Shaping an inclusive society: Innovative projects from five nations receive NICE Award 2017


FIRST PRIZE (8.000 €):
„Urbanatix“ by Dacapo Kultur Offensiv! | Bochum, Germany
Jury: “Their project is all about empowerment and about developing an educational programme from an event. “Each one teach one” as an opportunity to activate the inner heroes of a hidden young generation and let their superpowers show.”

SECOND PRIZE (5.000 €):
„Makeright“ by Central Saint Martins / University of the Arts London | United Kingdom
Jury: “They reframe risk as an opportunity, transforming criminals into entrepreneurs, not only for the time being but also in the long run: Creativity is being employed so as to break barriers and as a life skill.”

THRID PRIZE (4.000 €):
„Empower Parents“ by Hablar en Arte | Madrid, Spain
Jury: “Their efforts are directed to a social group in state of vulnerability, which is often invisible. Thus, it is a truly bottom-up initiative which starts from an urgency and addresses real needs.”

SPECIAL PRIZE for responsibility (3.000 €):
“Next Generation: Tales of Neto” by TUMO | Yerevan, Armenia
Jury: “Their task looks impossible: To approach a delicate political issue in a way that is not just educational, but entertaining for a young audience. They succeed by guiding young people to come up with their own solutions in this project.”

SPECIAL PRIZE for impact:
„Europe by People“ by Pakhuis de Zwijger | Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Jury: “Their project is impactful on many levels and able to address high politics as well as actual citizen issues. They can serve as an inspiration for other cities, using their creativity to make abstract concepts become tangible.”

Capacity for innovation is a direct indicator of economic development and a society’s future potential. Studies show that innovation drives structural change and economic growth, which implies that start-up activity in a country will be linked to its capacity for innovation. This applies to Europe, too.

Prof Dieter Gorny, Managing Director of the european centre for creative economy (ecce)

NICE Award

NICE Award 2017: Call
© Sebastian Becker
They are the winners of the NICE Award 2017:

Urbanatix, Makeright, Empower Parents, Europe by People and Next Generation

NICE Award winner 2017
© Sebastian Becker

The first prize went to Urbanatix from Bochum.

NICE Award 2017
© Sebastian Becker

Together with 120 guests, the jury of the NICE Award 2017 celebrated this year's winner Urbanatix.

North Rhine-Westphalia consciously focuses on the creative economy as a motor for innovation. The NICE Award exemplifies the correlation of creativity and innovation in an exceptional way. The award winners in 2017 show with their projects, how new ways of thinking can help us cope with major societal challenges. North Rhine-Westphalia is the right place to present and refine these projects.

Karl-Uwe Bütof, Director General at the Ministry for Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitisation and Energy of the State of NRW

© BVMI/Markus Nass
Welcome Address by Prof Dieter Gorny at the NICE Award 2017
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Welcome Address by Karl-Uwe Bütof at the NICE Award 2017
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[Translate to Englisch:] © Hessen Design e.V.
A competence center that makes outstanding design achievements visible in cultural, social and economic importance becomes 41st NICE member
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[Translate to Englisch:] © Universidade Católica Portuguesa
The Catholic Portuguese University is actively involved in the debate on contemporary artistic themes in Porto with its School of Arts. In 2019 it is our newest, 40th member of the NICE Network!
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[Translate to Englisch:] © Creative Commons
TFCC: a globally acting NICE Network Member from the United Kingdom!
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Review 2017: The Shortlist

„Creating an Inclusive World – A Call for Transformative Innovations” was the topic of the NICE Award 2017. We received 110 applications from 23 countries, nine of which were chosen for the shortlist by the jury chaired by Dr Anne Stenros. At the award ceremony on September 6th, 2017 this summary of the nominated projects was shown.

[Translate to Englisch:] © Empower Parents
Empower Parents is an educational community of families with children with ASD, professionals and cultural spaces. Through cooperative work among these agents, it seeks to make an impact in the community in order to raise social awareness regarding the reality of people with ASD.
NICE AwardShortlist 2017Winner 2017
© Phile Deprez
The EU2016 arts & design programme ‘Europe by People, the Future of Everyday Living’ looked into contemporary social issues through arts and design, by providing solutions for everyday living and by being a canvas on which creatives and citizens painted a picture of Europe’s future.
NICE AwardShortlist 2017Winner 2017
[Translate to Englisch:] © Sabrina Hilfer
’Do we know each other?’ is an interdisciplinary project that works with and for people with dementia to improve their quality of life. 13 students and their co-designers (caregivers, relatives and/or people with dementia) developed products and services in a very close participatory design process.
NICE AwardShortlist 2017

Jury 2017

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Professor, Folkwang University of the Arts
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© Lisa Klappe
Designer and Founder, Van Eijk & van der Lubbe
Jury 2017NICE Award
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Former Chief Design Office, City of Helsinki
NICE AwardJury 2016Jury 2017Jury 2019
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Member of the Board of Directors 2015-2017, WDO - World Design...
Jury 2017NICE Award
© Fotografie Lina Sommer
WILD Design
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ContentKings Rotterdam, Design Management Network
Jury 2017NICE Award

