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How to build antifragility for cultural projects (Repost).

This is a repost of an article from the very useful resources provided by filmmaker and cultural activist Benoît Labourdette . The article is also available in French on his website.


What methodology should be adopted to build cultural projects that have the capacity to tame uncertainty and thus become more deeply rooted in their objectives? Methodological proposal, based on the thesis of Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the philosophy of François Jullien and the psychological studies of Olivier Houdé.

Report on the state of the cultural sector post-Covid-19

It would be salutary, a fortiori after the Covid-19 epidemic in 2020 which led to an extremely destructive containment for the cultural professions (among other sectors of society), to question the methodologies in order to envisage being able to make cultural projects more antifragile in the face of uncertainty.

During this period of confinement, there have been many very inspiring cultural innovations, which are still going on: film festivals that have reinvented themselves online, remote theatre projects, collective dance or music via videophony, calls for graphic, photographic, cinematographic creation, etc.

So, is everything all right? Everybody has resisted ? I’m not sure that this is the opinion of a theatre company whose tours for the next two years are being jeopardized by the cancellation of the Festival d’Avignon, the theatres, concert halls and cinemas empty for long months, the artists leading the very many artistic practice workshops cancelled, the authors, publishers and booksellers… The State and local authorities intervened by extending the unemployment insurance for temporary workers in the entertainment industry for one year, by setting up specific aid for the performing arts, cinema, plastic arts, music, museums, publishing, etc… These were indispensable supports, it is the role of the common good. They were probably not sufficient in France, Germany for example having affirmed the centrality of the cultural sector by supporting it to the tune of 50 billion euros after the confinement (in France it is about 100 times less). But what about the causes of what appeared to be an extreme fragility in the face of health contingencies? And the next crisis, unpredictable, will be of a different nature.

I propose, in 6 steps, definitions of concepts that will serve as solid support, in my opinion, for antifragile methodological paths in the cultural sector, i.e. that allow projects to be able to exist and even strengthen themselves in situations of uncertainty or intense stress.

1. Risk prevention: a limiting belief

The first idea that comes to mind is the risk prevention approach: trying to predict everything that can happen, based on past experiences. For example, foreseeing that a new epidemic could occur, and therefore having already prepared distant alternatives for all cultural projects. Just as in a film shooting plan, the unpredictability of the weather is anticipated by a “Plan B” of shooting indoors nearby in case of rain. Or, for an outdoor event, folded barnums are always ready to be deployed in case of bad weather.

This risk prevention, while necessary and very useful, does not protect against the unpredictable. It only prevents the predictable. It is important, but not sufficient. Risk prevention presents itself as reassuring (“We have foreseen everything”), which is false: it is impossible to foresee everything. And it is infinitely rare for the past to repeat itself identically.

The reality is that we live in an uncertain world, in which what will happen and destabilize us is precisely what could not be foreseen. We saw this at our expense during the Covid-19 crisis, which weakened the whole world, hitting the weakest hardest. What we can only admit after 2020 is that the world is uncertain and certainly promises unpredictable surprises! It would be salutary not to forget this lesson.

Let us therefore assume the obvious: it is absolutely impossible to predict everything. But then, how can we prepare for the unpredictable? This is the difference between the risk prevention attitude, which is limited to what it can imagine, and the antifragile attitude, which prepares for the unimaginable, only to come out of it stronger. This thesis may seem very theoretical, not very “realistic”, because how to tame the unknown, the impossible, the unthinkable? However, intuition makes us feel that this would be the best way. But what is it concretely, and how to make a cultural project antifragile?


2. Definition of antifragile, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

The concept of antifragility was formulated by Nassim Nicholas Taleb in his book “Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder”, the first edition of which was published in 2013. It was published in French translation in 2018 (Editions Les Belles Lettres).

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, a former trader, is today a writer, statistician and essayist specialising in the epistemology of probability (i.e. the critical study of the subject of probability). He is one of the very few people to have anticipated and warned about the extent of the financial crisis of 2008, for example. His atypical thinking and his critical stance seem to me to be a solid support to nourish reflection in the field of culture. Let’s first discover the concept of antifragility, before moving on to implementation paths, adapted for the cultural field.

Just as the human body grows stronger as it is subjected to stress and effort, just as popular movements grow when they are suppressed, so living things in general develop all the better when they are confronted with factors of disorder, volatility or anything that might disturb them. This faculty to not only take advantage of chaos but to need it in order to become better is the “antifragile”, like the ancient Hydra of Lerna, whose heads multiplied as they were cut off.

Antifragile, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, 2018 (back cover).

Indeed, these words make us dream: who wouldn’t want us to be strengthened by hardship? Who wouldn’t want to be able to put Nietsche’s aphorism “What doesn’t make me die makes me stronger” into practice for their cultural projects? But isn’t that a bit theoretical and utopian? The Hydra is a myth, not reality… On the other hand, concerning the human body, our personal experience validates Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s hypothesis, because we can see that the human body is strengthened when it is subjected to stress, within a certain limit: physical exercise, vaccination, fasting… among other examples.

