Ars Electronica Garden Cairo 2020 / We Are Data / Cairotronica, Cairo (EG) Credit: Ahmed Al-Laithy

S+T+ARTS Prize Africa Open Call

Starts CallExtended Deadline: March 11, 2024, 23:59 CET

Grand prize of the European Union promoting
a S+T+ARTS approach to digital innovation in Africa

Eligibility Criteria
Required Submission Material
Submission Process
Jury Process

S+T+ARTS = innovation at the nexus of Science, Technology, and the ARTS: STARTS is an initiative of the European Commission to foster alliances of science, technology, and artistic practice. The focus is on people and projects that contribute to mastering the social, ecological, and economic challenges. 

The STARTS Prize Africa will highlight and award regional best practices in the field through the launch of the African edition of the well-known STARTS Prize. The STARTS Prize has been a major contributor in building the foundations of a community interlinking artists, companies, scientists, researchers, and businesses. This movement will now be enhanced with the first edition of the STARTS Prize Africa. 

The STARTS Prize Africa welcomes initiatives that strive towards a positive social, humanitarian, economic or political impact and promote a diverse and sustainable society. Embracing the powerful intersection of arts and technology, it supports endeavors that address the pressing issues of the continent and facilitate digital transformation within the creative sector. 

The STARTS Prize Africa recognizes the projects that use creativity to drive positive change and highlights examples of collaborations between individuals, collectives, and organizations from diverse sectors. We are especially interested in projects that focus on societal challenges and promote sustainable practices on the continent. 

+ Benefits

Credit: Ars Electronica / Martin Hieslmair
STARTS Prize Trophy by Nick Ervinck (BE)

Prize Money: The STARTS Prize Africa prize money amounts to € 30.000 and will be distributed among:

  • Grand Prize of € 15.000
  • 5 Awards of Distinction each € 3.000

Award Ceremony and Symposium: The winner of the STARTS Prize Africa Grand Prize makes a commitment to accept the award in person at the Award Ceremony and to present the work at the STARTS Prize Forum. Both will take place during the Ars Electronica Festival on September 4 – 8, 2024 in Linz, Austria. Groups and institutions are requested to nominate a representative to fulfill this commitment. 

Exhibition: If the submitted work is selected and honoured by the Jury, the artist is committed upon invitation to present the submitted work at the Ars Electronica Festival 2024, as well as at the consortium members’ events. 

+ Eligibility Criteria

  • The STARTS Prize Africa is offered to honour the initiatives made at the intersection of arts, science, and technology that strive towards a positive social, humanitarian, economic, environmental, or political impact and promote diverse and sustainable society.
  • The STARTS Prize Africa is not restricted to a particular genre or field. The competition is open to all forms of creative practices, be it music, performing and visual arts, film, animation, gaming, photography, VR and XR, design, fashion, architecture, journalism, art-science collaborations, citizen science initiatives, human-centered AI projects, social software, and many more. 
  • The competition is open to citizens and residents of all African countries, as well as legal entities registered on the continent. 
  • An artist group is eligible to apply if at least one member is an African citizen or resident and he/she/they make a submission.
  • The competition is open to applications from natural persons (such as individual creatives, artists or other professionals), groups of natural persons, legal entities (such as startups, associations, research and higher education institutions, public bodies, NGOs, companies, and other legally established organizations), and groups of legal entities (such as research consortia). 
  • Community initiatives may be submitted only by an authorized representative. This may be an individual or an organization as specified above. 
  • Every submitted project must be, at the time of its submission, either totally completed or far enough along for the jury to be able to assess its quality and the likelihood of it being successfully implemented. The same applies to collaborative arrangements—at the time they’re submitted, they must already be up-and-running and in the implementation stage. No consideration will be given to entries that are purely concepts, ideas or proposals for collaboration. 
  • Projects should not be older than two years or have to show a significant update or further development within the last two years. 
  • Initiatives consisting of or benefitting entities subject to EU sanctions are not eligible to apply. * 

* This includes entities subject to EU restrictive measures under Article 29 of the Treaty on the European Union (TEU) and Article 215 of the Treaty on the Functioning ft he EU (TFEU) and entities covered by Commission Guidelines No 2013/C 205/059).

+ Required Submission Material

Applicants will need to provide the following material through the online submission platform:

  • Audiovisual material: at least one file 
    • video (3-10 minutes in length – .mp4, .mov); 
    • image (.jpg, .tiff, .bmp, .png at maximum quality); 
    • audio (.wav, .mp3, .aif, .mov, .ogg)…
  • Clear, detailed descriptions of the artistic concept, credits and received support, applicant’s affinity to Africa. 
  • Form of technical implementation (since specific prerequisites must be fulfilled for an onsite presentation (e.g. in conjunction with the Ars Electronica Festival), the project’s specifications as to hardware & software and spatial requirements are desirable).  
  • A printable portrait photo, biography, and contact data of the artist(s) / creator(s). 
  • At the entrant’s option, additional material such as images, documents, and drawings (as .png or .pdf) can also be submitted. 

+ Submission Process 

To ensure the diversity of submissions, the STARTS Prize Africa works with a dual approach for submissions. 

Submission via open call: The STARTS Prize Africa welcomes initiatives that strive towards a positive social, humanitarian, economic or political impact and promote a diverse and sustainable society in Africa. The submission is open to all forms of creative practices. The submission deadline is March 11, 2024. 

Recommendations through international advisors: The international advisors who have reputation and credibility in the field will recommend projects and help to encourage wider ranges of participants. These recommended projects will be contacted by the organizers and asked to submit their project via the submission platform. So, the same process and deadlines will be applied, as for the open call submissions. The advisors serve as facilitators to identify relevant works and projects during the submission process. However, they will not be part of the Jury meeting and therefore will not have voting rights. 

+ Jury Process 

The STARTS Prize Africa Jury consists of internationally distinguished personalities from the fields of business, science, and the arts selected by Ars Electronica.  Each Jury member may also nominate the works for the Prize. These nominated projects will be contacted by the organizers and asked to submit via the submission platform. The Jury will judge all submitted eligible projects and determine the prize-winning projects during the Jury Session from April 25 – 28, 2024. The Jury’s decision is final. All STARTS Prize Africa winners will be notified by mid-June 2024 at the latest.  

+ Schedule

January 9, 2024
March 11, 2024, 23:59 CET 
April 25 – 28, 2024
June 25, 2024 
September 4 – 8, 2024 

Open Call 
Extended Submission Deadline 
Jury Meeting 
Announcement of the Winners
Exhibition and Award Ceremony at the Ars Electronica Festival 

+ Contact

Ars Electronica Linz GmbH & Co KG 
Ars-Electronica-Straße 1 
4040 Linz, Austria 
Code: STARTS Prize Africa 

Project Manager 
Lisa Shchegolkova 

STARTS4AFRICA is funded by the European Union under the STARTS – Science, Technology and Arts initiative of DG CNECT (GA no. LC-01960720). Views and opinions expressed are those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or DG CNECT. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.