Open Call Self Design Academy

Open Call Self Design Academy

Deadline Sunday 28 June, 5pm.


a project by MU and Image Society

MU Hybrid Art House and Image Society are inviting designers and artists to send in proposals for the first Self Design Academy, to open this fall at MU.

From self-malleability and self-realisation to selfcare and self-reliance, a good life seems to begin and end with a well-functioning self. A flourishing self-help industry is more than happy to assist us with books, workshops, courses and inspirational quotes. At the same time, our existence is determined by hyperrealities like climate change, mass migration, big data, and now a pandemic, that we as individuals can’t comprehend, leave alone influence. But can we at least try to understand our self? Can we start at a small level, with the I?

Self Design turns design practice inwards and takes a look at the self beyond the selfie culture. How can/shall/should we re-design our selves in view of the inescapable and drastically changing realities we live in? How can design processes help to develop alternative ways of being, in relation to the other(s)?

We are searching for exciting, intimate, beautiful, extravert and introvert, moving, edgy, confronting projects that help us understand and experience what Self Design is or can be.
Because the Self Design Academy aims to integrate the real and virtual self as closely as possible, each work should come to live both in real life and online. Works that actively engage the audience in designing the self, have our special attention.

Get inspired by the introduction to Mieke Gerritzen’s book Help Yourself, which will be launched during the Self Design Academy, and send us your proposal.

Deadline for submissions is Sunday 28 June 2020 at 5.00pm
Proposals can be sent by email, in PDF (8 MB maximum), to [link]

• A development budget will be available for each selected project. This can vary from 1500 to 3000 Euro per project, a third of which represents the fee while the remaining amount is meant for realisation, materials and production. The size of the budget will be determined by the curators.
• MU could provide technical support (both physical and digital) in many cases, but only in close consultation with the curators.

A project plan consists of:
• a concise and clear description of the work (not longer than one A4), both of its physical appearance and its online experience.
• a statement that details why you believe this work fits within the Self Design Academy and how you would like to develop it further within this experimental context, preferably in collaboration with the audience.
• Because many proposals might be based on existing work that can be adapted to engage the public both off- and online, additional images or intelligible sketches that visualise possible adjustments can be provided (to a maximum of 3 A4s).
• a short explanation about the envisioned work process and the estimated budget. The eventual size of the budget is determined by the curators.

Conditions for participation are:
• you are living or working in the Netherlands or Europe and either trained at/graduated from an acknowledged art/design college or academy; or you can be self-taught with at least five years of demonstrable work experience in the creative industries or art world. 

• You are willing and able to assist in the installation of your work (preferably physically, or if there is no other option, by written and online instructions) in the week preceding the opening on 18 September 2020.
• if the work calls for someone to be present for optimal audience engagement, especially during Dutch Design Week, you are prepared to oversee it personally or through delegated persons.

Within 10 days following the deadline of application on June 28, curators Mieke Gerritzen and Angelique Spaninks will make a preliminary selection from all submissions received.
The selected makers will be contacted as soon as possible to discuss the work, any adjustments, realisation and the necessary budget.

The eventual presentation of the work within the frame of the Self Design Academy Space will take place in MU.
The opening is on Friday evening 18 September, and the exhibition will run until 8 November 2020. This means that the Self Design Academy can also be experienced during Dutch Design Week 2020.
In concurrence with the opening of the physical exhibition, the online Self Design Academy Site will be launched as an open platform that will continue to exist past 8 November.
Closely linked to both the off- and online Academy, we will develop a Self Design Academy Share programme of webinars, workshops and talks, which can be followed at MU and on the site as well, depending on the corona measures in place at that time. Ideas about how your proposal might contribute to this programme are also welcome, but not required.

Click here for the Open Call in PDF

More information:
If you have any questions regarding the Self Design Academy or the procedure, please call Angelique Spaninks +31 (0)6 5336 2874 or send an email to