Open Call Themes

Open Call Themes for
Project Proposals

Arts & Design Context

The arts have been gaining prominence as a catalyst of an efficient conversion of science and technology knowledge into more innovative products, services, and processes . In line with a broader European strategy to enhance creativity and the innovative capacity in industry and society, the European Commission has initiated the STARTS Prize, alongside that and has funded the WEAR consortium and other STARTS-related projects to boost synergies between artists and ICT experts (technologists) to enable Europe to benefit from the catalytic nature of the arts and culture across European society and industry. In order to promote further collaboration between the arts and technology through innovation activities, WEAR focuses its engagement in collaboration, co-design and co-development of a new generation of ethical, critical, sustainable and aesthetic wearable technologies and smart textiles to influence change in industry practices (esp. textiles, fashion and electronics) toward a more circular economy.

WEAR aims to challenge artists and designers to work with technologists (engineers and programmers) in partnership to tackle these issues, and to meet the meaningful potential of wearable technologies and smart textiles in society and industry. All applicants are invited to read WEAR’s rationale.



THEMES to address

In this second Open Call for proposals, applicant teams must address current and pressing issues facing European and global society, and have set out themed areas and challenges for developing a proposal to be considered for WEAR Sustain funding.

Applicants must directly address one or more of these Real World challenges in a critical and creative way, and propose solutions through the application of art and design with technological skills.

Irrespective of the chosen theme(s), both major concerns (ethics and sustainability) must be addressed in the proposal.

Theme Challenge Concerns
1) Environmental Sustainability

a) Use, reuse or waste

How will your team develop new wearables using technologies, textiles and materials that engage with sustainable use, reuse or recycling and repair? Please propose a concept that addresses:

  • making biodegradable, recyclable, self-repairing, or actively cleaning the environment;
  • reusing existing products and materials,
  • involving upcycling, life-cycle waste management
  • involving zero waste, emissions, non-toxic dyes and fabrics,
  • minimising mining waste and pollution,
  • product end of life solutions,
  • electronic-waste
  • Minimising textile waste,
  • Minimising chemical leaching and impact on soil, water and animals.
1) Environmental Sustainability

b) Batteries & energy sources / generation

How will your team develop wearable devices and/or smart textiles that harvest or make use of alternative energy? Please propose a new:

  • environmental battery solution,
  • energy solutions that utilise the body as an energy source, in a non-invasive way (sweat, heat, muscle power, steps, etc.),
  • energy solutions that utilise the external surroundings to generate energy source (sun, wind, etc.).
1) Environmental Sustainability

c) Sourcing and life-cycle

How will you make products, services or processes that create limited carbon or waste footprint?

Will you develop/use design principles centered around simulating or directly utilising the patterns and features observed in natural ecosystems/ biomimetics?

Please propose a concept that addresses:

  • product life-cycle and use circular design,
  • ethical mineral sourcing,
  • ethical material sourcing,
  • made of natural, organic sustainable, or bio-materials;
  • using biomimetic approaches & smart materials that require no electronic enhancement to sense or display information, using natural solutions?
2) Ethics

a) Data collection & Privacy

How will your team develop wearable devices and/or smart textiles that minimise the negative impact of privacy invasion and personal data collection on users? Please propose a concept that:

  • protects personal privacy against monitoring and surveillance of users;
  • minimises or prevents the collection users’ data for algorithmic focussed marketing or other corporate insights and gain,
  • creates ethical data storage solutions,
  • minimises or prevents the collection of personal data, using body-area-network-only data processing.
2) Ethics

b) Social/ Workplace

How will your team develop wearable devices and/or smart textiles that consider social or workplace ethics in their design and production? Please propose a concept that addresses:

  • employment ethics
  • workplace or employee-surveillance,
  • poor labour practices and working conditions,
  • human rights issues and social equality.
If you address both major concerns (ethics and sustainability) in some way, your concept can also address:
Theme Challenge Concerns
3) Body/Physiology/


How does your team address and combat the negative impact of wearable technologies and smart textiles on the body? Please propose a concept that addresses:

  • health issues arising through toxicity of plastics and metals on skin,
  • use of xenoestrogens or hormones from plastics in wearable waste, EMG waves forms interfering with body processes, electronics interfering with electrical signals of the heart, spinal cord etc; comfort when worn on the body, or implants and their impact on internal body chemistry and processes. Possibly growing substrates or soft/living architectures that are an extension of wearables or even animal wearables for conservation / healing.
4) Open Category To choose the open theme, applicants are required to pose their own question that addresses the sustainability and ethics concerns of the WEAR Sustain project and the European Commission.