Open Call Details


Open from 
19th February 2015, 3:00pm GMT to 26th March 2015, 3:00pm GMT
Big Data

SECRET is an international exhibition and events programme at Science Gallery Dublin that will explore the social and technological aspects of secrecy, particularly the future of surveillance, espionage and privacy. Why do humans like to keep and reveal secrets and why are we attracted to mysteries and puzzles? When are secrets a good thing and who has the right to keep them? How do emerging technologies protect or undermine privacy? What secrets should never be revealed and where is more transparency needed?

From cryptography, leaks, hidden messages, secret satellites, big data, conspiracy theories, puzzles, easter eggs and cryptocurrencies, SECRET will ask how hackers, spies, journalists, psychologists, criminals, companies and governments are approaching the new world of secrets.

Do you have an artwork that shows secrecy in a new light? Are you designing a device that will change everything from privacy to piracy? Or maybe you research the psychological drive to keep secrets or solve puzzles? We want your exhibit, installation and event ideas.

Topics we're interested in

  • Surveillance, security, privacy and transparency
  • Psychology of secrecy, metacognition, development, trust and guilt 
  • Cryptography, ciphers, quantum computing and lockpicking
  • Hacking, phreaking, computer forensics and urban exploration
  • Secrecy and privacy as aspects of psychological and personal development
  • Social networks, online privacy and celebrities
  • Big data, bioinformatics, and identity theft
  • Propaganda, government secrets, security
  • Corporate espionage, trade secrets and cryptocurrencies
  • Satellites, drones, CCTV cameras
  • Puzzles, games, mysteries and Easter eggs

What makes a good Science Gallery open call proposal? We are especially looking for projects that match Science Gallery’s three core aims: to Inspire, Connect, 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 paintings about science or science that is evaluating art.
  • Relevance to our core audience of 15-25 year olds is a factor in curatorial decisions.
  • Defying categorisation is good. ("It’s kind of a hybrid sculpture, event, installation-puzzle, with a crowd-sourced edible citizen-science archive, plus a performance component that will influence our design for a speculative organism…")
  • Works can be playful or serious - most themes have room for both.
  • 2D is nice, but 3D is often nicer.  We don’t have a lot of wall space for screens, prints and the like, so we often opt for the actual object instead of just a picture of it.
  • A true connection to the theme is a must - avoid shoehorning an unrelated work.
  • 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!


We are looking for up to 25 works for the SECRET exhibition. SECRET proposals will be funded up to a maximum budget of €3000 (please note this is a maximum, not a target). Two outstanding original works may be commissioned with a higher budget of up to €8000. Please note that these are maximum amounts, not targets. We are happy to write letters of support for applicants seeking funding from elsewhere.

Confirmed Curators

  • Tad Hirsch (Creator of TxtMob, and former manager at Intel Labs) 
  • Marie Redmond, Adjunct Professor of Computer Science, Trinity College Dublin 
  • Julian Oliver, Artist and Critical Engineer

[Image Credit: 'Security' by Anonymous Account, CC BY-NC 2.0]



I am interested in possibly making a submission to this open call. Do you consider sound works that respond to the theme?



Hi Peter, we consider work in all mediums and would be delighted to receive a submission from you.


Do you have information on  the gallery space, the dimensions etc  and how large 3D work you can consider accommodating?




I am interested in applying to the open call for the upcoming Secret exhibition and have a few questions:

1. Is it possible to include an exhibit that requires power and internet access?

2. Are power exhibits, powered down at night/weekends etc?

3. What kind of on-site presence is required during the time the exhibition is running?



Hi Stephen,

Mains power and internet access can of course be provided. In relation to powering exhibits down at night, the technical team will take their lead from the artists and aim to facilitate your specific needs where ever possible while also bearing in mind any health and safety requirements.

On site presence during installation really depends on the nature of your work and is something that would be discussed following selection.

How accurate or specific do budget estimates have to be?

Hi Mary, we ask that budgets be as accurate as possible however we're aware that for a number of reasons this is not always possible. We would ask you to estimate to the best of your ability so the Science Gallery Team can make an informed decision when considering all factors of a submission.

Do you have people who build an exhibit.... or that's part of we have to do?

Hi Mary, you would need to build the artwork yourself, however Science Gallery provide the exhibition design so plinths and display etc.


Do artworks for this exhibition need to be available the entire period from 7 August to 1 November? I have two that fit the theme well but they are already accepted into an exhibition from 22 August - 20 September. Am I out of luck?


Hi Glen, unfortunately the artworks need to be available for the entire duration of the exhibition. 

Hi, I have a couple of questions for this call:

1.  Should the budget include shipping to/from the venue?  And can the budget include artist honorariums?

2.  Can multiple proposals be submitted?



1. The budget should include your best estimate of shipping costs. The budget should also include your proposed artist honorarium.

2. Yes, multiple proposals by the same artist or group can be submitted.  

Hi There, Is it ok to submit a video link which accompanies the textual description as opposed to submitting an optional video application? Best, Ronan

Hi Ronan - yes, it is fine to include a URL to a video which accompanies the text, if that works better than embedding it in the form.

Hi There,

Is it possible to submit a video which acts as visual to accompany the textual description as opposed to submitting a video application. 



Yes, that will be fine. 

When will you notify applicants regarding their submission status?

Applicants will start hearing back in mid to late April and all applicants will have heard back by the end of May.