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Create a story about "ASSOCIATED - the force of being TOGETHER" in CIVIC ALARM CLOCK 5 competition

9 February 2022

14 years. That amount of years were necessary for Davinci to complete the most famous and recognizable painting in the world - Mona Lisa. Or at least, this is one of the theories, but of course no one can confirm the period for sure. What do we mean by that? Good things take time. Art takes time. Inspiration, muse, impetus are needed. You need to find the most eloquent way to talk about what excites, angers and drives you. This is the driving force of art.

And now imagine what would happen if you harnessed this force and turned it into an instrument of change. A tool to awaken the civic consciousness and call out to it: "Hey, it's time for a change. Let's achieve it TOGETHER!”

This is the hidden idea behind this year's edition of the competition for socially engaged art CIVIC ALARM CLOCK 2022 - the desire to show what it means to be together, united around one cause, associated!

If you are creative and engaged in photography, drawing or writing texts, we are pleased to invite you to participate in the fifth edition of the


CIVIC ALARM CLOCK competition!


Get involved and tell us through your art form what the power of being TOGETHER looks like to you. The right to associate is one of our most important civil rights, which allows us to face injustice and TOGETHER to do what is necessary to move the world for the better. We are sure that you are one of those ardent activists for whom human rights are an ideal, not a given, and you are ready to speak on important topics in the creative language that has long been best for you.

For starting points of the creative process, use the following questions and look for their answers out there - among people and causes:

>> Why is the right of association crucial to show that we are a united society? What does the violation of this right of ours look like?

>> What does unity mean and where does the strength to be TOGETHER come from? Look for examples among civil organizations and volunteer groups. And share it!

>> Does it make sense to associate around common ideas, goals and causes? Show us your meaning!

We can't wait to see your unique perspective on the subject. Author's works can be based on real examples of events, meetings, conversations with civil society organizations and much more, which has managed to inspire you to think and create on the topic.

  • The competition will be open for participation from February 1 to April 10, 2022, incl. (see below the rules, forms and who can participate).
  • In May, the works will be evaluated by a professional jury (see who the people on the jury are below). While the jury evaluates, the audience will be able to nominate on Facebook the best works in each of the 3 categories. Voting will be open from April 15 to May 15 (voting rules are listed down below).
  • The authors of the works from the three categories, rated "First place", "Second place" and "Third place" by the jury, as well as those who received the special award "The Audience Choice" as a result of the online voting, will be awarded with a cash prize from the prize fund** of the competition, as well as with other symbolic prizes (see at the end of the announcement more about our campaign for raising the prize fund).
  • On the 19th of June at the CIVIC ALARM CLOCK Festival vol.2 at the Toplocentrala, Sofia, we will award the distinguished authors, and their works will be presented in an open-air exhibition in the garden in front of the Ivan Vazov National Theater from June 21 to July 5 and distributed in an online exhibition.



Apply for the CIVIC ALARM CLOCK 2022 competition - February 1 - April 10, 2022

Online voting on the Facebook page of the competition - April 15 - May 15, 2022

CIVIC ALARM CLOCK Festival vol.2, awarding of winners, concerts, workshops, space for communication and creation - June 19, 2022

Exhibition of selected works from the competition in front of the National Theater "Ivan Vazov" - June 21 - July 5, 2022



  • Applicant photographs, illustrations and texts must be copyrighted works that explore and / or reflect the theme "ASSOCIATED - the force of being TOGETHER".
  • Each author can submit up to 5 works to participate in each of the 3 categories.
  • Professional photography and amateur photography are accepted in the "Photography" category.
  • The "Illustration" category includes drawings, paintings, illustrations, graphics, collages, typography and comics.
  • Essays, poetry and prose texts are accepted in the "Text" category. Maximum text volume: 1,500 words.
  • The application must be accompanied by:
  • Two names, email and telephone number for contact with the author / author team;
  • Category of the work / series of works;
  • Title of the work / series of works;
  • Argumentation of the creative idea (maximum 100 words);
  • A short history of the work / series of works - when it was created and what provoked the author / author team to create it;
  • Consent, resp. disagreement of the author / author's team for publishing the work / series of works on the Facebook page of the competition for voting by the public.
  • Authors whose works have been awarded in the competition and ranked for inclusion in exhibitions should allow and explicitly provide the Bulgarian Center for Not-for-Profit Law - organizer of the competition CIVIC ALARM CLOCK 2022 - the gratuitous right to use copyrighted works to promote the results of the competition and distribution of works for non-commercial purposes through exhibitions and the bank with images for free use by third parties.

