Notice: Deadline extended!

The due date for applications to Insectopolis has been extended by two weeks. Applications can be submitted until February 15.

Insectopolis – Project grant for an artistic intervention into public space on insects in the city 

ISOE – Institute for Social-Ecological Research is awarding a project grant for the development and realization of an artistic work to be displayed in public space in Frankfurt am Main. The grant is part of the research project “SLInBio – Urban lifestyles and the valorization of biodiversity”.

The global decline in insect diversity is symptomatic of the profound planetary changes resulting from human activity, which have become the defining factor of the current geological era of the “Anthropocene”. But the definition of the Anthropocene also comprises the hope that man-made crises can in turn be shaped and overcome by humans. 

In order to stop the extinction of insects, the relationship between humans and insects must be realigned. Therefore, a fundamental social-ecological change is necessary. In cities in particular, however, there is a lack of places and opportunities for positive experiences and encounters with insect diversity. In urban environments, insects are usually excluded and exterminated. Their diversity remains invisible.

Against this background, the interaction of scientific work and artistic-aesthetic perspectives fosters new narratives regarding urban co-existence of humans and insects. The artistic approach holds the possibility of poetic and sensitive interpretations of nature and explores concepts for new relationships in the Anthropocene. In dialog with scientific research, artistic research scrutinizes established concepts, viewpoints and habits. 

“Thinking ecologically means attuning, perceiving, and doing what we know how to do differently, in different spaces, dimensions, relationships. This is what it is to be in the midst of a paradigm shift, to be actively living in the Anthropocene.” 
(Jill Benett, 2012, Living in the Anthropocene; dOCUMENTA (13): 100 Notes – 100 Thoughts #053)

Project grant and transdisciplinary accompanying program

ISOE invites artists from all disciplines based in the Rhine-Main region to submit project outlines for an artistic work to be displayed in public space in the city of Frankfurt am Main. Eligible are all formats and media that are suitable for public exhibition for a period of at least two weeks. The thematic focus for the artistic work is on relationships and the entangled habitats and living conditions of humans and insects in the city. The work should be intended as an artistic intervention into the city’s public discourse. The project proposals should operate at the interface of social-ecological and aesthetic issues and be open to a mutual integration between the arts and the sciences. 

The project grant includes the participation in a transdisciplinary setting. It offers the possibility to cooperate with researchers of the SLInBio network and the participating institutions such as Palmengarten Frankfurt or Senckenberg Natural History Museum.

The transdisciplinary research cooperation will take place between April and June 2024. The exhibition of the artistic work at a public location in the city of Frankfurt am Main will take place in July.

The grant recipient will be remunerated with a total amount of 5,000 Euro plus VAT. This compensates for conceptualization and research in cooperation with the researchers as well as for implementation and exhibition rights. In addition, a budget of 4,500 Euro for material expenses is provided for the realization of the project work in public spaces. 

Application deadline is January 31, 2024 (extended until February 15, 2024).

Artistic intervention into the urban discourse

The project proposal should focus on the perception of and interaction with insects in everyday urban life. The work should contribute to nurturing relationships between the urban population and insects and support a positive appreciation and a differentiated narrative of co-existence in the city.

The artistic work thus ties in with the SLInBio research project. The project examines the valorization of insects in the city in various private and public day-to-day practices and contributes to social transformation towards sustainability through interventions into urban discourses. The project instigates a variety of opportunities to arouse curiosity and interest in the topic of insects, thus facilitating a reflection on one’s own ideas and experiences with regard to insects. The project explores the effects that environmental education programs for schools, as well as citizen science activities or artistic interventions can exert on individual actions. 

For more about the SLInBio please go to:  

The location

The artistic work will be exhibited in the public realm in a chosen location in Frankfurt am Main in summer 2024. 

The search for possible locations is currently being conducted by the curation team. We are looking for locations in an urban context, i.e. with a high degree of ground sealing located in the built-up area of the city. Indoor installations are also conceivable provided there is good visibility to the outside and accessibility for the public. 

A presentation of possible locations will be submitted here at the beginning of January.

Update: Negotiations with possible hosts and locations have not come to a conclusion, yet. We are thus unable to publish any more specific information on the available locations at this point. We will inform about any new development on this website. We kindly ask applicants to keep their proposals open with regard to the spatial characteristics, and to adjust it to the given locations during the project phase.

Transdisciplinary dialog between art and science

The mutual integration of art and science is of particular importance for the project. Therefore, an openness of the design and the personal artistic practice should both be open for a transdisciplinary dialogue with researchers of the SLInBio project network. The artwork should ideally take into account current findings and perspectives from ISOE’s scientific research and, vice versa, enrich this knowledge by putting it into an artistic perspective. The curation team actively moderates and supports this dialogue by setting up formats for content-related discussion and mutual insight into the concepts and working methods of researchers and artists.

The artist participates in project meetings of the SLInBio network. They present their artistic practice to the researchers in a suitable format in consultation with the curation team. Additional formats for direct exchange with the researchers are organized and moderated through the curation team. A kick-off program of several days requiring the presence of the artist is planned for mid-April 2024 in Frankfurt.