The point here is not to question the importance of preventing known risks. Of course, we must be prepared for the obvious risks that we know about: supervising children crossing the street, having national stocks of masks, etc. Let’s not confuse antifragility with inconsistency. But we must not give in to the naive belief that risk prevention would protect us from everything. On the contrary, the excess of forecasting and risk prevention, seen as the only horizon in organizational decisions, reassures us, but paradoxically is a factor of great fragility. Why is this? Because we believe we are protected from everything, so we lower our guard on a deeper vigilance, intrinsic to the projects themselves. Thus, in good conscience, excessive prevention can paradoxically weaken projects, perhaps even more than before the widespread practice of risk prevention since the early 2000s. Why is this so? Let Nassim Nicholas Taleb explain it to us very simply:

We have never had as much data as we do today, yet we are more unable than ever to predict. More data — paying attention to the colour of the eyes of the people you meet when you cross the street, for example — can lead to missing the essential — the big truck coming across the street, in this case. When you cross the street, you’re eliminating data, except for data that could be a critical threat. As Paul Valéry wrote: There are many things to ignore in order to act.

Antifragile, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, 2018 (page 372).

Of course we can only agree. But then, what are the relevant facts to remember, and how do you go about taking a antifragile path? What exactly are we talking about? Here is a first, very simple example of antifragility. It is not a model, it allows us to start grasping the concept in terms of concrete action :

A do-it-yourself system and a test-and-error method would have the attributes of antifragility. If one wishes to become an antifragile, one must put oneself in the “fault-loving” situation — to the right of “fault-hating” — by making faults numerous and not very damaging.

Antifragile, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, 2018 (page 34).

Here is a table (page 36) that summarizes this example:

Fragile Rough Robust
I hate mistakes Spiteful mistakes are just information Worship of mistakes (since they’re light)

We are beginning to perceive, I think, that antifragility is about a method of designing projects, a certain approach to work, to development, to construction, to the way we relate to the public. But then, should we only do “do-it-yourself” cultural projects, i.e. without any real artistic project, not very fragile because they are not very ambitious? On the contrary, it is thanks to the highest artistic standards that we will be able to build cultural projects that are antifragile, whether they’re “small” or “big”, as we will now discover.


3. Cultural Policy Missions

By the way, what is the framework for the implementation of cultural projects in France? Cultural policies, and therefore funding frameworks, have for mainspring the development of artistic creation, its dissemination and its practices. This is at the heart of the missions of cultural institutions in France, as the french official texts indicate:

Official Missions of the Ministry of Culture :

The mission of the Ministry of Culture is to promote artistic creation in all its components and to enable the democratization and dissemination of cultural works.

The mission of the Ministry of Culture is to make the capital works of France and humanity in the fields of heritage, architecture, plastic arts, performing arts, cinema and communication accessible to the greatest number of people. It promotes the development of artistic works in all their components in the territories and throughout the world. It is the guarantor of artistic education.

Source: website

These missions are engaged in two directions: cultural democratization, to make works accessible to the public, and cultural democracy, which consists in fostering artistic practices of audiences. These two facets of cultural policies are complementary, and in my opinion, they always benefit from being combined. There is much debate in the political and financial stakes between these two perspectives, the answer to which lies in what are now called cultural rights. This is a subject in itself, which I do not deal with here, the cultural projects I am talking about are indifferently related to both approaches.

But what exactly is “artistic creation”? The philosopher François Jullien is one of the contemporary thinkers who explore the mysteries and potentialities of artistic creation in the most profound way. Here is an excerpt from his book “Dé-coincidence, où viennent l’art et l’existence” (2017, Editions Grasset):

In what way is art a lesson, no longer just a lesson of life, as so much has been said, to decorate life or because one is sculpting one’s life. Whether one aestheticizes one’s life as much as one wants, the notion of “art of living” is unfortunate: it is compromised with the renunciation of the adventurous inherent in wisdom and withdrawn into convenience. On the other hand, the demand for the dissonance that is proper to art, and which is more radically enlightened by modernity, puts the capacity for ex-existence at work from the outset, inscribing it in the sensible. In the de-coincidence, art and existence discover their common origin, and at first in opposition to “Creation”: discover that the new – the unheard of – is indeed possible, but precisely because it is not naively a beginning. Because it is the result of a disengagement and de-enclosure that keeps us out of the confinement of a world and its adapted adequacy. Or that it is by coming out of the hinges under which the possibilities are sealed, out of joint — possibilities that we did not suspect — that comes an audacity that, in its challenge, can redeploy from the infinite and allows us to finally begin. What each work of art does, in short: that the first morning of the world, then, becomes fleetingly within reach.