Applicants 2017

© Opernwerkstatt am Rhein
4 New Testaments 4 artists with 4 different backgrounds and 4 different disabilities create and direct 4 different theatre productions. Each of them very different but all about the bible and each one with a total length of approximately 20 minutes.
NICE AwardApplicants 2017
© Catarina Sanches
Grandma Came to Work is a creative hub that brings generations together by offering them a place where they can meet using a common language: creativity, immaterial culture and tradition.
NICE AwardApplicants 2017
© Mark McNulty for Grow Wild
A Tale of Two Cities re-invigorated neglected public land, and fired the imaginations of people living in Liverpool and Manchester. Introducing expanses of wildflowers into visible sites was the driver for collective action, involving arts as the...
NICE AwardApplicants 2017

About the Award

Since 2013, the annual NICE Award has been promoting innovations through the cultural and creative sectors, and their integration into the wider economy and society, with the aim of tackling the major challenges of our future today. To this end, the NICE Award creates visibility and know-how transfer throughout Europe for innovations that have been overlooked until now. It kicks off debates and sparks ideas in industry, culture and government, and motivates cultural and creative makers to be innovative and more experimental.

  • NICE Award History

    The first NICE Award served as a kick-off for NICE during the 2nd Forum d’Avignon Ruhr 2013 in Essen, Germany. It was held among participants of the conference, and it was the audience’s task to determine a winner. Four teams of ten were formed, throwing together people from different projects, backgrounds, age groups, and countries. They did not know each other, but they all had experiences in spillover projects. The teams were given different topics to consider – and five hours to roughly set up a spillover project related to Urban Development, Economy/New Work, Energy/Climate, or Intercultural Relations. In the end, each group had to present their project in a little performance. The Project "Shaking Hans" had won.


    In 2014, when the network had grown and strengthened through several meetings and workshops, a new call for the Award 2014 was published.

    The call looked with a wide scope for cultural and creative projects generating spillover effects. The prize was awarded for the most innovative spillover effect driven by a cultural and creative project, research projects or a political strategy/measure. 108 applications from 22 countries were submitted from Artists and cultural creative entrepreneurs, scientists, politics and towns. A jury constituted of Pia Areblad (TILLT, Sweden), Charles Landry (Comedia, UK), Prof. Kurt Mehnert (Folkwang University of the Arts, Germany) and Janjaap Ruijssenaars (Universe Architecture, The Netherlands) establishes a "best of" short list of ten projects.

    The projects of the nominees of the NICE Award were presented in the NICE Exhibition designed in the City-Messehalle in Essen.


    On 12 June 2014 Garrelt Duin, Minister of Economic Affairs, Energy and Industry of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, announced the winner of the award at the Forum d'Avignon Ruhr in the GOP Variety Theatre. The winners were: RLF / Richtiges Leben im Falschen (Berlin), Conexiones Improbables (Bilbao), the Unperfekthaus (Essen) and Urbanauts (Vienna). The NICE Award 2014 was funded with overall 10,000 Euro by the Ministry of Family, Children, Youth, Culture and Sports of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia and the Cities of Bochum, Dortmund, Essen and Gelsenkirchen.

    The NICE Award is now an integral part of NICE, and it is the first of several tools and services with which NICE wants to foster innovation of culture and creativity as resources for economic growth and political development.


    In 2015 the NICE Award continued to grow: on the topic "Save the world-major challenges" 213 projects from 29 countries were submitted.

    On 23 September 2015 Garrelt Duin, Minister of Economic Affairs, Energy and Industry of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, announced the winner of the award at the Forum d’Avignon Ruhr in Essen. The winners were: TheMachineToBeAnother (Barcelona/Sao Paulo), PlanEt (Rotterdam), WikiHouse (London), HOME BACK HOME (Madrid) and Creative Technologies in the Classroom (Malmö). The NICE Award 2015 was funded with overall 20,000 Euro by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Energy and Industry of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia and the Cities of Bochum, Dortmund, Essen and Gelsenkirchen.

  • 2016 - Innovation in Migration, Economy and Urban Development

    NICE Award 2016 honours innovation in migration, economy and urban development

    The Minister of Economic Affairs of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, Garrelt Duin, singled out three projects as models for addressing urgent social issues by honouring them with the NICE Award 2016. The jury under the chairmanship of the prestigious urban researcher Charles Landry reviewed 105 applications from 25 countries and selected twelve projects from France, Georgia, Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Spain for the shortlist, which were presented at the Philharmonie Essen on 24 August 2016.


    Two projects take the top spot this year.


    "Makerversity" and "Refugee Open Cities" each received EUR 8,000 prize money. Based in London and Amsterdam, Makerversity is a platform for creative young entrepreneurs within the global maker movement. With the Maker Campus as its distinguishing feature participants benefit not only from the knowledge of others, but also pass on their own experience. The Berlin Refugee Open Cities project improves the quality of life in refugee camps through personal involvement. What makes it special: Refugees become designers of their own lives, using their creative talents to build a liveable community.


    Jury Chairman Charles Landry: "Both address vital questions, but they are so different."


