Social Art Award to catalyse change towards a greener future

Social Art Award to catalyse change towards a greener future
Collaboration Sustainability
Artists are invited to submit artworks in the theme of 'New Greening' for Social Art Award 2021.

The Social Art Award 2021 was launched by The Institute for Art and Innovation for the third time to recognise visionary works from artists who are co-creating positive futures, communicating compelling ideas, concepts, narratives, practices and visions of coexistence.

This award aims to invigorate the rise of social art and encourage more people to create impact and inspire change.

Applications are welcome until 15th April, focusing on this year’s theme “New Greening” providing bright prospects towards climate change, resource-saving, environmental protection, ecosystem recovery, water conservation, biodiversity, resilient cities, and more.

All artists and cultural actors are invited to apply with work they consider relevant to the field of social art.

The overall winner receives 1000 Euro prize money, and three winners will be selected for the final exhibition to present their artwork in Berlin, Germany, in summer 2021.

Furthermore, the top 50 submissions will receive additional exposure through an exhibition raising awareness about building green societies and get featured in the official Social Art Award book for 2021.

Social Art Award 2021

Nicole Loeser, co-founder and director of IFAI, serial entrepreneur with over fifteen years of experience in cross-sectoral collaboration with institutions and corporations worldwide, shared her thoughts about the Social Art Award:


Art engages in questioning and rethinking existing systems and paradigms.

Often, artists can feel the need for change even before people find the words for what might be wrong with a situation.

They can draw our attention towards a created reality that no longer suits us.

In my opinion, artists are visionaries, utopists, even agents for change, with the ability to affect society by creating emotionally captivating experiences.

Social Art is the first attempt to feel the wounds and question the circumstances of our being.

To me, it is evident that if we want to create a liveable future for all creatures on this planet, we need imagination, positive images and narratives that people can mirror themselves in.

It is the aesthetic revolution that preludes the societal revolution.

Nicole Loeser, co-founder and director of The Institute for Art and Innovation

That is why I believe we really need more socially engaged artists to help us find new ways towards regenerative futures and envision and imagine new worlds that people would like to live in.

It is essential for us to promote the importance of social art for society and strengthen social artists' recognition and the value of their work, especially as the art market is usually not open for such positions.

In 2017, the first year of the award, it started as an experiment, whether artists would react to the terms of Social Art.

We were excited to receive artworks from 128 countries, presenting how they practice and define socially engaged art.

We decided to go with the New Greening topic for this year’s award, to call on creative people to start imagining and realising a future of regeneration and restoration of nature - basically a better life for all living being on the planet.

We would like to hear what artists have to say about that.

Can they convince us with their applications to open, interrogate and invigorate the prevailing fabric of understanding that science, technology and governmental policies, such as the Green New Deals, emerge from?

With the award, we want to generate conversation and exchange visions on possible and hopeful futures.

We wish to figure out what could be changed together.

Pink Silence (Social Sculpture in India) by Bogna Grazyna Jaroslwski, winner of Social Art Award 2019

In 2019 the topic was: “We are the people - Peaceful Revolutions”, which mainly attracted artists from conflict zones who empower people to stand up for their rights, freedom, and future.

The exchange on Social Art practices under painful circumstances brought up a lot of negativity, but the spirit of shared human kindness was extraordinary.

Participating artists deeply related to other like-minded people from around the world.

They inspired each other with their bold approaches and humanistic actions for their communities.

It was a very encouraging moment of sharing deep feelings.

We strive to generate meaningful conversations and exchange visions on possible and hopeful futures, so this year we will have side events, including workshops and panels.

We also joined forces with various experts and organisations working in the field of socio-ecological transformation.

I’m always impressed by how fast people and organisations can visualise and design relevant scenarios for a liveable world and how deeply they resonate with their own vision.

This gives me hope that we can accelerate change and be faster in creating new structures.

In the future, we would like to broaden the program beyond the Social Art Award and found interdisciplinary Artists-in-Residency-programs as well as other formats, like experimenting with Real Laboratories.