Design Futures Lab 2023 for creative technologists and digital storytellers (Fully Funded)

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Application Deadline: 15 March 2023.

The Design Futures lab allows for the worlds of fashion and immersive technology to merge in a radical exploration of storytelling, world-building, and reimagining futures by combining the skillsets of fashion practitioners and digital technologists. The Design Futures Lab 2023 creates a space for new narratives at the intersection of immersive technology and sustainable fashion and design by combining the worlds of fashion and new media. The 2nd edition of the Design Futures Lab will take place in Cape Town from 21 – 24 April 2023.

This creative economy project, supported by the British Council #SouthernAfricaArts, is now in its second year and in 2023 offers 12 South African and Zimbabwean content creators an opportunity to develop experiential, provocative and immersive digital narratives about sustainable fashion and design. 

The Design Futures lab is looking for six teams (12 artists in total working in creative pairs) – three teams from South Africa and three from Zimbabwe – to create immersive media prototypes of sustainable fashion practices.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Be 18 years or older.
  • Be citizens or permanent residents of South Africa or Zimbabwe.
  • Currently live in South Africa or Zimbabwe and able to travel on the days required.
  • Submit in pairs, with one concept (two creatives per concept – one team member should be a creative technologist or, comfortable exploring new technologies).
  • One member should have some form of experience in a creative technology field.
  • One member should have experience in fashion and/or design (this includes apparel, footwear and accessories)
  • Be willing to complete a self-directed African Creative Economy course up to Intermediate Level.
  • Attend all components of the Design Futures Lab.


  • Bring together education, experimentation, and exploration 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 collaboration and creativity.
  • The Design Futures programme will fully cover travel, accommodation and meals for participants selected for the lab.

How to apply?
The application form requires that you:

  • Tell us about yourselves (short 1 minute video clip).
  • Tell us about your interest in the Lab and what you would like to learn.
  • Tell us about XR projects that inspire the concept you will be submitting.
  • Tell us about your creative practice/s.
  • Tell us about your XR idea — Your idea should express the experiential narratives around sustainable fashion practices, as well as how you want to integrate technology. This isn’t an in-depth description, just show us how you imagine using the immersive tech.
  • Include your initial creative concept 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.


  • Please complete and submit this form by 11.59pm SAST on 15 March 2023.
  • All successful applicants will be notified by 24 March 2023.
  • The Design Futures Lab will run from 21–24 April 2023 (full-time) in Cape Town.
  • Each team must complete their digital prototype/proof of concept by 31 August 2023.
  • Market access feedback will run virtually in September 2023.

Any questions? Please refer to the FAQ Section or contact [email protected]

For More Information:

Visit the Official Webpage of the Design Futures Lab 2023

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