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OSI production grant for central asian photographers

The Open Society Institute Documentary Photography Project and Arts and Culture Program announce a grant opportunity for documentary photographers from Central Asia, the Caucasus, Afghanistan, Mongolia, and Pakistan. Approximately 20 grants in the amount of $3,500 each will be awarded to photographers to produce a discrete body of work on a current human rights or social justice issue in the region. Grantees will also be assigned an internationally recognized photographer as a mentor to work with in workshops at the beginning and end of the grant and throughout the grant term.

The aim of the Documentary Photography Project is to support creative work that uses photography as a means of critically exploring current social problems. The project priorities are to support photographers who address the following questions:

  • How can photography support efforts to promote human rights and social justice?
  • How can photographers develop effective partnerships with organizations that work to promote social justice and human rights?
  • Within the conditions of a particular national cultural space, how can documentary photographers develop innovative ways to exhibit work that addresses problems related to the creation of open societies?

Grant Description

The grant is being offered to:

  • visually document issues of importance in the region; and
  • support local photographers.

Grant: Approximately 20 grants in the amount of $3,500 each will be awarded to photographers to produce a discrete body of work on a proposed topic.

Mentorship and Workshops: Grantees will also be assigned an internationally recognized photographer as a mentor throughout the grant period. Mentors and grantees will participate in two workshops. The first workshop, at the beginning of the grant term, will consist of portfolio review, shooting and editing, discussion of proposed projects, and technical requirements/issues.The second workshop, at the end of the grant period, will consist of preparing a final edit of the projects and examining options for the continuation of the project and the distribution of the work.

Workshops will last for five days each and will be held in Central Asia and the Caucasus. Translation will be provided if necessary. All workshop expenses, including travel and accommodations, will be paid by OSI.

Collaboration: Cooperation with other Open Society Institute programs will be encouraged.

  • The competition is open to photographers from the following countries: Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
  • Preference will be given to applicants who currently reside in their home country. Exceptions will be made for applicants from Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan living outside their home country.
  • Applicants from other countries may also be eligible if they can demonstrate a long-term commitment to one of the designated countries (for example, by having lived and worked in one of the countries for many years).
  • Proposed projects should address a specific problem of social justice or human rights in one or more of the eligible countries. Following are some examples of the kind of problems that might be addressed: gender rights, ethnic minorities, migration, religious freedom, free speech, civil liberties, ecological or environmental challenges, urban renewal and transformation, public health, tuberculosis, AIDS, drug policy and narcotics, resource development and exploitation, forced and child labor, domestic violence, corruption and bribery, and restrictions on the freedom of movement. Other social problems, as defined by the applicant, may also be addressed.
  • Grants may be used to begin a new project that can be completed in the six-month timeframe of the grant, or to complete work on an existing project.
  • Both emerging and well-established photographers are eligible to apply. Photographers who have not specialized in documentary photography will be considered as long as the proposed work is documentary in nature.
  • Collaborative projects will be considered and applicants from different countries may apply together (in which case each photographer will receive a $3,500 grant).


Completed applications must be submitted no later than Friday, March 20, 2009, at 5:00 pm (New York Eastern Standard Time).
Application Checklist

A complete application consists of the following:

  • Application form: Please complete in English using the online application system or, if applying by mail, use the attached form.
  • CV or resume: Please provide a CV or resume in English or Russian. If applying online, please upload as a Word document or PDF file.
  • Proposal: Please provide a three-page description of the proposed project in English or Russian. If applying online, please upload as a Word document. The proposal should include: summary of the issue and its importance; description of the plan for producing the work; explanation of the applicant’s qualifications; description of sources and contacts for the project; and initial thoughts on how the finished product might be distributed.
  • Examples of Past Work: Please provide 20 examples of past photographic work. If applying online, the photographs should be uploaded as low-resolution jpeg files.
  • Captions / accompanying text: Please provide captions for each image in English or Russian. You may also include any descriptive text that accompanies each image. If applying online, please upload captions and accompanying text as a Word document or PDF file.
  • Letters of recommendation: Please provide 2 letters of recommendation in English or Russian. If applying online, letters should be scanned and uploaded as jpeg or PDF files.
  • CD: Please provide a CD containing a copy of all elements of the complete application, labeled and in separate folders (if applying by mail only)

Application Instructions

You may apply online or by mail, following the instructions indicated below.

Online Application Instructions: Please submit your application online at http://oas.soros.org/oas/. On the online application system, please register and choose “Individual Grants” and select “Documentary Photography – Central Asia, Caucasus, Afghanistan, Mongolia, Pakistan.” You will be directed to a screen to complete basic application information. This application form must be completed in English. Other parts of the application can be uploaded (in English or Russian) to the online application system as follows:

  • CV or resume: Word document or PDF (English or Russian)
  • Proposal: Word document (English or Russian)
  • Examples of Past Work: Low-res jpegs files
  • Captions / accompanying text: Word document or PDF (English or Russian)
  • Two Letters of recommendation: Scanned as jpeg or PDF (English or Russian)

Mail-In Application Instructions: For applicants unable to submit an application online, please download a copy of the application pdf and mail all seven sections of the application (see checklist above) to:

Documentary Photography Project
Attn: Grant for Central Asia, the Caucasus, Afghanistan, Mongolia, and Pakistan
Open Society Institute
400 West 59th Street
New York , NY 10019

Applications by mail should include, if possible, a CD with all sections of the application in separately labeled folders. Applications will not be returned unless a self-addressed, stamped envelope is included. Applications by email will not be accepted.

NOTE: Applications may be submitted in English or Russian only. The application is intended to give the selection committee a better understanding of the project. Applicants should describe their projects as accurately as possible, but do not need to be concerned with the quality of their English or Russian.
Selection Process

Selection of proposals will be based on the following criteria:

  • Is the applicant professionally qualified to undertake the proposed project (based on CV and examples of previous work)?
  • Does the applicant demonstrate an understanding of the issue he or she proposes to address? Is this issue of major global, national, or local significance?
  • Does the applicant have experience working with the peoples and communities that will be photographed?

Grant recipients will be announced in August 2009. OSI cannot support lobbying activities. Projects that include lobbying activities will not be funded. OSI does not discriminate based on any characteristics that may be protected by applicable law.

Application deadline Friday, March 20, 2009 (5:00 p.m. New York Eastern Standard Time)

Fellows notified August 2009

Grant begins November 2009

First workshop mid-November 2009

Second workshop May 2010

Grant ends May 2010

It is expected that grantees will complete their projects within this time frame. Exceptions may be made in the case of unforeseen circumstances. It is expected that grantees will participate in the workshops that will be offered at the beginning and end of the grant term. Throughout the grant period, it is expected that grantees will remain in communication with the mentor who is assigned to them.
Further Information

If you have any questions, please contact:

Amy Yenkin
Director, OSI Documentary Photography Project

by teru kuwayama at 2008-12-10 08:43:54 UTC Islamabad , Pakistan | Bookmark | | Report spam→

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teru kuwayama, I/O teru kuwayama
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