Design Futures Lab — Call for Applications!

Electric South
7 min readDec 9, 2021


Do you want to create an immersive digital story about sustainable fashion? Read on for more information on the Design Futures Lab which will take place in Cape Town in March 2022!

Design Futures Lab 2022 Official Header

Have you got a sustainable fashion story you want told in an immersive digital format? Electric South, Twyg Magazine and Crossover Labs are excited to invite dynamic creative technologists and digital storytellers to apply for the Design Futures Lab 2022.

This creative economy project, supported by the British Council #SouthernAfricaArts, offers South African content creators an opportunity to develop experiential, provocative and immersive digital narratives about sustainable fashion and design. These narratives will help shape kinder, earth-friendly futures.

● We are looking for nine teams of two artists each (18 artists in total).

● The successful candidates will be supported and mentored in sustainable fashion practices and in using new immersive digital technologies.

Each team will be awarded a grant of R75,000 to develop their digital prototype/proof of concept ideas.

● Application form is here.

● All Coronavirus COVID-19 protocols will be adhered to throughout the Lab.

Open call for the Design Futures Lab 2022

About the Lab

● The programme will include both a sustainable fashion workshop and a digital lab that will challenge successful candidates to explore and expand their digital production skills in XR (extended reality).

● Using new creative technologies and software, international distribution channels and exhibition platforms, the lab will facilitate access to new markets for sustained livelihoods.

What we will do

● Bringing together education, experimentation, exploration and play to support young creatives to bring their ideas into the immersive space.

● Partner with both local and international experts, guest speakers and market access professionals to set our participants up in an environment that promotes curiosity, collaboration and creativity.

● The Design Futures programme will fully cover domestic travel, accommodation and meals for participants based outside of Cape Town for the in-person Lab.

When does the Lab take place?

Virtually from 14–18 March 2022 (max. 2hrs/day).

In-person from 23–25 March 2022 in Cape Town (full-time).

Market access feedback will take place virtually from June — November 2022.

All Coronavirus COVID-19 protocols will be adhered to throughout the Lab.

Who can apply?

Applicants must:

  1. Be 18 years or older.
  2. Submit in pairs, with one concept (two creatives per concept).
  3. Be citizens or permanent residents of South Africa.
  4. Currently live in South Africa and able to travel on the days required.
  5. Have some form of experience in a creative technology field. Experience in fashion, design, creative technology and game development would be wonderful.
  6. Be willing to complete self-directed African Creative Economy course work up to Intermediate Level. Link found here.
  7. Attend all components of the Design Futures Lab.

How to apply

The application form requires that you:

  1. Tell us about yourselves (including a short 1 minute introductory clip).
  2. Tell us about your interest in the Lab and what you would like to learn.
  3. Tell us about XR projects that inspire the concept you will be submitting.
  4. Tell us about your creative practices.
  5. Tell us about your XR idea — Your idea should express the experiential and provocative narratives around the area of sustainable fashion practices and climate address, as well as how you want to integrate technology.
  6. Include the XR idea’s concept creative materials — this must include links to visual or audio references. This could be a mood board, compilation of work that inspires you, etc. We want to understand your aesthetic intentions for your XR idea.

Projects ideas must:

  1. Be a digital prototype/proof of concept with experiential and provocative narratives around themes of sustainable fashion practices along the entire value chain (from soil to landfill) and which address issues pertaining to the environment, the climate crisis and to earth-friendly and regenerative solutions.
  2. Use immersive technologies, such as Virtual Reality (VR) or Augmented Reality (AR). This could include 360 filmmaking, volumetric capture, worldbuilding, interactive worlds, avatar creation, animation, artificial intelligence, projection mapping, hybrid forms, and beyond.

Important dates

· Please complete and submit this form by 11.59pm SAST on 31 January 2022.

· All successful applicants will be notified by 18 February 2022.

· The Design Futures Lab will run virtually from 14–18 March 2022 (max. 2 hrs/day), and in-person from 23–25 March 2022 in Cape Town (full-time).

· Each team must complete their digital prototype/proof of concept by 31 May 2022.

