiveness. A few applicants explicitly focus on the LGBTQIA+ and queer communities. Interestingly enough, many makers choose traditional media such as fashion, illustration or photography to give form to their story.

Grants officer Talent Development Sharvin Ramjan: 'It's very important that we, as Fund, reach this group of makers as well. They are much less visible in the cultural sector, but let a different sound be heard than the established order, and know how to bring other kinds of topical themes to the attention with their work.'

Online Scout Night Eindhoven


The twelve makers who were selected during the four Scout nights are: Jasper van Es (graffiti, curator), Bo Stokkermans (interdisciplinary), Ramla Malya (fashion), Khalid Amakran (photography, interdisciplinary), Inez Naomi Correa Alves (fashion), ILLM (typography, graphic), Studio Frances Ro (storytelling), Rikkert Paauw (spatial, interdisciplinary), Bird.Guy (illustration, graphic), JeanPaul Paula (photography, storytelling), Ali Esmali (virtual reality) and Fana Richters (interdisciplinary, fashion).

Each Scout night had its own jury. The jury members for Amsterdam were: Clayde Menso (director Amerpodia), Harriët Mbonjani (programme developer Eye Filmmuseum) and Angelique Hoorn (director Angelique Hoorn Management). For Rotterdam, the jury consisted of: Cye Wong-Loi Sing (senior developer Brand New Guys), Shehera Grot (curator Kunsthal) and Yassine Salihine (designer). In Eindhoven, Harm Rensink (designer and creative director New Order of Fashion), Pernilla Ellens (curator) and Tim Terpstra (director The Grey Space in the Middle) formed the jury. And in Utrecht, the jury consisted of: Ryan Oduber (designer and director Smaller World Bigger Eyes Media), Ramon Goedvree (co-founder and co-owner Kapitaal) and Lotte van Laatum (designer).

The juries were impressed by the quality of the applications. They observe that there are many practices that are not (yet) sufficiently recognized by the funds. In the selected applicants, they see a new generation of makers who have independently been able to develop a distinctive and relevant portfolio. They recognize in the makers significant potential for artistic development and look forward to seeing their further plans.

The juries note that a number of practices focus more on commercial or professional development. They also note that some applicants find it difficult to interpret and place their own practice within the cultural design field. For example, in many cases they see a lack of tangible research questions that will contribute to further artistic and substantive deepening or a vision on their own practice as a maker. Although they do not find this strange and see it more often in novice makers, they think it is important that this aspect receives an impetus. In general, the juries advise the participants to develop their portfolios further, in particular to create new work, and to keep questioning themselves critically.


The development plans will be evaluated in the second round on 7 and 8 July by the advisory committee of the Talent Development Grant Programme, together with the plans from makers selected in the first round as part of the regular procedure. In the second round, the committee will select a maximum of 35 makers who will receive a talent development grant of € 24,000 from the Fund.


The Creative Industries Fund NL issued its first Open Call Scout nights in 2019. The scout nights are specifically intended for designers and makers who have not followed or completed regular art education. In this way, the Fund enables designers and makers from different social, economic and cultural backgrounds to develop further artistically and professionalize their design practice. In 2019 two scout nights were held, in Rotterdam and Amsterdam. The number has been increased to four this year; besides Rotterdam and Amsterdam there were also scout nights in Utrecht and Eindhoven. As a result of the COVID-19 measures, the scout nights had to take place online. The Fund is happy that the evenings were able to take place in an alternative form, although this was unfortunately at the expense of the vibrant and inspiring atmosphere that characterized the Scout nights last year.