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Open Call EXTENDED: Helsinki Design Residency 2019

Open Call EXTENDED: Helsinki Design Residency 2019 Luca Picardi

Luca Picardi

14 March 2019
by Parvinder Marwaha

We have extended the deadline for our Helsinki Design Residency until Monday 29 April 2019. Due to our website being down for the original deadline, we have decided to extend in order to give those of you unable to submit yesterday, a little more time. We look forward to receiving your applications.

Applications are now open to UK-based creative practitioners for our Helsinki Design Residency 2019 which will explore the theme The Melting Platform: Material Interactions. 

The British Council, in partnership with the Helsinki International Artist Programme(HIAP), Helsinki Design Week (HDW), Design Museum Helsinki (DM) and Strelka Institute, is seeking applications from practitioners to participate in a residency programme in Helsinki. This residency is for UK-based creative practitioners and researchers working at the intersections of design, architecture and art with an interest in critically investigating design as a cultural practice.

The programme will include two stays in Helsinki: a two-week research visit in May/June 2019, and a production and presentation period of one month in August and September that will overlap with HDW (5 – 15 September 2019).

The selected designer-in-residence, hosted by HIAP in Helsinki, will have an opportunity to create connections with local designers, curators, researchers, design experts and organisations. The designer will research and share the outcomes of their residency during Helsinki Design Week, and other supporting events both in Finland and potentially back in the UK. 

For the first time this year, the residency programme will bring together a total of three residents: a practitioner from the UK applying through this open call; a practitioner invited by Strelka Institute, Russia; and a Finland-based practitioner.

Residency Theme

The Melting Platform: Material Interactions

This year’s residency invites creative practitioners and researchers to explore the significance and changing purpose of materials and materiality at this critical moment, where ecological and technological transformations are changing the way we design.

The concept of ‘the melting platform’ asks you to consider the fluid nature of today’s world, where, potentially, we find the lines between us, materials and the environment (air, water, land) becoming increasingly blurred. How can design contribute to these interactions: human to material; existing to new material; physical to digital material (and vice versa); material to human?

Some possible questions to explore and consider within your proposal are:

- How can the distinctive landscapes and cultures of the UK and Finland inform new viewpoints through design?

- How do we define and explore a shared language within this complex and shifting socio-political context, where designers are negotiating new terms and processes in response? (e.g. bio-design, design in the age of the Anthropocene)

- Can we design for extreme environmental/ material shifts through speculative processes?


  • Applicants must be UK-based creative practitioners or researchers (design, architecture, fashion, design writing, curatorial and cross-disciplinary work);
  • Applicants should have a minimum of 2 years’/maximum of 10 years’ experience after graduation;
  • Applicants should demonstrate experience of creative practice and critical thinking;
  • Applicants should demonstrate experience in working collaboratively;
  • Applicants must be able to travel to Helsinki between: 28 May – 11 June and 16 August – 16 September 2019.

Previous Designers in Residence 

Laura Spring (2018) research focused on the ancient Finnish weaving technique Täkänä.

F͡RA̴UD̸  (2017) Artist duo Audrey Samson & Francisco Gallardo investigated the emerging material realm of carbon derivatives materials. 

Luca Picardi (2016) developed a project called ‘Familiar'; a design research publication exploring patterns of mimicry in urban regeneration projects across Europe. 

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

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

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

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


Read the full open call document here for details on how to apply, and send us your application by Monday 29 April 2019 23.59 GMT. 

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