    The second prize (EUR 4,000) went to the Dortmund based project "Public Residence: the Chance", in which the creative currency "Chances" has transformed citizens of Borsigplatz in Dortmund into innovative shapers of their neighbourhood. What makes it special: The residents themselves organise creative and artistic projects and therefore become beacons of hope for the revitalisation of Borsigplatz.


    The jury honoured the London initiative "Julie’s Bicycle" with the "Achievement Award", a non-monetary prize. For ten years now, this initiative has been committed to encouraging cultural and creative industries to contribute more actively to fighting climate change.



    Click here for all information on the NICE Award 2016

    The winners of the NICE Award 2016 with the jury
  • 2015 - Improving the World with Creativity

    "Improving the world with creativity": the winners of the NICE Award 2015


    Garrelt Duin, Minister for Economic Affairs, Energy and Industry of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia presented the N.I.C.E. Award in Essen to five international projects in the course of the Forum d’Avignon Ruhr. 213 applicants from 29 countries had submitted projects to this year's topic "Solving the World's Major Challenges – A Call for Innovations".


    The project "The Machine to be Another" from Brazil receives the first prize (8000 euros). Using digital technology the installation makes it possible to immerse oneself in the body and thoughts of another person and to view oneself in the body of the other person.


    Jury Chairman Charles Landry: "The project is impressive due to its unique combination of art and science and employs technology beyond known limits."


    Further prizes go to "PlanEt" from Great Britain and the Netherlands (5000 euros), which evaluates data of plants in cities and is thus a component of future "Smart Cities". "WikiHouse" from Great Britain (3000 euros) revolutionises house building and enables citizens to co-design the city. Two further prizes went to "Home back Home" from Spain and "Creative Technologies in Classroom", from Sweden (2000 euros each).


    The Minister for Economic Affairs of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia Garrelt Duin: "The N.I.C.E. Award is about visibility. The potential and performance power of creative persons is all too often overlooked. The prize and its presentation within the very special setting of the Forum d'Avignon Ruhr make sure that a spotlight is switched on which illuminates the innovative strength of the sector."


    Dieter Gorny, Managing Director of ecce: "The N.I.C.E. Award distinguishes the Ruhr area as a location for cultural innovation – entirely in the tradition of the European Capital of Culture RUHR.2010.“


    Click here for all information on the NICE Award 2015

    The NICE Award 2015 ceremony at GOP.
  • 2014 - Spillover Effects of Culture and Creativity

    "The Real Life in the Wrong One": Transmedia art project against capitalism wins NICE Award 2014


    From 10 to 12 June, in the Creative.Quarter City Nord.Essen, about 200 cultural and creative artists, as well as representatives from politics, research and the economy from 21 countries met for the third time at the 3rd Forum d’Avignon Ruhr and the exhibition of the European Innovation Award for Culture, the NICE Award. In total, 108 projects from 22 countries applied for the NICE Award 2014.


    The international jury headed by Charles Landry nominated 10 projects and invited them to the exhibition at City Messehalle in Essen, which was opened in parallel to the Forum d’Avignon Ruhr. Following one-on-one interviews with the nominees at the exhibition, the jury consisting of Charles Landry, Prof. Kurt Mehnert, Pia Areblad and Janjaap Ruijssenaars announced the following four award winners.


    The winner of 5,000 € is the project "RLF Richtiges Leben im Falschen/The Real Life in the Wrong One" of Projektbüro Friedrich von Borries in Berlin, a transmedia art project in cooperation with ARTE, Suhrkamp and UFA.


    It is a playful yet serious critique of capitalism. The jury honoured the multi-media campaign as a cultural innovation. Based on an open digital community, RLF systematically dissolves the thin line between reality and fiction. "A unique combination of media and non-media channels transforms RLF into a multi-dimensional weapon of revolution: it's a novel, an actual company, a game, a film that enters the real world in the shape of specific events and interventions," describes Projektbüro Friedrich von Borries the project. To experience and understand his statement, you just have to play it:


    The second prize worth 2,000 € each goes to Unperfekthaus in Essen and the Spanish project Conexiones Improbables from Bilbao.


    Conexiones Improbables is a Network which brings artists and companies together, the Unperfekthaus affords artists of every kind a place where they can express their creativity freely.


    Another prize worth 1,000 € goes to URBANAUTS Street Lofts from Vienna, which was also invited by Creative Business Cup Denmark to attend the Creative Entrepreneur Week in November 2014. The invitation was sponsored by Rasmus Tscherning, Managing director of the Centre for Cultural and Experience Economy in Denmark.


    The NICE Award 2014 was presented by NRW Minister for Economic Affairs Garrelt Duin on 12 June at the end of the Forum d’Avignon Ruhr. The NICE Award is funded by the Ministry for Family, Children, Youth, Culture and Sport of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia and the Cities of Bochum, Dortmund, Essen and Gelsenkirchen.


    Click here for all information on the NICE Award 2014

    Minister for Economic Affairs, Energy and Industry of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia Garrelt Duin and the winners of the NICE Award 2014.

The NICE Award is funded by: