Graphic Design for Development:

call for graphic designer/illustrator

Are you a graphic designer or illustrator? Would you like to make a difference in Senegal?

The Waaw residence is situated on the Saint-Louis island in the Senegal river, where the picturesque decay of the colonial architecture contrasts with the cultural expressions of modern West Africa.


But the post-colonial reality of Senegal is not only picturesque and colourful. Social development is hindered by the dominant position of French, a language not used or understood by the majority of the population. The status quo is upheld by the current elite and is rarely challenged. Wolof, the everyday idiom of urban Senegal, has a written standard, but the language is restricted to oral or informal domains and is not used as a medium of instruction in schools. While the advantages of mother tongue education have been scientifically proven all over the world, attitudes among Senegalese teachers and parents are not encouraging and there is a lack of study materials. Wolof is increasingly used in social media, but improvised French-based orthographies are inadequate and will not raise the status of the language.


Would you like to get involved and contribute to change? In order to response to the need for visually attractive material for awareness-raising and learning, we are looking for a graphic designer and/or illustrator to work together with Waaw staff and people active in the promotion of national languages. You would mainly design posters and similar promotional material for print and digital formats. The tasks would also involve illustration.


In addition, we offer another task which will also contribute to local development, namely map making. In Saint-Louis, there is a need for printed maps for visitors, particularly to promote local artist and craftspeople's shops. You could make use of existing print and online maps, using your own design. Waaw initiated a similar map project in 2016.


You would be given credit for your work and the copyright would be shared between you and Waaw, but this is, in principle, not a commercial project and you would therefore work on a volunteer basis (just like us at Waaw).


While in residence, you would have the opportunity to attend the Africadoc documentary film festival, which normally falls in December.


Duration of residency

We offer one residency stay with free lodging for the period 1-31 December 2018.



The Waaw residence offers simple single-room accommodation. See our residency page for details.


Studio/ workspace

Basic studio with tables and shelves, either for you alone or together with another Waaw artist. Internet connection is available.


Fees and support



Expectations towards the artist

Knowledge of French would be useful. Please bring necessary software and/or other equipment. You would share facilities with other international artists in residence at Waaw, and cover costs for travel and meals yourself.


Application information

Please send us an informal email and tell us about your past work and why you would like to come to Waaw for this residency. We would like to hear from you as soon as possible or by 20 June at the latest.


Selection process

Out of those who have indicated an interest, we will select one person and announce the result by 10 July.





The importance of sharing

Our aim is create opportunities for learning and for sharing work, thoughts and experiences with fellow residents, the Waaw host and visitors. Please be prepared to present your ongoing and previous work, and keep the host(s) informed about how your project is progressing. This includes taking part in the weekly meetings for residents and hosts.

Another aim of Waaw is to promote contacts and dialogue between resident artists and the host community. For this, respect for local culture is essential. Despite its cool appearance, Saint-Louis is neither a metropolis nor a beach resort for Westerners, but a fairly conservative town. Dress etiquette, rules of politeness and other social mores are important, and guests are asked to follow the advice of Waaw hosts in this field.

Your project

If you get selected for a residency, there will be others who are less lucky. We therefore expect you to take responsibility for your project and carry it out to the best of your ability. In order to avoid disappointment, please be realistic when you submit your project proposal. This is particularly important if you involve local institutions and individuals in your project. If you plan to travel in Senegal, we suggest you leave time for that after your scheduled residency period.

Insurance and medical matters

Waaw will take no liability for injury, illness, or loss of personal property or expenses thereof associated with residency participation.

Please have an international medical insurance and a third party insurance for all personal property and health. There is a hospital and a private clinic on the island, but for anything serious, you may have to be transported to Dakar for treatment. Please note that our resources for accompanying guests to hospital in the case of preventable illness, such as malaria, are limited: if you refuse to take malaria prophylaxis, you may reconsider your residency. If you suffer from a chronic condition or have reduced mobility, please let us know beforehand.


Waaw reserves the right to cancel a residency that is already taking place, based on reasons of inappropriate behaviour in any way towards other residents, hosts or town inhabitants. Complaints by others about a resident with such behaviour will be taken seriously and looked into.


On arrival at Waaw, you will be asked to sign a document where you agree to respect the points listed above. You will also be asked for a deposit of 100 euro to cover any damages to property.

Thank you for your understanding. 

ThankOn a