· Market access feedback will run virtually from May — November 2022.

Any questions?

Please contact and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

Note: All applicants who aspire towards entrepreneurship in creative industries like fashion, music, film, photography and digital arts are being offered the chance to join an e-learning programme launched by the British Council. This forms part of a collection of free courses for the next generation of African leaders to support them through their creative business journey. All Successful Applicants will be required to complete this self-directed course work up to Intermediate Level. Link found here.

The partners

Electric South has an award-winning track record in producing storytelling expressed in an immersive format. We run labs and workshops for creators, demonstrating cutting edge work and growing their practical skill set. We provide ongoing creative and technical mentorship to our artists in production. We regularly exhibit work and give talks at local and international festivals and events to evangelize new digital immersive media. Through our digital platforms, we share knowledge, tools and resources. Our aim is to grow the ecosystem of artists using new immersive technologies for storytelling in Africa and to facilitate collaborative information exchanges on the African continent. Electric South, a non-profit providing support and mentorship to digital visual storytellers, will implement a 3-day in-person lab in Cape Town. The focus will be on developing digital prototype/proof of concept ideas inspired by Twyg’s sustainable fashion workshops. Electric South will explore a number of different creative approaches including 360 filmmaking, volumetric capture, worldbuilding, avatar creation, and augmented reality.

Twyg is a content platform that creates stories and events to support a transition to sustainable living. One of its projects, the Twyg Sustainable Fashion Awards connects the consumer market to sustainable fashion designers with the aim to grow and green the fashion industry in South Africa. With partners Luleke Zepe in Khayelitsha and Refashion Lab, Twyg is experimenting with new markets and business models that involve recycling, upcycling, mending and secondhand clothes. Twyg also partners with Afrika Tikkun, a youth employment agency, which is committed to positively impacting South Africa for the long term. For the Design Futures Lab, Twyg is designing a series of virtual workshops about sustainability, decoloniality and regeneration as it relates to growing, making, wearing and wasting of fashion in South Africa. By challenging the participants to reflect on the fashion industry, Twyg will introduce ideas that will germinate stories about the future of fashion.

Crossover Labs, are immersive media specialists, experts in the curation and creation of cutting-edge projects that combine technical innovation and storytelling. We like to collaborate with artists and technologists to present immersive, interactive work that will resonate with audiences around the world. Our series of eight live cinema documentaries combine stunning archive footage from the past century with contemporary soundtracks composed by popular musicians. In our Labs, Crossover works with top industry mentors, incorporating design thinking and bespoke methodologies in order to encourage meaningful collaborations between different creative artists and technologists. We run workshops on Immersive Media development, VR and 360 video production and photogrammetry. Our workshops focus on the development of project ideas centred on story and audience development and routes to market. Crossover Labs will facilitate market access and feedback. All selected concepts will gain access to South African and UK markets with a keen focus on grants, funding and festival strategies.

The British Councils Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) Arts programme works in the diverse and varied countries of Sub-Saharan Africa and the U.K. Individually, each country and art sector has much to offer and exchange — collectively they tell multi-layered stories of contemporary Sub-Saharan Africa and the U.K. Our arts programmes are underpinned by research, focused on young people, and are committed to; Supporting the creation of new art and sharing this art to audiences both online and in-person, sharing skills and knowledge between creative communities in the countries of SSA and the U.K and Creating new connections between young people. Our programmes are delivered by partners (artists, arts professionals, arts organisations, collectives, hubs) who have the vision and understanding of their creative communities and are best placed to lead and tell the stories of their local art sectors. With our partners, we stimulate new ways of connecting with and understanding each other through the arts. Design Futures Lab 2022 forms part of our Creative Economy programme in South Africa and aims to support young creatives with skills, opportunities, and knowledge that they need to build sustainable creative enterprises, build rich and provocative digital content and facilitate greater access to markets.

Any questions?

Please contact and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.



Electric South

Funding, incubating and exhibiting the work of African creators - focused on innovative digital visual storytelling, VR, mobile and non-fiction.

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