Design – 42 projects selected

In the first Design round of 2024, 42 applications have been selected. Tibor Bijl, Design coordinator, reflects on the round.

23 May 2024

general impression

It is notable that a relatively large number of proposals were received this round for artistic research, starting from the inner world of the applicant. Drawing on personal urgency or observation, these projects identify societal challenges and subsequently look for new perspectives. Polarization is a common theme here. Applicants are responding to the oppositive views in the political and social debate or want to use design to counter polarization (and the corresponding strong images involved). In addition, many of the proposals are concerned with increasing our ecological awareness: ranging from exploring the relationship between humans and nature, which explicitly includes non-human perspectives, to investigating opportunities to make disciplines, chains or materials more sustainable.

Sharing knowledge and experiences remains underexposed in many of the projects, while it is crucial to strengthening the broad design field. The projects that do address this reflect clearly on how the proposal is part of a discourse and on the expected contribution of the project to the professional field.


The available budget was not sufficient to award a grant to all positively assessed applications. As a result, the advisory committee had to prioritize. The procedure used is described in the Design Grant Scheme. A few notable projects from this round’s selection are:

Compost as Superfood

The project Compost as superfood is a continuation of an earlier project by design studio masharu studio (Dubbelbeeld) and stems from its interest in the social, ecological and scientific relationships between the ground we live on and the food that keeps us alive. The project explores how to produce a product from soil that can be safely consumed. In this way, the project aims to open the discussion on the food safety of edible nature. Key questions include: how do we cultivate a greater understanding of the many microorganisms, such as bacteria, fungi and yeasts, that contribute to a healthy microbiome? And can the creation of a new type of soil, in which various types of organisms can flourish, lead to a new superfood?

Uncensor it

Uncensor it is a research project by designer Nienke Helder and developers Katia Khudzhankulova and Nastasia Zhivaeva into the influence of algorithms on sex education and sexuality in general. Together they are working on a tool that replaces certain words with symbols to bypass the so-called shadow bans of social platforms. A shadow ban arises from the use of visual algorithms to exclude images on these platforms of, for example, nipples and sex toys, as well as vocabulary relating to sex. With the tool, Helder, Khudzhankulova and Zhivaeva aim to provide assistance in creating and distributing accessible content on social media for sex-education purposes. The aim of the research project is to question the role and ethics of technology by designing a tool that breaks through censorship and contributes to a sexually healthy society.

Het Suriname schrift

Het Suriname schrift is an investigation by graphic designer Thomas Bunt into the possibilities for a fusion of the indigenous Surinamese Afaka script and the Latin script. The Afaka script is on the list of Endangered Alphabets and, according to Bunt, the disappearance of the script encourages Dutch slavery history to be forgotten or even ignored. With the starting grant, Bunt is conducting literature research into the origins, history and context of the Afaka script. In addition, Afaka characters are being digitized and analyzed to identify typographical similarities and characteristics.

Methodologies of migration

Methodologies of migration is a research project by Ishani Chatterjee that investigates immigration in the context of the Netherlands, specifically focusing on ‘highly skilled migrant artists and designers’ who choose to be self-employed. Every year, hundreds of international students (from outside the EU and EEA) graduate from art academies in the Netherlands. But what happens after they graduate? Drawing from personal experiences, Chatterjee highlights and nuances the challenges involved in the transition these students go through as they develop into independent makers. The start-up phase of the project consists of several components, including data collection, exchanging different perspectives, and interviews with researchers, artists and educational and governmental institutions dealing with these issues.

Click here for all the projects selected under the Design Grant Scheme in 2024.


Of the 109 subsidy applications taken into consideration, 42 are receiving grants. This brings the percentage of applications receiving grants to 38.5%. The budget available for this round was € 575,000.

next round

The upcoming closing date of the Design Grant Scheme is 24 September 2024.

Photo above: Hanno van Zyl