We are the people – Open Call for artists

Can art catalyze change?

The Social Art Award 2019

(For post in Arabic click here.)

Social Art Award 2019

Be it Hong Kong, Chile, Lebanon, Iraq, Brazil there are burning conflicts in the world right now, where people stand up peacefully united  for their rights, their freedom, their present and their future. Looking back in history, 30 years ago in 1989, it has been the united will of East Germans that made the impossible come true. They made the wall come down to reunite to one country. Power to the people, power to unity and solidarity, power to peaceful revolutions.

What does art have to say in times of transformation? How do social artists empower, cherish, and support peaceful solidarity? Does art have the power to catalyse change, peaceful revolutions and positive futures? Where does art take place? What forms of art are created? Where do we stand on together, get inspired and empowered, and appreciate the freedom of art and the spirit of humanity? Can art give us hope to believe in ourselves? How can art contribute and empower peaceful revolutions through the people? 

In the same time as people stand up peacefully, there are powerful people who try to fight such movements of change by manipulating the public opinion through their influence on media and their military power. Too many times peaceful protesters are confronted by violence used against them. Thus, the award aims on contributing to a non-manipulated visibility for non-violent change makers. To push this even further, we search with this year’s edition for a global symbol for peaceful revolutions. So anyone, wherever in the world can show their support and commitment for non-violent change. Let us join forces to create a global movement of peaceful revolutions for positive futures!

The Social Art Award 2019 targets two categories:

Category 1 is fully open, looking for the most impactful contributions to “We are the people – catalyzing peaceful revolutions through the power of the many”

Category 2 looks for the most impactful global symbol (a visual logo) for peaceful revolutions enabling anyone to show their commitment for non-violent change. Best would be an option that communities can localize/ co-brand with their flag or movement visual, thus, it can be targeted as their specific local movement, yet showing solidarity with the global movement of peaceful change makers.

Please note: The Call for Application was closed on December 15, 2019.

Why Social Art and the Award?

Social Art is the artistic expression that aims at creating social impact and change. This definition delineates the intention of the artist as crucial. Art engages in questioning and rethinking existing systems and paradigms. Artists are visionaries, utopists, agents for change, with the ability to affect society by creating emotionally captivating experiences. It is aesthetic revolution that preludes societal revolution.

Thus, the goal of the Social Art Award is to invigorate the rise of social art. We need more people to create impact and to inspire change, even if this approach dissents from the widely claimed autonomy of art. The award explores and clusters this field, and seeks to raise attention for social art. Furthermore, the award aims at strengthening the recognition of social artists and the value of their work. Hence, it cherishes the importance of social art for society. All artists and cultural actors are invited to apply with their work they consider relevant for the field of social art. There are no restrictions based on gender, training or nationality.

The selection process

The leading judgment criteria for the Social Art Award is the strength of the artwork to create impact in regard of the topic “We are the people – Catalyzing peaceful revolutions through the power of the many”. Thus, we look for engaging artworks that reach people, unfolding their potential to stand up for their rights, their freedom and their future – Artworks that trigger peaceful solidarity and the unity of people.

For Category 1, the jury identifies the best contributions through a three-stage selection process. First, the jury does a preselection of 50 artists based on their artwork contributions. These will be published in the book “We are the people – The Social Art Award 2019”. At the next stage, the jury nominates a shortlist of 10 projects out of the 50. Additionally, 2 wild cards enter the shortlist based on public online voting. Finally, the jury selects the 3 winning artists from the 12 shortlisted finalists.

For Category 2, the vote is purely to the public!

Stage 1 of the public voting will be opened on December 20 and be closed December 28, 2019, stage 2 from December 29 till December 31, 2019.

Winners will be announced on December 31, 2019!

Prizes and Award

  1. The winner receives 1.000 Euro in prize money.
  2. The three selected winners for the exhibition present their artwork in Berlin, Germany in Spring 2020.
  3. The Top 50 artworks will receive additional exposure through a touring exhibition raising awareness for peaceful revolutions. Already assigned locations: Lebanon, Serbia, Hungary, Chile, Brazil, Spain, Austria, Finland, Germany. If you like to host an exhibition between March and September 2020, reach out to us.)
  4. The 10+2 shortlisted artists will receive a professional feedback by jury.
  5. The 50 artists of the preselection will be published in the official award book.

About the Award Organizer

The Institute for Art and Innovation e.V. is a multidisciplinary institute that explores and promotes art and innovation as a means to foster social impact and change. For this purpose the institute established the Social Art Award. The accompanying book supports the spread and recognition of Social Art, the artists and their work. Furthermore, the institute undertakes research, training, production and exchange. The Institute for Art and Innovation e.V. is an independent, not-for-profit, non-governmental organization based in Berlin, Germany.

As Berliners we believe in the power of the many to lead peaceful revolutions. While our own revolution happened 30 years ago, we see the urgency of supporting global change makers in their quests for most needed fundamental, yet peaceful changes. This is why we dedicated this year’s topic of the Social Award towards showing solidarity and supporting peaceful, non-violent revolution by the people that care about their rights, their freedom, their present and their future. Can art catalyze positive change?


This year’s award is realized in collaboration with Peace of Art, a humanitarian organization & Fine Arts Academy located in North-Beeka, Lebanon. Peace of Art is the first arts academy in their region and is fully committed to support the local community through the power of art. Through their work they have been able to reduce aggression and drug-abuse by the young generation and support the integration process of Syrian refugees. They are an active contributor to the peaceful resistance against corruption in Lebanon. Yet, they face serious threads through the current government which wishes to shut down all local NGO activities. Their local bank account is frozen and local media is trying to manipulate the public opinion against the peaceful change makers. Thus, this is why Peace of Art joints the Social Art Award project as a means of spreading the message of a peaceful, non-violent revolution by the people that care about their rights, their freedom, their present and their future. They especially look forward to a joint visual logo/ symbol to express the commitment to peace in a way that does not allow the media to manipulate it, and as a way to show solidarity with the global movement!

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