Dé-coincidence, où viennent d’art et l’existence ?, François Jullien, 2017 (page 136).

To summarize, François Jullien thus demonstrates that artistic creation is inherently antifragile, because art is by nature always reinventing, reinstating the first time at each of its occurrences. It is a lesson in life. The essence of artistic creation is to be adventurous, unseemly, uncoincidental.

4. Antifragility of a resolutely artistic and innovative approach to culture

Artistic creation is what cultural projects are meant to develop and disseminate, so let’s nourish ourselves on its deep logic of functioning, let’s allow it to express itself fully. Let us not seek to reduce what is the greatest strength of art: the requirement of audacity. Let’s take a risk in the cultural projects themselves, without which we would destroy the meaning of art, which we are here to defend! This audacity is precisely what will help our cultural projects to become antifragile. We can give it its name: innovation.

The approach to building a cultural project must therefore be innovative in order to be antifragile. But how can we identify that we are indeed in an attitude of boldness and innovation, and not in a race to reassure ourselves by trying to anticipate everything? How can we identify criteria to guide us? It is a question of our relationship to “error” and “uncertainty”: Do we seek to avoid uncertainty at all costs, i.e. the risk of error, or do we actively prepare to receive them in order to be enriched by them? Nassim Nicholas Taleb sums it up very well :

Mistakes make some things break, and some things don’t. Some theories fall apart, and some don’t. Innovation is precisely something that benefits from uncertainty; and some people sit back and wait for uncertainty and use it as raw material, just as our hunting ancestors did. …an ethical life is not ethical when it is free of personal risk.

Antifragile, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, 2018 (page 512).

We could synthesize these ideas into one formula:

Innovation is therefore not an empty word, which would mean following fashions, in a form of demagogic and often technophile headlong rush, such as making absolutely “digital” projects or systematically using “social networks” without even really knowing why.

Innovation is an approach, a method, which integrates into the heart of its process openness to the unexpected, and is enriched by it. It is an attitude of openness to what, a priori, destabilizes us and that we would tend to reject out of fear. But beware, innovation is not a simple messy Spanish inn either. An innovative project can be extremely vast and structured, but it must cultivate its agility, which lies in everyone’s attitude towards the unexpected: “it surprises me, it worries me, it destabilizes me, well I’m going to do my best to deal with it and I’m going to try to find out how I can make the most of it!

5. A method: mourning work

It is counterintuitive to accept the unexpected, because the unexpected represents the loss of what was expected. It is necessarily a disappointment at the outset, which we fight against by reflex: denial, anger, guilt, etc. We would like to be enriched by this new situation, as advocated by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, but we have to admit that our brain does not take us in this direction spontaneously, far from it.

To be able to adopt a antifragile approach, whether at an individual level or collectively (within the framework of a project), we must learn to go through the stages of mourning very often. It is usually a rather slow process, because there is little awareness of it. It is a mourning training that must be practiced in order to become more and more able to go through the stages of mourning in an agile manner. The 5 stages of mourning work are :

  1. Shock and denial.
  2. Anger.
  3. Negotiation.
  4. Depression.
  5. Acceptance (or resilience).

It’s important to know that these stages can be quite disorganized, with jumps and flashbacks, which is particularly destabilizing.

antifragility is therefore above all a real work on oneself, dynamic and difficult, because it is to be produced precisely in those moments when one is in great difficulty, when one has lost what one imagined and is caught up in one’s unpredictable reactions in the face of this loss. So, the method is to practice the work of mourning, at high speed. To go faster in mourning, so that, thanks to the resilience that the work of mourning produces, we can consider the opportunities that lie behind the loss.

In fact, antifragility is at the heart of our learning system from childhood. In his book Learning to Resist (2019), educational psychologist Olivier Houdé explains through neuroscience that from childhood and throughout life, learning and reflection are based on cognitive resistance (another way of naming antifragility):

Cognitive resistance is our brain’s ability to inhibit automatisms of thought to allow us to think But it goes far beyond that: this ability is also essential in many situations of everyday life. Indeed, we must learn to resist automatisms of thought when they are oversimplifying and dangerous.

6. A path strewn with constructive pitfalls

Preparing for the unpredictable in order to take advantage of it, in the cultural sector, means adopting, collectively and in the structure of the systems that we put in place, be it planning, technique, organisation in teams, artistic work, communication, etc., an attitude of taking distance, a less reflexive, counter-intuitive time of thinking, in short, a true algorithmic approach, which involves sharing information, combined with autonomy in decision-making.

The method to adopt this attitude, as we have just seen above, is the work of mourning, which seems to be slower to approach, but which allows us to build in reality, and not in the fantasy of what we have lost and what we would like to find again. The challenge is to get back in touch with reality as quickly as possible, which has just changed in an unpredictable and irreversible way.

