Could you help combat water scarcity?

SPACE10 and TU Delft are looking for three participants to embark on an innovative two month paid residency exploring positive water futures.

10 March 2021

Water scarcity is a challenge many cities experience worldwide, from London to Mexico City to Cape Town. With this in mind, there is a new residency hoping to tackle the issue. In a two month residency running from 10 May to 2 July 2021, SPACE10 has teamed up with education and research facility TU Delft to explore visions for positive water futures. Inviting applicants from all over the world, the remote residency asks its participants to consider how alternative water sources can help solve water shortages.

The residency is to be hosted by SPACE10 and TU Delft collaboratively. SPACE10 is IKEA's research and design lab on a mission to create a better everyday life for people and the planet. As cities continue to grow however, and their demands increase in turn, water is one essential resource that comes under strain from growing populations. As the UN stated last year, “Water scarcity will be exacerbated as rapidly growing urban areas place heavy pressure on neighbouring water resources.”

In 2017, this situation became a reality for the hundreds of thousands of residents living in Cape Town. The South African capital was so close to facing a drought-induced water crisis, that the city was ready to turn off its water supply. However in a remarkable turn of events, the city created an action plan which turned fate around. In a mighty effort to raise awareness, the population managed to cut its water consumption. As a result, avoiding the dreaded shortage, known as ‘Day Zero’.

SPACE10 and TU Delft drew inspiration from this insightful case study for its new residency program. What happened in Cape Town was testament to how people can come together to protect their city from Day Zero, and the devastating effects of water scarcity. With this in mind, this innovative new two month residency asks how else we can use alternative water sources to ensure the crisis will never be a threat in the future.


SPACE10: Residency, Tanita-Klein, Bee Home Project, Photo by Niklas Adrian Vindelev (Copyright © SPACE10, 2021)

The residency will select three candidates to investigate this issue at hand. The brief asks each candidate to explore Day Zero in their own respective city, then translate their findings into visionary solutions that can be applied to the cities in the future. At the end of the residency, the participants will visually communicate their respective speculative futures for the city, focusing specifically on one of these three future water sources: seawater, rainwater or wastewater.

This exciting opportunity invites creatives from a range of backgrounds to apply. Hoping to bring together a diverse array of experiences and perspectives. If you have experience in speculative design, visual communication, illustration, the visual arts or storytelling, this residency could be for you. Looking to work with “independent, humble, optimistic, visionary and collaborative” people, the residency will also prioritise candidates with diverse points of view and different locations.

Candidates will have weekly collaborative digital sessions with SPACE10, TU Delft and other experts. Throughout the course of the two months, participants will receive guidance and mentorship, specifically from TU Delft who will offer its research and analysis skills to broaden the candidates knowledge. €4,000 will be paid per month per team/resident and financial support is also included, providing up to €2,000 for tools and materials for the final outcome.

To apply, you will need to write a three-page proposal outlining your concept based on one of the three future water solutions including ideas for the key visuals and a breakdown of timeline and budget. This proposal with serve as the foundation for the residency if successful. A portfolio is also required detailing two to three relevant projects. Lastly, a cover letter of 100 words max is also needed. This gives applicant’s a chance to introduce themselves, their values and motivations for the residency. Applications close at 11:59pm CET on 31 March 2021. If successful, interviews will be conducted from 15-23 April 2021 from 9am to 9pm CET. Good luck!


SPACE10: Residency, University Collaboration MIT, Nava Haghighi, Photo by Nikolaj Rohde (Copyright © SPACE10, 2021)


SPACE10: Bee Home, Photo by Irina Boersma (Copyright © SPACE10, 2021)


SPACE10: Residency, Katya and Thomas, Photo by Niklas Adrian Vindelev (Copyright © SPACE10, 2021)


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SPACE10: Water Residency, Photo by Mariola Grobelska, Unsplash (Copyright © SPACE10, 2021)

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