Important: The Bulgarian Center for Not-for-Profit Law will make a preliminary selection of the received applications for their compliance with the topic 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 admitted to evaluation by the jury, as well as for public voting.

Important: The Bulgarian Center for Not-for-Profit Law does not use, distribute or promote in any way unclassified by the jury works received at the application stage, whose authors in the application form have noted their explicit disagreement with their works to be published on the Facebook page of the competition for voting by the public.



Bulgarian and foreign authors can take part in the competition. Works by established authors are accepted, as well as we encourage the application of artists who are at the beginning of their creative career. Participants do not have to have professional creative experience or their works have been exhibited or published elsewhere.



To enter the competition, you must complete the following APPLICATION FORM

Digital copies of copyrighted photographs, illustrations and texts are sent in the following format: jpg, png, pdf or word - as attachments or, if larger than 5 MB, via a link to download files from a free sharing platform (e.g.;;;

The application form and the attached works are sent to e-mail:, contact person - Aylin Yumerova.

Deadline for applications: April 10, 2022, inclusive.



It is a great honor for us this year as well to include among the expert jury prominent professionals and cultural figures in the respective category:

Jury in PHOTOGRAPHY Category

  • Nadezhda Pavlova - curator of the 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 is leading a course in "History of Photography in Bulgaria" at the National Academy of Arts, where she is currently a PhD student.
  • Miroslav Marinov – freelance photographer, photography teacher and founder of Sofia School of Photography.
  • Alexander Nikolov – visual journalist and digital artist, author of the multimedia documentary story "The Last Gift of Man". He is the winner of the BHC Journalist of the Year 2021 Awards, Site of the Year 2021, BG Press Photo and others. He is a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society of the United Kingdom. He works as a communication expert at the Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation.

Jury in ILLUSTRATION Category

  • Velina Mavrodinova – co-founder and longtime creative director of Enthusiasm - a leading branding company. With 30 years of experience as a graphic designer, art director and illustrator, she is behind the construction of some of the leading and very popular brands on the Bulgarian market, successfully established in international markets.
  • Rozalina Burkova - visual artist, illustrator and animation director, she has worked for brands and organizations such as the New York Times, Human Rights Watch, NBC, Tate Modern, Washington Post and Gucci, as well as various social causes and projects with a focus on responsible attitude towards nature, women's rights and the fight against gender stereotypes.
  • Vesela Dancheva - director and producer of animated films, assistant in the Department of Cinema, Advertising and Show Business, NBU. She completed her education in Rotterdam, specialized in New York, and earned a master's degree in Sofia. In 2008, together with Ivan Bogdanov, they founded a platform for the production of animated films Compote Collective, uniting a network of authors with a unique visual style. The team produces dozens of original animated films, selected at festivals around the world and highly valued in the animation industry nationally and internationally.

Jury in TEXT Category

  • Veselina Sedlarska - journalist with 40 years of experience in the field. She has worked in the newspapers "Slivensko Delo", "Chernomorski Far", "Trud", "Standart" and "Novinar", in Radio Free Europe, in Tema magazine and in the commentary website Reduta. She has written six books: "I Dreamed of the Mississippi", "Noah's Passengers", "The Well", "Bulgaria for Beginners", "Depression Loves Me" and the collection of short stories "Hungry Hearts". She is a winner of journalistic awards. She has edited some of the most popular Bulgarian novels published by Ciela Publishing House. She also works as a translator of English books.
  • Стефан Иванов – poet, culturologist and doctor of philosophy, author of poetry collections, resident playwright of the National Theater of Luxembourg (2018). He is a co-author, together with Ivan Dobchev, of the play "Medea - my mother", which won "Icarus" (2013) for best performance, and his play "The same day" was staged in New York at LPAC (2017). In 2019, the short animated film "Tasks of the Day", based on his poem of the same name, is an official proposal of Bulgaria for an Oscar.
  • Зарина Василева – journalist, winner of the prestigious award "Journalism for Development - 2020". She is currently a PhD student at Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski ” with a study on the effectiveness of the implementation of social causes in the online environment. 