Interdisciplinary curation team

The artistic curator Nina Queissner works as a freelance artist and curator in the field of contemporary art. She recently coordinated projects at Hochschule für Bildende Künste-Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main as well as the Festival der jungen Talente, under the umbrella of Hochschule für Gestaltung in Offenbach and Frankfurter Kunstverein. She has been a board member of the curatorial team of the nomadic art association Mañana Bold e.V. since 2022. 

The scientific curator Dr. Florian D. Schneider is a biologist and has been a research associate at ISOE – Institute for Social-Ecological Research in Frankfurt am Main since 2019. He conducts research on the transdisciplinary integration of scientific knowledge about biodiversity into social discourses and decision-making processes, with a particular focus on the valorization of insect diversity in the context of cities in the SLInBio research project. Since 2018, he has been involved in various collaborations with artists and designers. 

Conditions of participation

The call is aimed at artists from all disciplines. Artists of all origins and genders who live and work in the Rhine-Main region are eligible to apply.

Update: In response to many requests regarding the criterion of residency, we would like to elaborate. The project grant is meant to enable a close collaboration with researchers of the project SLInBio in Frankfurt am Main, for which  we consider it necessary to work locally. Further, we want to support a regional and sustainable network. The available budget is not suited to cover for extended travel and accomodation costs. Also, the amount of remuneration is considered to cover the effort for an artist working locally, excluding travel and accomodation.

Should you whish to apply for other personal circumstances that justify a close relation to the Rhine-Main Region or Frankfurt am Main, please explicate these in the application and include  any expenses for travel or accomodation in the budget draft. Applicants living or working in the Rhine-Main Region will be favored in the jury process.

The call is open in terms of form and medium of the artistic work. However, the format of the work must be suitable for physical-material or visual exhibition over a period of at least two weeks. When using materials, particular emphasis must be placed on the sustainable and conscientious use of resources. The creation of a completely new artwork is just as welcome as is the adaptation of an existing work. 

Application documents

  • Portfolio and curriculum vitae
  • Project outline: Visualization and conceptual description of the project proposal (maximum 5,000 characters)

In terms of content and methodology, the conceptual description should outline how the project idea relates to the research topics of SLInBio, how it refers to idea of intervention into public discourse and what makes it a transdisciplinary approach. 

Information on the various research topics (“work packages”) is available on the SLInBio website; 

The project outline should also give indications about the financial and logistical resources that are required. The need for external workshop space may entail additional costs, such as rent, that must be budgeted for. 

Please send your application documents (one PDF file, max. 10 MB) by January 31, 2024 (extended until February 15, 2024) to . Large file attachments should preferably be sent by file transfer (e.g.

Selection process

The submissions will be reviewed by a jury of experts from the arts and sciences and evaluated according to criteria of artistic quality and content relevance with regard to the topics of the SLInBio research project. The plausibility of the implementation considering the given budget will also be taken into account. The interdisciplinary curation team will make the final decision based on the jury’s shortlist. 


December 2023 – January 2024
Application stage: deadline for submissions is January 31, 2024 (extended until February 15, 2024). 

February 2024
Jury meeting and final decision by the curation team

April – May 2024
Conceptional stage: The transdisciplinary dialog between artists and researchers of the project’s network is supported and moderated by the curation team 

May – June 2024
Implementation phase: The conditions on site are prepared (permits, premises), the artist works on the realization of the artwork 

July 2024
Vernissage and exhibition: An opening event is advertised and held publicly. The exhibition period of at least two weeks is accompanied by a public program including an artist talk and guided tours

Remuneration and resources

The conceptualization and the realization of the selected proposal unfolds within the framework of a contract for work and services. A fee of € 5,000 plus VAT is intended to cover the design of the project and the cooperation with the researchers, the subsequent realization and presentation of the artistic work, the necessary content-related and organizational correspondence with the curation team as well as exhibition rights and rights of use to recordings of the work (image, sound, video). 

In addition, a budget for material costs of € 4,500 is made available. Included therein are transportation costs, room rental, exhibition technology, construction and consumable materials and, if necessary, remuneration for additional staff. The curation team supports the realization and logistics of the production. ISOE’s offers no workshop space. Any costs incurred for room rental or external workshop use must be taken into account as part of the material costs budget.

Travel costs, advertising material, event costs and other production costs will be borne by ISOE within the financial possibilities of the SLInBio project. Public relations work to promote the exhibition will be carried out by the ISOE communications team in cooperation with the BioFrankfurt network and the partner institutions of the SLInBio project.


ISOE – Institute for Social-Ecological Research is one of the leading non-university institutes for sustainability research based in Frankfurt am Main. For more than 30 years, the institute has been developing scientific foundations and sustainable concepts for politics, civil society and business. ISOE thus contributes to sustainable development and provides impulses for critical and sustainable science.

SLInBio is funded by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) as part of the BMBF research initiative for the conservation of biodiversity (FEdA) under the funding measure “BiodiWert – Valuing and safeguarding biodiversity in politics, business and society”.


Research Scientist
Scientific curator
Artistic curator
Artistic curator
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