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Helsinki Design Residency: Open Call 2016

Helsinki Design Residency: Open Call 2016  Teresa Dillon talk in Helsinki - Photo by Aino Salmi / Architecture Information Centre Finland

Teresa Dillon talk in Helsinki - Photo by Aino Salmi / Architecture Information Centre Finland

11 January 2016
by Gian Luca Amadei

The British Council, in partnership with the Helsinki International Artist Programme (HIAP), the Helsinki Design Week (HDW) and Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture is seeking applications from practitioners to participate in a residency programme in Helsinki which will coincide with the HDW (1 - 11 September 2016).

This residency was first established in 2012 during the World Design Capital programme in Helsinki. This residency is for UK-based practitioners, who work at the intersections of art, design and architecture, and who have an interest in critical investigations and interventions into what constitutes design innovation.

The 2016 Residency 

This year’s residency will take place in two phases:

Research Visit: 9 – 22 May 2016. This first part will give the selected designer in residence the opportunity to observe and engage with the local design context as well as establish contacts with the Aalto University in the context of the Aalto Festival (9-22 May) as well as local practices, institutions and organisations.

Project Development: 1 - 30 September 2016. This second part will coincide with the HDW (1 – 11 September 2016) and will provide an opportunity to consolidate the initial studies (carried out during the research visit in May) into a project proposal.  


Helsinki is currently undergoing a phase of growth and change that will affect its makeup and context in the coming years. This context provides a fresh opportunity to research, understand and challenge the relationships between design practices, urban space, through re-imagining materials, production processes, services and crafts. 

Criteria for eligibility to apply:

  • Applicants must be UK-based practitioners (design, architecture, fashion, design writing, curatorial and cross disciplinary work)
  • Applicants should have a minimum of 2 years/maximum of 10 years’ experience.
  • Applicants should demonstrate design excellence, skill and experience of small-scale creative
  • Projects created in collaboration with others.
  • Applicants must be able to travel to Helsinki between 9-22 May and 1 – 30 September 2016.

Further details on the Residency and on how to apply can be found on the Open Call document. 

The closing date for submissions is Sunday 14 February 2016.

Previous Designers in Residence

Julia Tcharfas (2012) responded to the residency theme Embedding Design in Life with a sound composition titled 'Eco-System'. 

Tzortzis Rallis (2013) explored Helsinki graphic design scene on the theme of Public Acts / Quiet Riot.  

Tobias Revell (2014) offered a critical view into the design community in Helsinki based on the theme Take the Leap. 

Teresa Dillon (2015) researched into future plans for the city of Helsinki and proposed free-to-use urban hut to be used by future tourists visiting the city.