This brings us to places we hadn’t anticipated. It is destabilizing at first glance, but the cultural projects will only be better, more anchored in reality, and will respond even better to their initial objectives, because they will have been able to adapt to the changing reality.

To develop antifragility in the construction and exploitation of cultural projects is to choose the path that is the least easy, the riskiest, the most agile, the least reassuring, a path of successive innovations. It is the path that will come up against the most pitfalls, but which guarantees that the project will come out of it grown and perennial.

Choosing this type of approach has profound impacts on the forms of artistic projects, working methods, professional training, management attitudes, etc. If this approach is very difficult, it is above all because it implies accepting the loss of a form of power of domination, of mastery. It implies a change in our relationship to the world, which goes against the majority ideas about effective action and organisation. Thus, it often happens that the people who weaken projects the most are the leaders themselves (artists, elected officials, directors, etc.), because they are too afraid to let go of their power. In my opinion, taking these risks is the best guarantee for building ambitious cultural projects that will fully meet their objectives in our uncertain world.

This text is the introduction to the antifragile method for cultural projects. It will be followed by other texts that will develop proposals for the field.


Thanks to Robinson Labourdette for discovering the work of Nassim Nicholas Taleb, and to Véronique Guiho-Leroux and Isabelle Altounian for their attentive rereading.

Photobook Prize. Israel. Deadline: July 20, 2020

The 2020 Meitar Award for Excellence in Photography
Special COVID-19 Edition
Winner will receive a $20,000 grant for the publication of a photography book

The Meitar Award for Excellence in Photography, a collaboration between PHOTO IS:RAEL and the Zvi and Ofra Meitar Family Fund, will be awarded for the fifth time this year to a photographer whose works demonstrate excellence in the field of photography.

Following the worldwide Coronavirus pandemic, this year’s award process will feature a unique format that will adhere to the necessary restrictions without compromising its goal of supporting excellent photographers and the stories they tell, which are now more important than ever.

This year’s winner will receive a $20,000 grant for the publication of a professional photography book through BLOW UP PRESS, a Warsaw-based boutique publishing house. The winner will be announced in November 2020, and the book will be published and launched in November 2021 at the 9th International Photography Festival. During the course of that year, the winner will work on the production of the book together with PHOTO IS:RAEL’s Chief Curator and BLOW UP PRESS’ Head Designer. The book will then be distributed through various professional platforms around the world.
The winner will also receive royalties from the sale of the book.

submit your work now:

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A professional panel of judges will review all award finalists and will select a photographer who demonstrates thought, quality, originality and excellence in photography, as well as the potential to create a comprehensive body of work suitable for publication as a book. The submitted portfolios will be delivered to the panel anonymously, with no identifying markers, and will be judged based on their excellency, quality and originality.

Of the works submitted, the panelists will select 20 finalists for a group exhibition at the International Photography Festival, which will take place in November 2020 in Tel Aviv.*

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Members of the Jury

David Adika, Photographer and head of the Photography Department at Bezalel Academy of Art & Design, Jerusalem
Michael Benson, Founder, Candlestar/Photo London
Maya Benton, Curator, Art Historian and Visiting Professor at Yale University
Dr Susan Bright, Curator and Writer, France / UK
Krzysztof Candrowicz, Curator and Researcher
Sian Davey, Artist, UK
Mirjam Kooiman, Art Historian, writer and Curator at Foam Photography Museum, Amsterdam
Grzegorz Kosmala, Founder and Director, BLOW UP PRESS, Poland
Dafna Meitar Nechmad, The Zvi and Ofra Meitar Family Fund
Rivka Saker, Chairman of Sotheby’s Israel, Founder and board chair of ARTIS
István Virágvölgyi, Curator, Photo editor, Secretary of the Capa Grand Prize Hungary

Bob Newman, 2019 Meitar Award Finalist
Registration schedule:

The Registration will be open from 17.6.2020 – 20.7.2020 23:59 (Israel time)
Registration rate is $35.00 – a subsidized rate for this year’s special edition
Photographs must be submitted via the award website
For questions and additional information please contact

PHOTO IS:RAEL, an independent not for profit organization, active since 2009 with the aim to create social change through the language of photography.

*It should be noted that considering the latest global situation around the COVID-19 outbreak, PHOTO IS:RAEL will make every effort to hold the festival as planned. In case the festival will not be able to open as planned, PHOTO IS:RAEL will make all reasonable efforts to reschedule the IPF within a reasonable period of time. If need be, we will consider the option hold an online version of the festival, including exhibitions and a program of online lectures and events.

submit your work now
Join us for an Online Lecture by by Gloria Oyarzabal
2019 Meitar Award for Excellence in Photography Winner
Tuesday, the 30th of June at 19:00 (Israel time zome)

Gloria Oyarzabal, 2019 Meitar Award Winner
Join us for an online lecture with Meitar Award 2019 Winner – Gloria Oyarzabal on her winning series “WOMAN GO NO’GREE” and other works.
The project “WOMAN GO NO’GREE” was shot in Nigeria between 2017-2019. Through this work, Oyarzabal investigates the effect of colonization on the concept of women and the impossibility of universalizing feminist discourses.