While the expert jury evaluates the works, the audience will also be able to choose their favorites. From April 15 to May 15, 2022, at 23:59, an online voting will take place on the Facebook page of the CIVIC ALARM CLOCK. The works that received the highest number of shares in their category ("Photography", "Illustration", "Text") will be awarded the "The Audience Choice" award, and their authors will receive a cash prize from the prize fund** of the competition and symbolic prizes.

The official rules for voting for "THE ADIENCE CHOICE" award - download



The best artists deserve an award and an additional incentive for development! That is why the most influential and related works will receive a financial award from the competition fund.

The amount will be distributed in the form of cash prizes for the 12 authors of the most exciting works, awarded by the jury of "First place", "Second place", "Third place" and selected after online voting with "The Audience Choice" award in each of the three categories, as follows:

In Photography category

  • First place: BGN 400
  • Second place: BGN 300
  • Third place: BGN 200
  • The Audience Choice" award: BGN 100

In Illustration category

  • First place: BGN 400
  • Second place: BGN 300
  • Third place: BGN 200
  • The Audience Choice" award: BGN 100

In Text category

  • First place: BGN 400
  • Second place: BGN 300
  • Third place: BGN 200
  • The Audience Choice" award: BGN 100


With the additional funds from the prize fund, we will support the creative process for recreating  a visual work selected by the Bulgarian Center for Not-for-Profit Law into an art installation dedicated to the power of civil association. It will be presented at a key location in Sofia, carrying the message - the right to associate is one of our most important civil rights, because it allows us to face injustice and TOGETHER to do what is necessary to move the world for the better.


We have prepared great symbolic prizes for each author of a work awarded in the competition - a set of bandana scarf and canvas bag with the design vision of the CIVIC ALARM CLOCK, as well as a card with the awarded work and more surprises.

A wider selection of works will be presented in an open-air exhibition in the capital's garden in front of the Ivan Vazov National Theater from June 21 to July 5 2022, as well as promoted in an online exhibition. The awarded works will be published in an image bank for free use of images on the BCNL website.

Important: The Bulgarian Center for Not-for-Profit Law will conclude an individual award contract with each author who has won a cash prize. Period for concluding the contracts: end of June - beginning of July 2022.



In less than 2 months, with the support of generous donors, we raised the necessary funds for the cash prizes for the best illustrators, photographers, poets and storytellers in the Civic Alarm Clock vol.5 competition! And not only that, but we even managed to exceed the target amount - we raised BGN 3,900!

This success would not have been possible without the support of 11 donors - activists, colleagues, partners, friends - who believed in the cause of the Bulgarian Center for Not-for-Profit Law, stood by us and became our ambassadors for good. In the name of art that protects civil liberties!


Dear donors, thank you from the bottom of our heart for helping us turn our dream into reality!



The organizer of the CIVIC ALARM CLOCK competition is the Bulgarian Center for Not-for-Profit Law Foundation (BCNL). Our mission is to support the people in Bulgaria to associate freely and be civilly active. We have been doing this for more than 20 years. For us, the association and civil society organizations are more than valuable - they are the engine of civil society.

Therefore, it is especially important for us that more and more people recognize the civil organizations around us, be sympathetic to their causes, volunteer and trust the strength to be together. We believe that those who have mastered the power of art are called to be ambassadors of the good that foundations, associations, community centers and boards of trustees create every day.

With this idea five years ago we launched the CIVIC ALARM CLOCK - a competition for artists who want to raise the topic of civil liberties and the opportunity to associate, to speak freely, to protest. So far, over 360 Bulgarian and foreign authors have taken part in the four editions. We received more than 733 illustrations, comics, poems, essays, short stories, journalistic materials, photographs, photo stories. All these creative works had one main message: We are free, we have rights and they are important to us!

Last year alone, we awarded 17 talented authors, and 11 of them received cash prizes. The prize fund of BGN 2,250 was provided thanks to the generous support of activists, art connoisseurs, friends and partners within the BCNL donation campaign.

Well, did we manage to inspire you? Did you have an idea what to tell us? Did you think of a place to look for an interesting event and decide to embark on this new creative adventure? Great!

We are expecting you!


The competition is realized with the financial support of the America for Bulgaria Foundation



The author of the title illustration "I do not see, I do not hear, I do not speak" is Gabriela Taneva, awarded in the "Illustration" category at the "Civic Alarm Clock" 2018 competition.