Open Call Details

Left image: Tufa Towers at Mono Lake, CA by Eric Wienke, used under Creative Commons license: Right image: Enceladus courtesy NASA/JPL


Open from 
28th November 2017, 5:45am UTC to 16th January 2018, 11:45pm UTC
Results by 
30th March
Provisional Season Dates 
June to September

How do organisms survive in the deep sea, in outer space and inside volcanoes? Why do inhospitable settings spark our imagination and our appetite for adventure? What can extreme environments tell us about coping with climate change? How can art and design inspire and influence the pioneers exploring extreme environments? Should we adapt organisms and technologies to thrive under severe conditions?

LIFE AT THE EDGES will examine life in extraordinary environments, and humankind's passion for exploration, adventure and discovery.

Extreme places can provide a unique setting to expand our understanding of our climate and living systems. From arctic expeditions to deep sea discoveries, this exhibition is about exploring frontiers and limits, and boldly pushing the boundaries of space, humanity, science, technology, biology, and determination.

What might we find living in unexplored places that can inspire new technologies, medicines or architecture? As our own planet grapples with more extreme and precarious environmental conditions, how could the constraints of extreme environments lead to creative new tools, methods, microorganisms, and technologies? And will humans one day inhabit outer space or live underwater, or have we already contaminated these hard-to-reach places with space junk, plastic gyres and invasive species?

From terraforming entire planets to mapping the deepest ocean trenches, this exhibition will showcase the scientists, artists, designers and dreamers with eyes on the horizon — the ones looking for LIFE AT THE EDGES.


  • Alkaline, acidic, cold, hot, hypersaline, volcanic environments
  • Astrobiology / exobiology / Exoplanets
  • Upper atmosphere, low-pressure conditions and aerobiology
  • Analogue research stations (e.g. M.A.R.S.)
  • Self-Styled, recreational and celebrity explorers
  • Deep sea vents
  • Deserts and other inhospitable environments
  • Ecophysiology
  • Clothing for extreme conditions (especially environmental suits / space suits / diving suits / extreme cold weather (ECW) clothing / extreme environment clothing etc.)
  • Environmental changes and extreme landscapes, as a result of climate change
  • Extremophiles (everything from adrenaline junkies to chemosynthetic microorganisms)
  • Field kits, tools and techniques for extreme environments
  • Gut microbiome
  • High altitude research
  • Life in space
  • Marine biology
  • Polar exploration
  • Psychology, sociology, and value of exploration
  • Quarantine
  • Radiation
  • Search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI), deep-space observation
  • Space exploration, Space Architecture / colonies / transport
  • Terraforming
  • Toxic environments (natural and human-made)
  • Xenobiology


We are seeking proposals for up to twenty works for our LIFE AT THE EDGES exhibition. Proposals may be new or existing works, and will be funded up to a maximum budget of €3000, which should include all artist fees, materials, equipment, shipping, travel etc. Please note that these are maximum amounts, and we enthusiastically welcome proposals below this limit. We are happy to write letters of support for applicants seeking funding from elsewhere.

Science Gallery, in partnership with the French Embassy in Ireland, is delighted to announce a special €1000 bursary for French speaking artists working with digital technology and art. The award will support the travel and accommodation of one artist participating in LIFE AT THE EDGES. Applicants should note their interest in this bursary on their application form.


  • Dr. Mary Bourke, Geomorphologist, Department of Geography, Trinity College Dublin.

  • Prof. Peter Gallagher, Professor in Astrophysics / Associate Dean of Research, Trinity College Dublin.

  • Miha Tursic, Waag Society & co-founder of Cultural Centre of European Space Technologies.

  • Prof. Andy Wheeler, Chair of Geology, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University College Cork.

  • Melodie Yashar, designer, co-founder and member of SEArch+ (Space Exploration Architecture). 


What makes a good Science Gallery Dublin open call proposal? We are especially looking for both existing and new projects that match Science Gallery Dublin’s three core aims: to Connect, Participate, and Surprise. Some tips for strong proposals:

  • We love works that invite the visitor to participate, create and discuss.
  • Great projects bring together art and science, in a creative way. We generally avoid science that is evaluating art or art that didactically illustrates science.
  • Relevance to our core audience of 15-25 year olds is a factor in curatorial decisions.
  • Defying categories is good (“it’s kind of a hybrid sculpture, event, installation-puzzle, with a crowdsourced edible citizen-science archive, plus a performance component that will portray a speculative future organism…”)
  • However, a true connection to the theme is a must. We encourage you to take a moment to consider fit before committing your valuable time and energy to the application.
  • We have limited wall space, so we usually have more room for objects/sculptures.
  • Collaborations are great! Are you a cryptographer working with a cellist? Maybe you’re a comic book illustrator artist thinking of submitting a proposal with an immunologist? If you’re a marine geologist looking for a cheesemonger to work with, we might know just the person — get in touch and we might be able to help.