Upstream: Music x Design – 7 projects selected

Seven extremely different proposals have been selected by the Upstream: Music x Design committee. Coordinator Sean Gilis reflects on the first round of this year.

25 May 2020

general impression

The latest Upstream: Music x Design round had a great diversity of applications. Whereas in the rounds of 2019 – the year the Upstream: Music x Design grant programme was launched – the Fund mainly received applications for crossovers with music and digital culture/technology, the number of crossovers with design has now noticeably increased. For instance, The Irrational Library and illustrator TRIK are collaborating on the presentation of the third album by The Irrational Library We... are doomed (Pragmatic Propaganda) and VJ, scenographer and media artist Frouke ten Velden will design a multimedia scenography in co-creation with a composer and choreographer.

In terms of musical movements, the selected proposals also show great diversity. From underground circuit to new (classical) music, and from the electronic music scene to traditional pop music: the practices of the makers and artists relate to a variety of genres and/or subcultures. There is also great diversity in terms of experience. Projects by both young talents and more established makers have been selected by the advisory committee.

To give an idea of the breadth of the projects supported in this round:

Eefje de Visser x Nick Verstand
Singer-songwriter Eefje de Visser and artist Nick Verstand are working together on a project to develop a live show that combines music, choreography and scenography. The scenography consists of a large reflector suspended from three computer-controlled hoists, and a series of lights that follow it exactly to reflect the light to targeted spots. The intensity of the light is controlled in real time by the amplitude of Eefje de Visser's voice. This creates a lively image where light and sound merge together.

Heritage Studio
The focus of the new Heritage Studio platform is on Dutch-based makers and artists with roots in the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa). In their search for their own artistic identity, makers with this background are often still reduced within the Western context to their cultural background and associations, according to initiator (A)WAKE. But it is precisely in the nightlife scene, where these artists, regardless of their background, are engaged in, for example, progressive techno that these occidental obstacles disappear. Reason enough to investigate this further. For this application, visual artist Salim Bayri and DJ/artist Fatima Ferrari are working together to create a live performance.

De Tendens

De Tendens is a multidisciplinary collaboration in which video art, rap, dance and visual design come together in the form of a video installation. Artist Seán Hannan observes a tendency in which art and rap music are increasingly looking for stronger ties. The aim of De Tendens is to bring these two forms closer together by elevating the music video itself to a higher art form. The result is a multichannel video artwork where all the media come together. This project is a collaboration between curator Vincent van Velsen, stylist Ogenda ter Haar, rapper Jiiggy Djé (Vincent Patty), sound and performance artist Otion (Guillermo Blinker), director Ruwan Heggelman and Seán Hannan.

Click here for all the selected projects in Upstream: Music x Design round 1 – 2020.


The budget available for this round was € 167,500. As the total of the requested amounts of the positively evaluated proposals exceeded the available budget for the round, prioritization was necessary. Ultimately 7 of the 13 subsidy applications processed received grants. This brings the percentage of applications receiving grants to 54%.

next deadline and covid-19

For the next deadline on Wednesday, 9 September 2020, the committee is once again looking for projects in which an interesting application or crossover with technology, design or visual culture is being pursued. In view of the COVID-19 crisis, we expect applicants to demonstrate a sense of reality and respond to current events in their submitted proposals. Ideas and concepts can be discussed by telephone or e-mail with the team behind this grant programme: Sean Gilis and Ibrahim Alaoui Chrifi.