Fast Forward Competition for the Arts

Fast Forward Competition for the Arts

“Work is a transformative force in our society, and Art is also a powerful force for change – it inspires, and moves, people to act.”
ILO Director-General

Artists have supported ILO campaigns to promote decent work since the founding of the organization. To celebrate its centenary, the ILO Office in Harare is pleased to announce its first Competition for the Arts. Fast Forward: The Future of Work in a Green Economy aims to boost the creative economy in Zimbabwe and spark conversations with artists about new forces that are transforming the world of work..

The creative economy is valuable commercially and culturally. Between 2002 and 2015, it more than doubled, growing from $208 to $509 billion. A well-nurtured creative economy can be a source of structural economic transformation, socio-economic progress, job creation, and innovation while contributing to social inclusion and sustainable development.

Throughout history and across different cultures, art has often sought inspiration in the world of work – in sculpture, in painting, in literature, in music and in film. And art has also promoted, and celebrated, dignity, freedom, voice and justice – the very foundations of social justice.
ILO Director-General

Apply by filling out our application form*

What and why?

One of the new forces transforming the world of work is the greening of economies. According to the ILO World Employment and Social Outlook 2018, 24 million jobs could open up as we adopt sustainable practices and clean technologies. However, certain jobs will disappear as countries scale back their carbon and resource-intensive industries.

Workers will need to improve and diversify their skills to find new jobs. Younger generations must be ready to perform new, in-demand skills. To ensure that social progress is not set back by the transition to a greener economy, it is important to understand opportunities and risks.

Fast Forward: The Future of Work in a Green Economy invites artists from all over Zimbabwe to create artworks that express the changing world of work in a greener economy, as well as the challenges of a just and inclusive transition.

The objectives of the initiative are to:

  • Raise awareness among stakeholders about the future of work, emphasizing opportunities for young people, emerging businesses, technological progress, new skills, gender equality, and inclusion in the transition to a green economy
  • Engage and amplify the voices of artists to surface new insights that contribute to shaping the future world of work in Zimbabwe
  • Contribute to building the entrepreneurial capacity of artists to create sustainable enterprises


  • US $3,000 to the winners in each category, with a total US $15,000 prize fund
  • A training course on how to improve your artistic visibility and protect your intellectual property
  • Promotion through a group exhibition at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, as well as on the ILO and partners’ website and social media platforms.

When and how?

The national call for entries to ‘Fast Forward: The Future of Work Competition for the Arts’ is open from 8 July to 25 August 2019.

  • 30 artists will be shortlisted by 10 September 2019
  • Selected artists will produce their artworks between 10 September and 22 October 2019
  • All artworks will be exhibited at the prize awarding event w/c 27 October 2019
  • Prizes will be awarded to the winners under each category
  • Exhibitions will be organized in Zimbabwe between 2019 and 2020

Who can apply?

The Fast Forward Competition for the Arts will call for entries from rural and urban areas across Zimbabwe in the following categories:

  • Visual arts: paintings, illustrations, and photography
  • Performing arts: music
  • Literature: poetry
  • A combination of any of the above

How can I apply?

Application forms must be submitted no later than 25 August 2019. Entries submitted after the deadline will not be considered.

What’s next?

Shortlisting artists
30 artists will be shortlisted to participate in the official competition.

Shortlisted artists will be given between 10 September and 22 October 2019 to use their preferred art form to express a powerful idea or send an impactful message about the changing world of work.

To learn more about the key issues in the ILO’s future of work agenda, read the report by the ILO Global Commission on the Future of Work.

All 30 creative works will be exhibited at a public event to be held in Harare in October 2019.

Finalists will be notified by email and announced on the ILO website

A Special Committee will select the winners for each category over the course of two weeks. The Special Committee’s discretionary vote will be final and binding.

Awarding criteria include:

  • Interpretation and clarity of the theme to the viewer: 40%
  • Quality of artistic composition, based on the theme: 30%
  • Creativity and originality in the depiction of the theme: 30%

The winners of each category will be announced at the public exhibition in October 2019.

Further exhibitions of the artwork from all entries will be organized in Zimbabwe, and possibly abroad, between 2019 and 2020, in collaboration with UN agencies, development partners, and artistic and cultural institutions.

“The creative economy is not only one of the most rapidly growing sectors of the world economy, but also transformative in generating income, jobs and exports.”



June 25, 2019