Open Call for Bioart Submissions

MIT Museum Seeks Bioart submissions for an upcoming Life Sciences exhibition

Submissions Accepted: May 26, 2020 – July 6, 2020

The MIT Museum welcomes proposals for existing or new works of art and design for its upcoming exhibition Altered Nature. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has been and continues to be a leader within the global network of organizations advancing genetic and genomic research. The opportunities and potential impacts of such research and its application as technology on society are vast. The Museum recognizes this as a unique opportunity to present an exhibition relating the stories of how the research has evolved while also providing a platform for artists and designers to interrogate the promises, ethics, and implications of what may be the defining technological revolution of the twenty-first century.

Among the exhibition’s aims is bringing local and international audiences into conversation with researchers and artists, to illuminate what is at stake. As we obtain the ever-more-precise ability to design biology, how does wielding it alter our shared definitions of life and nature? Relatedly, how can communities participate more in decision-making about research, biotechnology, and the distribution of responsibilities and risks arising from their use? We see how participation in shaping the ongoing digital revolution is limited and power-concentrated, leading to unintended consequences that include the loss of privacy and the spread of misinformation. Can the biotechnical revolution be better?

The exhibition will be organized around themes that follow the technical advances propelling genetic and genomic research, with concentrations in Sequencing, Synthesis, and CRISPR. There are not strict boundaries around these themes and there will be projects and installations that will undoubtedly reach across two or all of them. Other projects might challenge the premise of the call, or be realized as a performance, program, or other format not typically regarded as art or design. The exhibition also aims to showcase works that are the fruit of collaboration between an artist or designer and scientific researchers.

How to Apply: Send an email to with the title of the proposed work in the subject line. Please include the following content: 

  • Name and location of applicant(s)
  • Description of the work (200 words max.)
  • Description of the audience experience (200 words max.)
  • Biography of applicant (100 words max.)
  • Sponsors / affiliations (if applicable)
  • Exhibition history of the work (if applicable)
  • Proposed itemized budget
  • Images (1 image min., 5 images max.)
  • Combined artist portfolio and CV attachment (5 pages max.)
  • External Links (if applicable)

Submission max. size: 10 MB

Curatorial Team:

William Myers: Guest Curator, author of Bioart and Biodesign
Jacob Montz: Exhibit Developer, Life Sciences, MIT Museum
Bess Paupeck: Exhibit Developer, Art and Science, MIT Museum
Ann Neumann: Director of Galleries and Exhibitions, MIT Museum
Julia van den Hout: Guest Co-Curator


When and where will the exhibition be opened? In Spring of 2022 at the new facilities of the MIT Museum currently under construction at Kendall Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Who can apply? We welcome submissions from individuals, groups, and organizations from around the world. There are no requirements regarding education level, exhibition experience, or affiliations. We ask that you observe a limit of one application per person or group. The MIT Museum welcomes and values the diversity in culture, life experience, and opinions of all members of our community, as these differences fuel creative ideas and actions, which are the core of MIT’s educational mission. All complete applications will be considered, as our aim is to not only uphold MIT’s non-discrimination policies, but to create a genuinely inclusive environment.

What is the timeline for this Open Call? Submissions are due by 12 midnight PST on July 6, 2020. You will hear from us by September 1, 2020 about whether your application has been chosen for the shortlist. Final selections will be made before the end of 2020. Note that you may be asked for additional information if selected for the shortlist.

How much funding is available for a work? This is variable, but it may be helpful to consider the size of the exhibition space is approximately 4,000 square feet (372 square meters) and the museum intends to include up to thirty works in the exhibition.

Does the proposal need to reference MIT’s research or history? This is not required but will be appreciated, as it can make for more layered critical reflection or relevant storytelling in the exhibition.


Following a period of sustained growth in its existing location at 265 Massachusetts Avenue, The MIT Museum’s efforts are well underway in the exciting and formative work to determine its future in a new location at Kendall Square as part of the larger MIT capital project. With construction of the seventeen-story tower to be completed by the fall of 2020, the Museum will be relocating in 2022 to 56,000 square feet on the first, second, and third floors of the new building, opening to the public in early 2022. The reimagined MIT Museum will provide a place of arrival and welcome for MIT’s many visitors and promises to be a dynamic cultural presence for the Institute in a world-leading innovation district.

Our Mission The MIT Museum engages the wider community with MIT’s science, technology, and other areas of scholarship in ways that will best serve the nation and the world in the twenty-first century. 

Our Museum In support of MIT’s mission, the MIT Museum is uniquely positioned, looking inwards to the breadth of MIT and outwards to address the compelling questions of our time in new ways. The MIT Museum presents knowledge being put into practice, provides a forum for the exchange of ideas, acts as a catalyst to affect our understanding of the world, and encourages our capacity to instigate change. The Museum presents art, science, and history as methods of inquiry, for they have the power to frame and re-frame problems. A place of action, the Museum thrives on engagement with visitors, contributing to new knowledge, and making problem solving an act of discovery and of innovation.   

Anticipated to open in early 2022, the relocated MIT Museum will be a vital cultural presence in the heart of Kendall Square, where it will serve as a meeting ground, a public forum, and a point of intersection for communities within and beyond the walls of MIT.  

Our Audience The Museum’s key target audiences are: 

  1. MIT faculty, staff, students and alumni 
  2. Adults, including college students and scholars 
  3. Visitors to MIT from around the world 
  4. Middle- and high-school students and their teachers 
  5. Local communities, including traditionally underserved audiences