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12 March 2024


Today, more than 55% of people on the planet live in cities, making the urban environment primary habitat of humankind. By 2050, this percentage is expected to increase to 68%. Bulgaria is no exception to this trend. With rapid construction, slow regeneration, and tentative steps to adopt sustainable solutions, nature in cities is increasingly left behind, shackled in concrete, iron, plastic and harmful emissions.

With this contest, we challenge you to defend our right to live in balance with nature and its inhabitants.

If your passion is drawing, photography or writing and you have the inner flame to inspire through your art, then we invite you to


enter the Socially Engaged Art Competition



Deadline: 31 May 2024


Through the language of your art, tell compelling stories of activism that cares for rivers, soil, and air, protects forests, protects urban biodiversity.

In developing your creative idea, you have freedom to:

  • showcase your vision for green cities of the present and future;
  • document the collective efforts of civil society organizations and activist movements fighting for urban ecology;
  • experiment with creative ideas and solutions for nature conservation, applicable in the Bulgarian context;
  • utilize materials or transform resources for an art installation that would contribute to illustrate your message in photographic, artistic or literary work.

Your artwork can reflect real events or incidents from urban areas, meetings with civil society organizations, volunteers, activists for the green cause or be entirely a figment of your imagination.


Why it is important: Living in an ecologically balanced environment is a basic human right, also recognized by the Bulgarian Constitution. According to Article 55 of the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria, "citizens have the right to a healthy and favourable environment in accordance with established standards and regulations. They are obliged to protect the environment."

We are sure that you too are among those activists for whom human rights are an ideal and not a given, nature is a value and not a landscape, and you have the willingness to speak about important issues in the creative language that is your super power.


 We can't wait to see your inspiration!



  • Apply for the seventh edition of the Civic Alarm Clock competition: 5 March - 31 May 2024.
  • Online voting on the competition's Facebook page: 20 May - 20 June 2024.
  • Festival of art and rights “CIVIL ALARM’’ in the framework of Sofia Rivers 2024 and award ceremony: 31 August 2024.
  • Exhibition of selected works from the competition in NPC Park Space, KINO & BAR CABANA Summer Stage: 22 August - 5 September 2024.



1) Candidates for participation in the competition can be: Bulgarian and foreign authors, over 14 years of age.

2) Applicants are not required to have professional creative experience. Works by established authors are accepted, and the participation of artists who are at the beginning of their creative career is encouraged.

3) Each author can submit up to 5 works for participation in each of the 3 categories: "Photography", "Illustration" and "Text".

4) Applicant photographs, illustrations and texts must be original works that explore and reflect the assigned theme:, "Activism in Action: the Power to Save Urban Nature".

5) It is a requirement that the works have not been awarded or published in another competition.

6) Works created entirely using AI image or content generation tools are not eligible for the contest.

7) In the "Photography" category, the following are accepted: 

  • professional photographs
  • amateur photography

8) In the "Illustration" category, the following are accepted:

  • illustrations 
  • drawings 
  • posters 
  • painting
  • graphic images
  • collages
  • typographic works
  • comics

9) In the "Text" category, we accept:

  • essays of up to 1,000 words 
  • poetry texts up to 1,000 words 
  • prose texts up to 1,000 words 

10) The application must include:

  • Two names, email and phone number to contact the author/author collective
  • Age of the author/author team
  • Category of the work/series of works
  • Title of the work/series of works, respectively of each individual work (when not in a series)
  • Message of the work - up to 50 words
  • A brief history of the work/ series of works - when it was created and what provoked the author/author team to create it
  • Consent, respectively disagreement of the author/author collective to publish the work/work series on the Facebook page of the competition for audience voting.

11) The deadline for submissions is: 5 May 2024 (end of the day)

10) The authors whose works are awarded in the competition and classified for inclusion in the exhibition should authorize and expressly grant to the Bulgarian Center for Not-for-Profit Law - organizer of the competition "Civic Alarm Clock" 2024 - the royalty-free right to use the author's works for the promotion of the results of the competition and distribution of the works for non-commercial purposes through the exhibition and the image bank for free use by third parties.


Important: The Bulgarian Center for Not-for-Profit Law made a preliminary selection of the received applications for their compliance with the theme and the rules of the competition. Works that do not meet the conditions of the competition, damage the good name of the organizer, incite violence or hate speech will not be allowed to be evaluated by the jury, as well as for public voting.

Important: The Bulgarian Center for Not-for-Profit Law does not distribute or promote in any way author's works not ranked by the jury, received at the application stage, whose authors have indicated in the application form their express disapproval of their works being published on the competition's Facebook page for audience voting.



Step 1: You must fill out this  >> APPLICATION FORM << (it's in Bulgarian)

Step 2: You send YOUR ORIGINAL ARTWORK in jpg, png, pdf or word format as attachments to the email:, contact person: Aylin Yumerova.

* If the files are larger than 10 MB, we encourage you to send them via a free sharing platform (e.g.,,,

Important: If not created in a digital environment, entries in the "Illustration" category should be digitized as photographs or scanned.



The works in the three competition categories will be judged by an expert jury of professionals and cultural figures in the fields of fine art, photography and literature. The judging process will be done in collaboration with a professional ecologist and a green expert of experience.

Jury in the ILLUSTRATION category

Velina Mavrodinova - co-founder and long-time creative director of Enthusiasm – the leading branding company. With her 30 years of experience as a graphic designer, art director and illustrator, she is behind the construction of some of the most popular brands on the Bulgarian market, successfully established on international markets as well.