The lecture will be online and free of charge.
Please pre-register here:
A link to a ZOOM conference will be sent to your email prior to the lecture.

submit your work now
Stay in touch with PHOTO IS:RAEL
(Also available on Whatsapp: +972 58 6601519)

Moshe Maor 3
Tel Aviv 6607742

OPEN CALL for Fotograf Festival and magazine. “Uneven Ground”. Deadline: June 21, 2020



FOTOGRAF issues an open call for professionals, amateurs and students who are invited to submit their photo projects. These projects may be related to this year’s theme of the Fotograf Festival and magazine Uneven Ground. Projects that are not related to the topic, but represent a distinctly defined project of an independent and non-commercial character will be accepted as well.

Two selected projects will be published in a printed issue of the Fotograf magazine in October 2020. The winners will be chosen by the jury whose members including professionals and experts on contemporary visual art.

Uneven Ground

Despite constant movement, networking, exchange and an abundance of information, we rarely come into contact with the really unknown, the unexpected. Medium of photography indicates closeness and at the same time it incites disaffection. Is it possible to share the same view when viewed from a different perspective? Who we are and who are the others?

The deadline for the competition submissions is June 21, 2020.

Submission terms and conditions:

  • CV (.pdf)
  • Portfolio (.pdf)
  • Project description + images (description maximum on one page A4, all in one file .pdf)
  • Any e-mail attachments must be properly identified – CV / Portfolio / Project / Name
  • Send your projects to email: and write “OPEN CALL” in the email subject line
  • The number of projects submitted by one author is not limited
  • The participation fee per project is CZK 450 / EUR 20


Please send the fee to the following bank account number: 2800358798/2010, IBAN: CZ8420100000002800358798, BIC code/SWIFT: FIOBCZPPXXX (please add “OPEN CALL_surname” in the note).

The winners will be chosen by the jury whose members including: Stephanie Kiwitt, Anna Voswinckel, Tereza Rudolf, Gábor Arion Kudász, Joanna Gorlach, Erik Vilím, Andreas Müller-Pohle and Kateryna Radchenko.

The winners will be announced till July 15, 2020 on and addressed by email.

For more information, please, contact us via e-mail:


Scholarship for doc. photo and photojournalism. Deadline: Sept. 6, 2020

English version (automatic translation of the Spanish version. The information on the call is in Spanish but it does not say that you cannot apply in another language) // Versión en español abajo…

Committed to the mission of disseminating and promoting the social value of documentary photography and photojournalism, in 2019 the Photographic Social Vision Foundation created the Joana Biarnés Scholarship for Young Photojournalists in honor of the first woman photojournalist in Spain. This fulfills the photographer’s desire to support the new generations of photojournalists, while allowing the foundation to pay tribute to her human and professional values.

This annual grant aims to support the professional development of young photojournalists, both over and under 35 years of age, who identify with the concerns, talent, principles and values of the best visual journalism and promote, thanks to the support received, the visibility of issues and challenges of necessary dissemination and social reflection, focusing on the national geography.

An expert and prestigious jury will evaluate the proposals received and will award 8,000 euros to the author or team selected to carry out their research. In addition, the author(s) will benefit from the advice of a tutor with extensive teaching and professional experience to develop their photojournalistic research for nine months through personalized sessions, reviews of the work produced and strategic analysis of the approach of the report. The final result is guaranteed to be disseminated through the production of an exhibition.

DOWNLOAD THE RULES of the II Joana Biarnés Scholarship in Spanish

Versión en Español (English above)
Es un verdadero orgullo para la Fundación Photographic Social Vision anunciar la IIª edición de la Beca Joana Biarnés para jóvenes fotoperiodistas, cuya convocatoria se abre hoy y aceptará candidaturas hasta el próximo 6 de septiembre. Participa aquí : un año especialmente complicado, resulta fundamental continuar apoyando el futuro del fotoperiodismo y seguir visibilizando realidades sociales necesitadas de difusión y reflexión ciudadana. Además, en esta edición creemos más importante que nunca circunscribirnos a la geografía nacional para que toda la atención recaiga en los desafíos y el talento locales.Un jurado de reconocido prestigio, integrado por Agus Morales (5W), Arianna Rinaldo (Cortona On The Move), Edu Ponces (RUIDO Photo), Imma Cortés (Archivo Joana Biarnés) y Juan Valbuena (NOPHOTO), seleccionará el proyecto que recibirá 8.000 euros para desarrollar su investigación periodística a lo largo de nueve meses, contando con el asesoramiento de la experta Jessica Murray (Al-liquindoi) como tutora.


