The Magnum Foundation fosters creativity and diversity in documentary photography, activating new audiences and ideas through the innovative use of images. Through grant-making, mentoring, and creative collaborations, we partner with socially engaged image-makers experimenting with new models for storytelling.
About the Photography and Social Justice Program
Magnum Foundation’s Photography and Social Justice Program expands diversity and creativity in the field of documentary photography through capacity-building and critical explorations of photography and social change.
Each year, the program supports a diverse, international group of Photography and Social Justice Fellows who are passionate about challenging injustice, pursuing social equality, and advancing human rights through photography. With New York City as a cultural resource, the program provides space for interdisciplinary experimentation, mentored project development, and cross-cultural, critical discourse at the intersection of photography and social justice. During the program, Fellows work on projects in their home communities* with support from Magnum Foundation’s mentors.
Magnum Foundation covers the cost of travel and room and board for the sessions in New York City. Fellows also receive a modest stipend to support the production of their projects. The program is produced in partnership with the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism.
*Though we value international perspectives, and support photographers who work internationally through other Magnum Foundation programs, this particular fellowship is meant to provide training and mentorship for those who have a keen ability to recognize the nuances in their own cultures, speak from a place of personal knowledge and experience about their place and community, and have deep personal connections to their work.
Photography and Social Justice Fellows
Magnum Foundation Photography and Social Justice Fellows are early-career photographers or individuals trained in aligned disciplines who are motivated to deepen their engagement with photography and visual storytelling. Photography and Social Justice Fellows are part of social, political, or cultural groups who are currently or historically oppressed or excluded, and come from communities around the world where freedom of expression is limited. This program especially aims to support people of color, women, gender non-conforming individuals, LGBTQ individuals, individuals who are part of racial, ethnic, or religious minority groups, and others whose authorship is unevenly represented within the field of documentary photography.
The Photography and Social Justice Program is designed to prepare our fellows to be effective and creative leaders in their home communities. Our hope is that our fellows become models and resources for other practitioners, and that they cultivate strength and support through their international colleagues. Through this program, Magnum Foundation trains photographers to use their creative skills to inspire social movements, to witness, to resist oppression, to pose the difficult questions, and to stimulate debate and awareness about critical social issues.
Application and Selection Process
Photography and Social Justice Fellows are selected through an open, international call for applications. Those not eligible for the program can recommend someone else by sharing the open call, or contacting us, as we welcome recommendations.
Fellows applications will be received and reviewed on a rolling basis until October 1st, 2018.
Fellows will be chosen by the Magnum Foundation’s internal selection committee and notified Mid-December 2018. All finalists for the fellowship will be interviewed to ensure verbal proficiency in English. (Please note that this language requirement exists because Fellows’ discussions, workshops, readings, and mentorship sessions in New York are conducted in English.)
Fellowship Applicant Criteria
- Early-career documentary photographers, artists, and photojournalists
- Activists who use photography in their change-making practice
- Journalists who would like to deepen their engagement with photography
- Scholars who incorporate images and image-making in their research and scholarship
- Preference is given to those who have not had previous opportunity to do a formal course of study in photography at the university level.
- Applicants must be proficient in spoken and written English. All instruction will be in English and there will be no simultaneous translation for instruction or discussion during the course sessions.
- We are especially seeking applications from people of color, women, individuals who are part of social, political, or cultural groups who are currently or historically oppressed or excluded, and individuals who are LGBTQ or non-binary. Refugees are welcome to apply.
Magnum Foundation expands creativity and diversity in documentary photography, activating new audiences and ideas through the innovative use of images. Through grantmaking, mentoring, and creative collaborations, we partner with socially engaged imagemakers experimenting with new models for storytelling.
The City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism
The Photography and Social Justice Program is produced in partnership with The City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate School of Journalism. The CUNY Graduate School of Journalism prepares students from a broad range of economic, racial, and ethnic backgrounds to produce high-quality journalism at a time of rapid change.
Photography and Social Justice Program Overview
The Photography and Social Justice Fellowship takes place over the course of six months and is comprised of the following elements:
Project Development and Frameworks: April–May 2019
These initial bi-weekly online sessions provide conceptual groundwork for the training and a forum for the Fellows to develop their project ideas.
New York Session 1: June 1–30, 2019
The first session in New York City is a four week training hosted by CUNY’s Graduate School of Journalism. This first session focuses on project development, technical trainings, and experimentation. This session will include exploration of emerging tools and platforms, lectures on documentary photography, and discussions on critical theory.
Mentored Project Production: June 2019–January 2020
Fellows produce a body of work that aims to advance social justice in their communities with mentorship from accomplished photographers, artists, and others from Magnum Foundation’s network.
New York Session 2: Jan 11–26, 2020
This two week session includes a final review of the Fellows’ projects and focus on social engagement and creative presentation strategies.
Photography and Social Justice Fellowship Timeline
- October 1st 2018: Applications due
- December 2018: Fellows Selected and notified
- April–May 2019: Online Sessions and Project Development
- June 1st–30th 2019: Session 1 (four weeks)
- June 2019–January 2020: Mentored Project Production
- January 11th–26th 2020: Session 2 (two weeks)