Call for applications

Three CatchLight Fellowships for Visual Storytellers 2018

Deadline: 31 January 2018

Tomas Van Houtryve (Fellow 2017), 
Packing Heat - Democracy Under Surveillance, Police helicopter, Washington DC.

Tomas Van Houtryve (Fellow 2017), Packing Heat - Democracy Under Surveillance, Police helicopter, Washington DC.

CatchLight announced the opening of the 2018 $30,000 CatchLight Fellowship Program. The second year of this annual search for three lens-based storytellers who demonstrate excellence in the use of photography to drive social change.

The application will open on January 1, 2018 at and all submissions must be received by midnight pacific time on January 31. The 2018 Fellows will be announced on April 2, 2018.

The CatchLight Fellowship serves as an incubator — a place to receive financial support, unlock individual potential, grow and leverage partnerships. It  cultivates a vibrant community of creative thought leaders whose work will be enhanced by collaboration, mentorship, and networking.

Fellowship for Social Leadership
This Fellowship will recognize an individual who demonstrates excellence in their personal art and leadership in their community and/or field; someone who actively creates opportunities for artists around them by mentoring, teaching or promotion of their work. This type of leadership is vital for broadening access to new talent and new perspectives, creating global benefit. They are remarkable social leadership, coupled with a generous ingenuity that pulls others forward, even as they advance.

This Fellowship will incubate the individual’s leadership abilities, bringing resources to bear and spotlighting the power of individual action for growth and change. The nature of the awarded fellow’s work will determine the appropriate model for distribution partnerships.

Fellowship for California: Status Update on the California Dream
“Like the rest of America, California is unformed, innovative, ahistorical, hedonistic, acquisitive and energetic — only more so.” — Wallace Stegner

Everything in California is big, including dreams and challenges. How do we visualize the New California Dream in one of the most innovative, hectic and expensive places in America? It is America’s laboratory for the fiscal pressures shaping our housing, jobs and education and a rapidly changing future. CatchLight will identify a California-focused photographer who demonstrates work that broadly reflects any aspect of life in California today — interpretations can show impact to any of a variety of issues including but not limited to race, environment, health, democracy, immigration, gender and identity.

Fellowship for Social Change: Open Call
In contrast to the above fellowships which have a specific focus, the third 2018 Catchlight Fellowship is open to lens-based artists working on any social justice issue globally. This fellowship is aimed at the discovery and communication of issues not only of today, but of tomorrow — stories we don’t know about yet, or that we are revisiting through an entirely new lens.

CatchLight will recognize a visual storyteller whose work drives change around a social issue they are passionate about and there are no issues or methodology that they prioritizes over another. Applicants will have chosen their own themes and issues, and proposed unique and compelling methods of creation and distribution. This Fellow will be partnered with The Pulitzer Center On Crisis Reporting and therefore will focus both on media and education as distribution for the work.

Applicants are invited to interpret these themes broadly and encourage proposals from visual storytellers working in diverse creative mediums.


Criteria and Application
The application portal opens on January 1st and the deadline to apply is January 31st. The Fellowship is open to working professionals of any age and from any country who have demonstrated excellence in working with lens-based visual storytelling and a commitment to effecting social change. Applicants may work in a broad range of visual formats including photography, video, audio, motion or VR and the proposal should build on existing work.

The CatchLight Fellowship pool will be formed by both nomination and open call. Applications must include work samples, professional references, a written proposal defining the scope of the project and potential ideas for partnerships and distribution avenues that best fit the proposal. Applications will be reviewed and shortlisted by a geographically and professionally diverse jury.

There is no fee to apply.


Important Dates
Fellowship Announced: December 13, 2017
Application Open: January 1, 2017 – January 31, 2018, midnight PST
CatchLight Fellows Announced: April 2, 2018


About CatchLight
At CatchLight is a photography organization that celebrates and amplifies excellence and innovation in visual storytelling. They are engaged with a global community of creative thought leaders and changemakers who are committed to measurable social impact. Born out of PhotoPhilanthropy, CatchLight shares the quest for bold ideas and approaches with some of the most future-forward and well-known organizations.


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