Anti-racism resources for the photography industry, repost from BJP

This is a repost of today’s tweet by the British Journal of Photography. Please have a look at this wonderful list of resources.

Black Lives Matter: Anti-racism resources for the photography industry

Written by British Journal of PhotographyPublished on 5 June 2020

George Floyd’s murder has sparked global protests against racism, inequality, and police brutality. Here, we compile a growing list of books, articles, and initiatives to learn from and support

At the time of writing, people in all 50 states in the US, and 18 countries worldwide, are protesting for the Black Lives Matter movement. The demonstrations follow the murder of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on 25 May 2020, and have amplified the anger and outrage at the racism and inequality that continue to pervade all aspects of society, including the creative industries.

In photography, countless artists have spoken out, with photographers including Campbell Addy, Ronan McKenzie and Emmazed founder Mo Mfinanga calling for systematic change in how Black photographers are treated in the industry and beyond it.

Here, we have compiled a growing list of educational anti-racism resources, along with petitions and initiatives to support, for those in the photography industry and outside of it. We will continue to update the list going forward; if you have any suggestions or comments, please send them to This is by no means a definitive list, but it may be a good place to start. 


Mark Sealy — Decolonising the Camera: Photography in Racial Time
Director of Autograph ABP Mark Sealy MBE unravels how Western photographic practice has been used as a tool for creating Eurocentric and violent visual regimes. He demands that we recognise and disrupt the ingrained racist ideologies that have tainted photography since its inception in 1839. A free chapter from the book is also available via the link above.

Antwaun Sargent — The New Black Vanguard: Photography between Art and Fashion
Curator and critic Antwaun Sargent addresses the radical transformation taking place in fashion photography and art today. In his opening essay, Sargent opens up the conversation around the role of the Black body in the marketplace and the institutional barriers that have historically been an impediment to Black photographers participating more fully in the fashion and industries. The publication features 15 artist portfolios and a series of conversations between generations of practitioners.

Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa — One Wall a Web 
Employing a range of mediums, which include archival imagery and text, Wolukau-Wanambwa’s book questions whether the historical and contemporary realities of anti-Black and gendered violence serve to veil the essential function of violence in the maintenance of “civil” society.

Daniel C. Blight — The Image of Whiteness: Contemporary Photography and Racialization 
Blight introduces readers to some important extracts from the troubling story of whiteness, highlighting its falsehoods, paradoxes, and oppressive nature. This book argues that the invention and continuation of the “white race” is not just a political, social and legal phenomenon, but also a complexly visual one, and explores what photographic artists are doing to subvert and critique its power.

Articles and texts

The Racial Bias built into Photography, Sarah Lewis for The New York Times
“My work looks at how the right to be recognized justly in a democracy has been tied to the impact of images and representation in the public realm. It examines how the construction of public pictures limits and enlarges our notion of who counts in American society.”

1619 project, The New York Times
An ongoing initiative, which started in August 2019 — the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It reframes the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and contributions of black Americans, at the centre of the US’s contemporary narrative. 

Visualising Racism, from the Washington Post’s Photo Issue
“Some of the images are beautiful and unsettling. Some are jarring. If some make us uncomfortable, that is progress. An easy conversation about racism is not a real conversation at all.”

When the Camera was a weapon of Imperialism. (And when it still is), Teju Cole for The New York Times
“When we speak of “shooting” with a camera, we are acknowledging the kinship of photography and violence.”

The importance of Black people controlling our own narrative, Venus Thrash for Zine
“Silencing is a kind of killing. I suppose that’s the whole point, especially if the killers are threatened by your work.”

Shaniqwa Jarvis is no one’s assistant, Jonah Engel Bromwich for The New York Times 
“I know what I want, and I don’t want to let people’s ignorance stop me from getting that. I can never sit around and moan. As a black woman, I know that just out the gate. It’s not going to be the same for me. Knowing that, having that already in me, I just go for it” — Shaniqwa Jarvis. 

The American Nightmare, Ibram X. Kendi for the Atlantic“We don’t see any American dream,” Malcolm X said in 1964. “We’ve experienced only the American nightmare.” A nightmare is essentially a horror story of danger, but it is not wholly a horror story. Black people experience joy, love, peace, safety. But as in any horror story, those unforgettable moments of toil, terror, and trauma have made danger essential to the black experience in racist America. 

Addressing racism and issues of representation through photography, British Journal of Photography
Carrie Mae Weems, Dana Scruggs, Lola Flash and Mark Sealy invite us to look and consider — to acknowledge and act upon injustices that pervade the past and the present. In light of recent events, earlier this week, we returned to interviews with them from our archive.


