“Hustle is embodied by success as well as struggle, making it an unofficial rallying cry for the city and a fitting theme for SGLD’s inaugural exhibition in the summer of 2018,” said Troy Livingston, Director, Science Gallery Lab Detroit. “Choosing a theme that was locally relevant but globally applicable was a priority for us in our first open call,” he said.

“Historically, Detroit has symbolized both the American dream and blue collar grit. Detroiters are resilient and they work to overcome when faced with issues.”

The exhibition will explore what psychology, sociology, biology, criminology, behavioral economics, technology, and other domains can tell us about hustling and being hustled, although those prompts are just starting points to provoke thought.

Proposals should match SGLD’s three core aims to connect, participate, and surprise, and have relevance to its core audience of 15 to 25 year olds. Works should invite visitors to participate, create, and discuss. Formats are not restricted to physical artifacts. Projects may range from sculptures or installations to ideas for events and workshops.

“You don’t have to be an artist or scientist by trade to submit a proposal for HUSTLE,”  Livingston said.

“Anyone can submit. We welcome collaborations across disciplines, and sometimes we can even help facilitate those collaborations. If you have an idea, but you’re looking for a connection, start a conversation with us through the open call platform.”

Curators of the open call include  Scott Campbell, a visual artist and a Ford Curatorial Fellow at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD), Ava Ansari, independent curator with Poetic Societies, Troy Livingston, Director of Science Gallery Lab Detroit, and Mark Sullivan, Professor of Music at Michigan State University.

What can psychology, sociology, biology, criminology, behavioral economics, technology, and other domains tell us about hustling and being hustled? Why does hustling make us feel an entire range of emotions from celebrating our success, to anxiety about “making it,” to shame for being taken advantage of, to apologies for how we try to make ends meet? What does hustle mean to you?

Potential directions and topics:

  • Examinations of the ways we think about and behave to get, save, and spend money
  • Economics
  • Pyramid and Ponzi schemes
  • Blockchain, cryptocurrency, and the past, present, and the future of money
  • Explorations of how we compete or collaborate
  • Utopian possibilities such as egalitarian systems of exchange, non-exploitive currency systems, or systems based on cooperation and sharing
  • The politics and biases of the hustle: why are some considered swindlers and others considered heroes?
  • How does fame change the perception of hustle?
  • Activism, social projects, and community-building.
  • How is hustling a learned behavior? Do environments in childhood, culture, or community shape or contribute to this behavior?
  • What circumstances make it more or less likely that we’ll be honest or dishonest?
  • Income inequality, poverty, and living wages.
  • Whether systems, structures, and cultural norms can advantage or disadvantage us.
  • How do spheres of influence affect your economic opportunity?
  • How scarcity and abundance influence our thinking and behavior.
  • The physiology and psychology of hustling.
  • How do different cultures deal with the idea of hustle?
  • Examinations of the systems that are responsible for controlling and distributing money at the personal, family, community, national, and international level.
  • What will hustling look like in the future as the 4th Industrial Revolution marches on?
  • How have technologies changed our hustles and how might they change them in the future?

Ask questions! If you’re unsure about an aspect of your proposal, please use the comments section below or email info@detroit.sciencegallery.com.

Curatorial Panel

  • Ava Ansari, Independent Curator, Poetic Societies
  • Scott Campbell, Visual Artist and Ford Curatorial Fellow at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit
  • Troy Livingston, Director, Science Gallery Lab Detroit
  • Mark Sullivan, Professor of Music, Michigan State University


Proposals may be new or existing works, and will be funded up to a maximum budget of $3,300, which should include all artist fees, materials, equipment, shipping, travel, etc. Please note that these are maximum amounts and we enthusiastically welcome proposals that come in below the maximum budget. We are happy to write letters of support for applicants seeking funding from elsewhere if your work is selected.

What makes a good Science Gallery Lab Detroit open call proposal?

  • Strong proposals will match Science Gallery Lab Detroit’s three core aims to Connect, Participate, and Surprise. Some tips for strong proposals:
  • We love works that invite the visitor to participate, create and discuss.
  • Great projects bring together art and science in a creative way. We generally avoid science that is evaluating art or paintings that didactically portray science
  • ​Relevance to our core audience of 15- to 25-year-olds is a factor in all curatorial decisions.
  • Defying categories is good (“it’s kind of a hybrid sculpture, event, installation-puzzle, with a crowdsourced edible citizen-science archive, plus a performance component that will showcase a speculative future organism…”)
  • We have limited wall space, so we usually have more room for objects/sculptures.
  • A true connection to the theme is a must — avoid shoehorning an unrelated work. Hustle takes many forms but the concept is universal, and our call is open to everyone. Projects do not need to be from Detroit-based artists or Detroit-themed.
  • ​Collaborations are great! Are you a cryptographer working with a cellist? Maybe you’re a comic book illustrator artist thinking of submitting a proposal with an immunologist? If you’re a marine geologist looking for a cheesemonger to work with, we might know just the person — get in touch and we will do what we can to help.

Deadline for applications: December 15, 2017, at 5p.m. EST.

Provisional exhibition dates are early June 2018 through late August 2018. The exhibition will be free and open to the public.

SGLD is the first Science Gallery Lab in the Americas, developed in partnership with Michigan State University. SGLD aims to unlock the creative potential of 15-to-25 year olds by taking emerging research and ideas from the worlds of art, science, design, and technology, and presenting them in connective, participative, and surprising ways. The pioneering Science Gallery was developed at Trinity College Dublin in 2008.

Before making a submission please make a profile here to create an account. Making an application to participate in a Science Gallery season is simple, to get started:

  1. Login or create an account.
  2. Browse the upcoming and open calls.
  3. Create a new submssion.

More details can be found here: https://opencall.sciencegallery.com/hustle