The South African Square Kilometre Array Seeks Creative Partners For New Campaign


The SARAO Commercialisation Unit is starting an exciting campaign to partner with designers and artists who will use the images generated from MeerKAT and other radio astronomy instruments to produce artworks and other merchandise.

The theme of the project is “astronomy, science and technology meet heritage”, an African representation of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM), in the form of a fashion collection which includes shoes, accessories and other forms of art.

The South African Square Kilometre Array (SARAO) project includes the construction of the 64 Antenna Receptor MeerKAT radio telescope, a world-class instrument located in the Karoo, and which is a project of the Department of Science and Technology, executed through the National Research Foundation and SARAO South Africa, a business unit of the NRF. Information about the project is available here.

Astronomy has always been a fascination of man. From the beginning of civilisation, the eyes of man have wondered and used starlights for navigation, to tell the time and seasons for farming, but more significantly, to tell stories and project their heritage and culture in the sky.

Astronomy holds a very significant position in STEM, in that the sky is a lab for astrophysicists, and everyone who looks into the night sky is doing science. Hence it creates easy access to the general public and it provides visualisation to abstract concepts of physics and mathematics. Africa is the most diverse continent in the world and with one of the clearest skies in the world, many stories have been told and it would be great to harness the link between astronomy and culture in art and design.

SARAO is seeking to partner with designers and artists who can collaborate with SARAO to use the images generated from SARAO instruments, such as the MeerKAT telescope, to produce merchandise. SARAO aims to contribute to increasing economic activities locally through this project. Some of the images are available here.

The main task is to incorporate South African heritage with Astronomy, Science and Technology. This will also excite the public by presenting them with an African interpretation of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM).

The designers will make their own creative interpretation of radio astronomy in Africa and STEAM in general, in the form of art and design. This project will target local public and potential international markets, to inspire various age groups and particularly the youth, to gain an interest in science and technology through creative science communication.

The designs and craft that will come from this initiative should be able to communicate science in a creative form of art without any restrictions to the artist. The designers and artists who eventually partner with SARAO will have an opportunity to grow their marketing platforms and receive exposure to other international organisations afiliated with SARAO. Therefore, SARAO is requesting a proposal from designers and artists to produce merchandise inspired by SARAO’s images.

Any product that brings the organisation into disrepute, such as adult entertainment and military applications, are prohibited.

Information Sessions
The details for the information sessions which will be held in Johannesburg and Cape Town are as follows:

Place Date Time Venue
Cape Town 22nd of August, 2019 10:00am SARAO Office Cape Town
Johannesburg 23rd of August, 2019 10:00am SARAO Office Rosebank


Attendance is compulsory for all interested parties, kindly RSVP.

Deadline: 11:00 am, September 9, 2019. 

Read more about this opportunity at

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