Vision and Justice: A Civic Curriculum — free ebook from Aperture Foundation edited by Sarah Lewis
A free curriculum including thirty-one texts on topics ranging from civic space and memorials to the intersections of race, technology, and justice. Highlights include a wide-ranging conversation between filmmaker Ava DuVernay and cinematographer Bradford Young; an interview between Lewis and Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative; and Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s essay on Frederick Douglass. 

The Photographer’s Guide to Inclusive Photography — free e-guide from the Authority Collective and PhotoShelter
A collection of first-hand accounts, insights and learned lessons from industry leaders, including a list of helpful resources and questions photographers should ask themselves before their next project.

Do no harm: Photographing police brutality protests — free e-guide from the Authority Collective
“As photographers/filmmakers, we need to ask ourselves, is this image sousveillance (from the bottom pointing up, holding power-holders and oppressors accountable) or are we furthering surveillance (from the top pointing down, adding to a history of violence and surveillance of Black, Indigenous, and POC bodies, and creating a document that can be used to further that violence)? — Filmmaker Ligaiya Romero.

A full list of resources for photographers and beyond on anti-racism from the Authority Collective can be found here.

Black Photographers covering the protests

A growing list of Black photographers based in the US

Black women and non-binary photographers based in the US
Via Women Photograph

Photography driven initiatives

The Authority Collective 
A collective of over 200 womxn, non-binary and gender expansive people of colour working in the photography, film and VR/AR industries, with a mission to empower marginalised artists.

Diversify Photo 
An initiative to encourage photo editors and commissioners to hire more POC photographers.

UK Black Female Photographers Community

BBFA Collective
Born out of a lack of representation, the Black British Female Artist Collective was created to provide a platform for the best female emerging artists of the diaspora.

Donations and Petitions

The Earth Issue’s Freedom FundraiserIn response to the murder of George Floyd and the global protests that have followed, The Earth Issue have initiated a print sale, with all proceeds to be donated to organisations in support of the Black Lives Matter movement

Photographers of Colour petition
Sign this petition calling for photography industry leaders and corporations to use their platforms to speak out against the racism Black and minority photographers are facing within the industry

To donate to organisations in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, follow this link.

OPEN CALL Enriching multimedia archives i-mediatheque. Deadline: May 10, 2020

We are delighted to announce an open call for multimedia projects to enrich the online multimedia platform i-mediatheque of Tbilisi Photography & Multimedia Museum(TPMM) – first institution in Georgia focusing on contemporary image in all its forms – photography, new media, video and film.

The i-mediatheque was launched in 2018 within the South Caucasus Photography Hub for Education and Innovation project. This platform is displaying online up to 400 slideshows of photographers from all over the world, from masters of photography to emerging talents whose works have been screened in the frame of Tbilisi Night of Photography from 2011 to 2019.

Climate change, migration, gender related issues, aftermaths of armed conflicts, minorities, protests – all the most challenging issues of modern reality are covered by the multimedia projects that are part of the collection of i-mediatheque.

Tbilisi Photography & Multimedia Museum is calling artists, photo agencies and other photography institutions to submit their multimedia projects. All topics will be considered.

Applicant should send :

– Short description about the project (about 100 words)

– Multimedia file should be sized HD 1080p MP4

– The slideshow should have: title, name of photographer, project introduction text in English (max 70 words)
Projects will be selected by the committee of Tbilisi Photography & Multimedia Museum.

The 20 selected projects will be uploaded on i-mediatheque, largely promoted by TPMM and therefore made accessible for viewing and used for non-commercial purposes.
The 5 best projects will be screened in the program of the upcoming edition of Night of Photography 2020 – central event of Tbilisi Photo Festival.
Deadline for the multimedia projects submission: May 10th

Please e-mail your request to:

Selected applicants will be informed by May 25th.

More about i-mediatheque

Through this freely accessible online archive, TPMM aims to give access to a large public to the work of hundreds of photographers. These multimedia pieces constitute as well precious resources for NGOs, activists and the museum itself to tackle social issues, advocate human rights and open debates among the society in the frame of their activities.

In the South Caucasus Region – Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, as part of Moving Museum of Photography, slideshows traveled throughout mountainous and remote regions to reach out new audiences, usually deprived of educational and cultural events in the frame of public screenings and talks.

Since its creation, the i-mediatheque has reached thousands of international users.

LagosPhoto20: Home Museum. Deadline: July 31, 2020

Dear Friend,

We hope you and your family are keeping well during these trying times.

I write to invite you to participate in an exciting initiative that is being organised by LagosPhoto20. You don’t need to have a professional camera, you may use whatever device you have – a smartphone is fine.

The idea is to “shine your eyes” on our homes as if they were museums. We invite you to take part in building this new virtual Home Museum.