Rozalina Burkova - visual artist, illustrator and animation director, worked for brands and organizations such as the New York Times, Human Rights Watch, NBC, Tate Modern, Washington Post and Gucci, as well as for various social causes and projects focus on responsible attitude towards nature, women's rights and the fight against gender stereotypes.

Vesela Dancheva - director and producer of short animated films, the main engine of the Kompot Collective platform and lecturer in animation at New Bulgarian University and National Academy of Arts. She has been professionally engaged in animation since 2001 when she completed her education at the Willem de Kooning Academy of Art, Rotterdam and specialized at the School of Visual Arts, New York. After returning to Bulgaria in 2006 creats  Kompot Collective together with Ivan Bogdanov, where they brought together artists with a diverse visual language and an affinity for animation. Over the years, the collective has produced dozens of author's animated films which have been awarded and selected at national and international film festivals around the world.


Jury in the PHOTOGRAPHY category

Nadezhda Pavlova - curator of Synthesis Gallery. She has been interested in photography for over 20 years, initially as an author and later as a curator and historian. In recent years the focus of her research has been photobooks. Nadezhda leads a course on "History of Photography in Bulgaria" at the National Academy of Arts, where she is currently a doctoral student.

Miroslav Marinov - freelance photographer, photography teacher and founder of the Sofia School of Photography.

Alexander Nikolov - visual journalist and digital person, author of the multimedia documentary story "The Last Gift of Man". He is the winner of the awards Journalist of the Year 2021, Site of the Year 2021, BG Press Photo, etc. He is a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society of the United Kingdom.  He works as a communications expert at the Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation.


Jury in the TEXT category

Zornitsa Hristova - writer, translator and journalist. Since 2010 she has been running the publishing house Tochitsa and since 2020 the children's news website Look. She graduated from St. She graduated from the University of St. Kliment Ohridski and specialized at Oxford University. Winner of various national awards.

Stefan Ivanov - poet, culturologist historian and doctor of philosophy, author of poetry collections, resident playwright of the National Theatre of Luxembourg (2018). He is the co-authored, with Ivan Dobchev, the play Medea - My Mother, which won the Icarus Award (2013) for Best performance, and his play Same Day was produced in New York at LPAC (2017). In 2019, the short animated film ‘’Tasks for the Day’’, based on his poem of the same name, is Bulgaria's official Oscar submission.

Lyudmil Iliev - Lyudmil Iliev is a professional journalist with 13 years of experience in the prestigious media "Sega". He covers political life, the work of the National Assembly, civil events of a political nature. He graduated in Political Science at Sofia University "St. He holds a Master's degree in International Relations and National Security. He has worked in the press centre of the National Assembly and in the Political Affairs Directorate of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He believes that active citizens are the basis for democratic public life and national well-being.


Experts in the field of environmental protection with advisory participation in the jury

Rumiana Ivanova - ecologist, master in ecological modelling and expertise, ornithologist by vocation. For over 25 years she has worked as an expert at the Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation, which has made an important contribution to the establishment and management of the system of protected areas in Bulgaria.

Rada Boneva - content creator, blogger and podcaster, known online as Thrift Sheep. Nature lover and conservationist, conduit of useful content in accessible Bulgarian. She is an ambassador of the European Climate Pact and the Slow Fashion Movement.

Important:  When evaluating the applications, the jury will consider how far:

  • The artwork/series of works meets the objectives of the competition.
  • The work/series of works is original and does not copy existing works.
  • The work/series of works has a pronounce artistic value and compositional integrity/completeness. 
  • The creative content is clear, conveys clear messages and draws a parallel to the theme "Activism in Action: The Power to Save Urban Nature".
  • The theme is presented in an original and attractive way.
  • Through the work/series of works, a commitment, understanding and attitude towards the content and importance of the right to a healthy and favourable environment is expressed.



The best deserve an award and an extra incentive to develop! That is why the most impactful and related works will also receive a financial prize from the contest fund.

With our fundraising campaign until 1 July 2024, we aim to raise 15,000 BGN for the prize fund of the competition, for the organisation of the award ceremony during the rights and art festival and for the sustainability of BCNL's human rights work.

The amount of the prize fund will be distributed in the form of cash prizes among the 9 authors with the best and most inspiring works, awarded by the jury in "First Place", "Second Place" and "Third Place".

A wider selection of works will be presented in an outdoor exhibition in front of the KINO & BAR CABANA Summer Stage in the NPC Park Space in Sofia, from 22 August to 5 September 2024, and promoted in an online exhibition. The winning works will be published in an online image bank for free use on the BCNL website.

Important: The Bulgarian Center for Not-for-Profit Law will enter into an individual prize agreement with each author who wins a cash prize. Contract period: September 2024.


Be an advocate for the green cause - support the creative activists of the contest "Civic Alarm Clock" vol.7



While the expert jury judges the entries, the public will also be able to vote for their favourites. From 20 May until 20 June 2024, 23:59, online voting will run on the contest's Facebook page. The artworks that receive the highest number of shares in their category ("Photography", "Illustration", "Literature") will be awarded the "People's Choice" prize and their authors will receive symbolic prizes.



Our mission as the Bulgarian Center for Not-for-Profit Law (BCNL) is to help people associate freely and be civically active. As part of this mission, we organize the non-traditional socially engaged art competition "Civic Vigil" and connect the world of art with the world of rights. We have been doing this for 7 years because we truly believe that through the power of art we can defend our rights. So far, over 560 artists with more than 1,500 works have used the megaphone of art to fight social injustices and celebrate the triumph of civil rights

"Because the more we realise the importance of civil liberties and democratic values, the more compassionate we will be in limiting them and the more committed we will be to preserving them."



If you have any questions about applying, you can email us at:, contact person: Aylin Yumerova, BCNL Program Director.