Open Call Details

Image Credit: Justin Hofman


Open from 
24th September 2018, 11:15pm IST to 9th November 2018, 3:00pm GMT
Results by 
5th December
Material Science
Design solutions
Policy solutions
Industry reform

It is essential but polluting. It saves lives, yet it chokes our oceans. It’s cheap to create but expensive to dispose of. It can last forever, but is often used only once. PLASTIC has changed our daily lives and our environment more than any other material. We can’t live without it. But living with it might not be an option for much longer.

Plastic is not just widespread: it it literally omnipresent. It’s found in all the usual places: electronic devices, motor vehicles, buildings, bathtubs, shoes and chairs. Our hospitals, airports, power plants and server farms are unimaginable without plastic. But new research is turning up plastic waste in unexpected places, and in frightening quantities. From giant Pacific garbage gyres to Antarctic ice peppered with microplastics, from beehives to organic meat, plastic seems to be everywhere we look for it. What will be the long-term effects of this relatively new but incredibly long-lasting substance?

To stop using plastic is not an option. As an aesthetic material for artists and designers it is unparalleled, and its use has revolutionised industrial design. More essentially, modern medicine relies on plastic so heavily that even the most basic medical procedures would be unimaginable without plastics. Plastics have great power, and with great power comes great responsibility.

What does the future hold? There may be cause for cautious optimism. Plastics are a global (but relatively recent) problem, meaning our environment and our culture has plasticity — we can mould and change it, both intentionally and unintentionally. Material scientists are investigating plastic alternatives, manufacturing and recycling processes are rapidly evolving, and artists and designers are developing new ways to modify our single-use consumer culture. The unsustainability of our relationship with plastic is obvious, and the clock is ticking. Can we utilise this wonderful, terrible material, and can we fundamentally change our approach to living with PLASTIC?


  • Material Science / Textiles / Bioplastics+Biopolymers  
  • Global environmental inequity / Endocrine disruptors / Microplastics
  • Disposal / Recycling / Biodegradation / Life Cycle Analysis
  • Innovative Uses of Plastics, Especially Medical Devices / Petrochemical Alternatives
  • Plastics/Polymers in Art
  • Policy solutions / Collective vs Individual Action / Industry reform
  • Cultures of Reuse, Modification and Repair / Slow Design / Design Solutions to Single-use Culture
  • Plastics Proliferation (e.g. ocean gyres, trophic levels, freshwater treatment, etc) / Beach Cleanups
  • Post-Oil Economies & Cultures / Re-Use of Oil Infrastructure / New Trading Dynamics + Global Material Flows


Proposals may be new or existing works, and will be funded up to a maximum budget of €2000, which should include all artist fees, VAT, materials, equipment, shipping, travel etc. Please note that these are maximum amounts and we enthusiastically welcome proposals that come in below the maximum budget. We are happy to write letters of support for applicants seeking funding from elsewhere.

Running alongside the open call for PLASTIC is Science Gallery Melbourne's DISPOSABLE. Works can be submitted to both open calls. 


what are the dates for exhibition


The tentative exhibition dates for PLASTIC are June 20th — September 29th, 2019


Just wanting to clarify a few things. Can you confirm the physical venue where projects will be staged? Is it Science Gallery in Dublin?
Also, will there be a group exhibition that we can submit small objects/sculptures to exhibit? 



The PLASTIC exhibition will take place at Science Gallery, Dublin.PLASTIC will be a group exhibition, and you can submit one or more stand alone pieces through the Open Call. 


I wonder if I should have a complete work to apply this open call.

Or can I keep working after applying?

Thank you.



You are welcome to apply with a completer work, a work in progress or even a proposal for an entirely new project. 

I am cery interested in oarticipating in Plastic, but I live in Canada and my installations are site specific - so it is very difficult to create a budget for crating and shipping without knowing the size - any suggestions?

For example: A fishing net, suspended from the all the walls, high in a gallery, is swollen with enshrouded plastic containers and looms over visitors. (Under the Burden We Create)

What size is the gallery?

I look foreard to your thoughts,




Thanks Anna

The rough sizes of the galleries in our building for reference: 

Gallery 1: 2,300 sq. ft
Gallery 3: 1,162 sq. ft
Gallery 4: 1,600 sq. ft. 


The application form has a section for 'Stage of Development' but only gives the one category potenial to tick, that of 'Existing Project'.  The call out also refers to 'new work'. How can i show that the work is 'new' in the online application?





Hi Yvanna, 

Apologies for the problem you experienced. That issue is resolved now. 

All the best, 



The section ‘How the artist works - 300 words max’ - showed up for me the second time I logged in to fill in the application and not the first. I prepared this section and when I went to fill it in, the section has gone again. Can you tell me if this is required or not?regards Yvanna

Hi Yvanna,

That field is not requred. It showed up briefly in error. Apologies for the confusion. You can briefly talk about your artistic practice in the biography section.



hello I will be making quite a lot of sculptural pieces that are worn on the body - can I exhibit A! sized photos of theses pieces rather than the actual art work?




I think I've just submitted a project but there was no confirmation screen/acknowledgement. Do yo send a confirmation email or anything?



Hi Denis — We did recieve your application. A small technological glitch meant confirmation emails did not go out for 1 day last week. Very sorry about this, but I confirm that your applocation has been submitted. 

Hello, I wanted to ask if there is any kind of shelf or table available at the gallery? The work I wanted to present is supposed to be partially on the wall, and partially in display boxes, approximately 30 x 30 cm, so i was wondering if it would be possible to use some kind of a shelf or table for this purpose?
Thanks, Ana

Hi Ana —it is possible to include / create basic furniture for the selected projects. 

Hello Science Gallery Dublin, 

As an artist submitting from the USA, do I need to do anything special for the VAT portion? I included sales tax, but everything I would purchase for the project would be ordered here in the US and then come with me to the show. 

Thank you so much for putting on this show for such an important topic!

Hi Janna — 

I don't have an exact reply for you, but good you are thinking about VAT! Depending on various factors VAT might be 0 or 23%, so I think you can just write in your budget VAT (TBD).



How can I submit a collaboration project to include all four artists?

Is this possible?


Hi Pamela — 

No problem. Just list the email address of the main contact, and list the collaborators in the bio section. There should also be a space for you to list your collective name, if one exists.