As we go about our busy lives, we often forget the small things worth preserving – what we are calling “objects of virtue” – objects that are important to each person, family and home. Some treasures we use everyday, some we keep, some we hold close, some we lose, and some are simply forgotten and not preserved at all. For example, a watch passed down from a father to his child, an ibeji doll, a piece of woven cloth from our grandmother, an old photograph or newspaper cut-out, a souvenir from the last city we visited, the first mobile phone we owned, or a medal won at a sports competition. All these evoke memories and tell stories about our culture and history in ways we don’t always recognise.

To participate, all you need to do is photograph a personal selection of these “objects of virtue” and email these images to the address below. During LagosPhoto20, your own “Home Museum” will be exhibited online. With this rapid response, we hope to hold onto these valuable artefacts with you for the benefit of future generations and begin conversations about our collective histories.

What you need to do!
Send your photos (between 6-12 max) to

Please write your name, age, contact information, and a short description of these objects and why they are important to you and your family.

Deadline for submission is 31st July 2020.

If you need to know more, please write to

We look forward to your contribution and to building the first online Home Museum together.

In solidarity,
Azu Nwagbogu
Director, LagosPhoto

KASSEL DUMMY AWARD. Deadline: Sept. 2, 2020

2020 KASSEL DUMMY AWARD – Entries now open until 2 September!
Arriving date of physical books is now 2 September.

!!NEWS!! We have decided to postpone the Kassel Dummy Award 2020 process due to the Corona crisis one more time and now until 2 September. The shortlist jury session is now planned for 5 September in Cologne. The final jury session will be postponed to a new date and location to be announced. We will do this in close contact with all our cooperation partners and friends, and especially with all the photography festivals where the shortlisted books should be exhibited.
We will still do our very best to show all shortlisted books at several international photography events as planned in Melbourne (Australia), Zagreb (Croatia), Dublin (Ireland), Istanbul (Turkey), Cluj (Romania), Aarhus (Denmark), Madrid (Spain), Angkor (Cambodia), Rome (Italy), Milan (Italy) and more (to be announced).  Read our terms and conditions here. Entries will be open now until 2 September 2020.


SEA Foundation Call for proposals on Connectedness. Apply now.

Our constant connectedness, the beeping and buzzing and invitations to digitally watch too, causing us to become multitaskers. Corona is here to stay and is taking its social toll. The abundance of live conferences, meetings, readings, performances, exhibitions is wearing us out and creates digital overload. But how else to reach out to our peers and public alike?

Therefore we seek project proposals that touch upon this theme. Please send us your individual or collective proposal that should include max. 2 pages A4 project introduction to

Thank you for keeping in touch.
From SEA Foundation

DGPh Research Award. Deadline: 30 Sept., 2020

The Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Photographie (German Photography Society, DGPh) have joined forces to promote academic exchange in the field of photography. As part of their collaboration, the “DGPh History of Photography Research Award”, originally established in 1978, will be replaced by two separate awards for research and for innovative publications, awarded every two years.

Young researchers’ innovative power and creativity have a significant impact on how photography is perceived and reflected upon. The “Thinking Photography. DGPh Research Award” is awarded for approaches in the humanities, cultural or social sciences which make an exceptional contribution to photography research. Academic research projects as well as independent publications introducing fresh research perspectives to the medium of photography qualify for the €3,000 prize. Works committed to venturing beyond disciplinary or methodological boundaries and open to new methods and questions are of particular interest.

Photography is no longer debated and reflected upon exclusively in scientific publications – an innovative digital culture of discussion has permeated the field of photography. The second new award “Writing Photography. DGPh Prize for Innovative Publication” recognizes shorter formats such as blogs, columns and reviews, online publications and those creatively merging text and photographic material. The winner will receive €1,000 in prize money.

An international jury will select the awards’ recipients. The award ceremony will be held every two years as a joint public event organized by the DGPh and the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation.

We look forward to numerous submissions of digitally or analogously published articles from the past two years. The submission deadline for both prizes is September 30, 2020. Details on this and the application documents can be found here:

Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation

Mergenthalerallee 61, 65760 Eschborn
T +49 (0)69-21 11 40 60


The Cologne-based Deutsche Gesellschaft für Photographie e.V. (German Photography Society, DGPh) works to promote and examine the cultural interests of photography and related imaging. Its activities are focused on the various fields of application in art, science, education, journalism, across industries and politics as well as their links and interactions. As the central authority for communicating ground-breaking achievements in the field of photography to the public, it awards several prizes and distinctions. More Information:

The Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation is a non-profit foundation based in Frankfurt. It is responsible for the development of the Art Collection Deutsche Börse, a collection of international contemporary photography, whose works range from the mid-20th century to the present. In addition to collecting, exhibiting and promoting photography, the foundation’s central activities include awarding prizes and scholarships and fostering academic exchange. More Information:


Thinking Photography. DGPh Research Award
Writing Photography. DGPh Prize for Innovative Publication
Deadline: 30 September, 2020