Storytelling Through Augmented Reality (AR) Workshops and Grants: Call for Applications

Electric South
6 min readApr 22, 2022


Are you an interdisciplinary artist who has an interest in civic journalism, digital advocacy, internet democracy and social justice? Are you based in Nairobi, Kampala or Dar es Salaam and want to add Augmented Reality (AR) to your current creative practice?

Electric South, BlackRhino VR, Ona Stories and The Ford Foundation invite artists and technologists who are exploring issues around civic or social issues and digital storytelling to apply for the “Storytelling through AR Workshops.”


The “Storytelling through AR Workshops” will take place over the course of two days in three cities across East Africa.

In each city, ten to fifteen interdisciplinary artists will engage in discussions and exercises, familiarising themselves with some key AR tools in order to think creatively about how AR can serve artistic practice. All meals during the workshop will be provided by the organisers.

$10 000 (USD) in micro-grants will be awarded to artists to develop their creative projects. Artists will retain ownership of all work developed at the workshop and/or with grant funds.


Applicants must be:

  1. Citizens or permanent residents of Kenya, Uganda or Tanzania
  2. Currently living in the city where the workshops take place (Nairobi, Kampala or Dar es Salaam)
  3. Accomplished in an artistic field. Any creative discipline is welcome
  4. Experience in a creative technology field is preferred but not required


The last day to submit is Tuesday, May 17, 2022. All successful applicants will be notified by Friday, May 27, 2022.

  • The workshop will run in Nairobi, Kenya on Wednesday, June 8 and Thursday, June 9, 2022
  • The workshop will run in Kampala, Uganda on Monday, June 13 and Tuesday, June 14, 2022.

The workshop will run in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on Friday June 17 and Saturday June 18, 2022.

Apply now


Who should apply?

We are looking for creative explorers who have an established body of work in their respective crafts. Successful applicants are curious and collaborative, have an experimental approach to their work and strive for excellence in their execution. We are very open to many different creative mediums, from fine arts to filmmaking to game design to photography to theatre, and more. The workshop is not for first timers or emerging artists.

We encourage applicants from identities that have been historically under supported or underrepresented within the fields of documentary and technology to apply.

What happens after the workshop?

We have up to $10 000 (USD) in micro-grants available for a select number of AR projects. Artists will retain full ownership of any work that is produced during the workshop and/or with grant funds.

We also offer a menu of support for our lab alumni, which may include producing, creative and technical consultation, mentorship, industry networking, equipment loans, distribution, and more.

Artists who’ve partnered with Electric South, BlackRhino VR and Ona Stories have gone on to produce immersive work, and many continue to explore emerging and immersive media in their current practice.

Where can I find out more about this industry?

You can join our mailing list here, and follow us at @electric_south on Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Medium / LinkedIn. We regularly post opportunities for artists in Africa, as well as updates about the creative technology landscape.

Tips for a successful application

  1. Research — read up about the medium you are interested in working in. Check out some of the work if you can or watch videos about it online.
  2. We don’t expect you to have already worked with a new technology that you’re interested in exploring. But we do want you to consider why this medium is relevant to the particular story you want to tell, and why AR is of interest to your own craft. This is why the research element is so important.
  3. We already know immersive technologies are cool. You don’t need to explain what VR and/or AR is to us. We are more interested in WHY a particular tool is interesting to you and your artistic practice.


Electric South is a non-profit company based in Cape Town, South Africa. We provide mentorship, production services, funding and exhibition for a network of artists across Africa to explore their worlds through immersive, interactive stories including virtual and augmented reality, and other digital media. To date we’ve produced immersive experiences that have premiered at various global festivals and exhibition spaces including Venice VR Expanded, Sundance New Frontier, IDFA DocLab, Transmediale, Sheffield DocFest, Centre Phi, MUTEK and vNAF (virtual National Arts Festival of South Africa). We remain committed to building inclusive spaces for immersive media creators in Africa.

Established in 2015, BlackRhino VR is an award-winning Kenyan-based eXtended Reality (XR) agency located in Nairobi. We specialise in creating bespoke Virtual & Augmented Reality content and solutions that are adaptable and relevant to the African market with a global appeal. We connect consumers, businesses and organisations to rich, immersive experiences.

As early XR adopters, we hold a peculiar vision of designing, democratising, demystifying and deploying what XR and new emerging technologies will look like and how they will impact communities.

To change perceptions and behaviour through XR.

To provide unique branded experiences in an extraordinary new and refreshing way.

To equip the African youth to be the XR Innovators, Inventors and storytellers of the future.

Ona Stories Group is Tanzania’s leading storytelling and emerging technologies company. We pioneered Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and AI media in the country.

We have worked with the largest organisations and the most passionate individuals. Like CRDB Bank, Vodacom, UNESCO, UNCDF, WFP, the World Bank Group, Embassies and many more — helping them find and tell their stories well. To change minds, win hearts or do both!

Lorna Okeng is a creative & cultural technologist and systems thinker with a deep interest in technology experimentation; committed to a career in Africa’s futurism, cultural diplomacy and new frontiers of storytelling. With over 8 years of experience working with emerging technology companies, Lorna’s work sits at the intersection of art, culture and tech with a focus on strengthening the tech-art creative ecosystem in Africa.


Stephen Kimani is a creative technologist currently working at BlackRhino VR based in Nairobi, Kenya. He specialised in Interactive Media Design at the Technical University of Kenya and started out as a designer and animator but curiosity led him to the extended reality(XR) space. As a young African, he is always looking for new challenges and trying out new things in the tech space.

While not building worlds or experimenting with technology, Steve is most probably outdoors experiencing nature. He lives by William S. Burroughs quote — When you stop growing, you start dying.

Kombo Chapfika is a Zimbabwean multi-disciplinary artist. A mostly self taught artist, he believes art transcends any singular medium and that each discipline can inform the others. Chapfika’s hybrid aesthetic echoes his personal journey as an African artist and active participant in the ongoing cultural mutations brought on by globalisation.

Chapfika’s work focuses on social commentary, media literacy, and experimental African aesthetics, and hopes it expresses the immense potential, adaptive energy, and dire straits of Zimbabwe, and Africa at large.

IG: @ckombo

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Electric South

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