Catchlight Fellowship Application Requirements


Application Details: Submissions open January 1, 2017. There is no fee to apply.
Application Open: January 1, 2017 – January 31, 2017, midnight Pacific Time

The inaugural CatchLight Fellowship is $30,000 each to be awarded annually to three (3) creative leaders in the field of visual storytelling, who have demonstrated excellence in the novel use of photography to depict and bring awareness to challenging social issues. The grants will build on work by each of the Fellows with potential to achieve a next level of excellence in visual storytelling, innovation in distribution and measurable social impact.

We are seeking creative genius: a photographer who works at the highest caliber of artistry, approaches visual and social storytelling with clarity, integrity and purpose, and understands the inherent value of employing other creative disciplines - marketing, technology, communications, etc. - to enhance the impact of their stories. 

Each of the three (3) CatchLight Fellowships will be awarded to one person who is recognized for remarkable creative leadership, as demonstrated by both current work and the potential for leveraging social awareness and engagement. We understand that every project will have multiple collaborators, and CatchLight will make every effort to include core collaborators into our celebratory event in the Fall of 2017. 

As a core program of CatchLight, the intention of the CatchLight Fellowship is to activate a vibrant community of creative thought leaders and storytellers, whose work will be progressively informed and enhanced by interaction with one another. Each year, a new cohort of Fellows will be chosen, and encouraged to attend our November celebration weekend as presenter, mentor and inspiration to each other and the community as a whole. A CatchLight Fellowship is awarded for life.

The CatchLight Fellowship recognizes exceptional talent, as demonstrated in previous work, that can be directed towards critical social issues in ways that promote engagement, awareness and impact. There are no issues or methodology that CatchLight prioritizes over another; we are looking for new ways to reach audiences and engage them on issues both local and global that are important today. The fellows will have chosen their own themes and issues, and propose unique and compelling ways of creation and distribution.

Fellowship Partners
Each annual CatchLight Fellowship is co-sponsored by one of our media partners who will bring their expertise and distribution structures to the service of their selected Fellow. Applicants need not limit their proposals to styles of work or subject areas recognized by these media partners, but a general awareness of their broad ambitions and ethical structures will ensure compatibility with the aims of the Fellowships.

You can choose to direct your application specifically towards one of our partners, but all applicants will be considered equally for each partnership.

CatchLight Partnerships

The CatchLight/Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting Fellowship

The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting will partner on a Fellowship addressing a critical under-reported global topic that also includes a plan for distribution in wide-reaching news outlets. Pulitzer Center staff will work with CatchLight and the Fellow to maximize the project’s impact across new and traditional platforms as well as through the Center's extensive network of educational partners.

The CatchLight/CIR/Reveal Fellowship

The Center for Investigative Reporting/Reveal is a national nonprofit newsroom focused on work that has potential to drive change. Reveal will partner on a Fellowship addressing a national topic which could include unequal treatment in state courts, workplace discrimination and abuse, climate change and the rise of the alt right in America.

The CatchLight/Marshall Project Fellowship

The Marshall Project is a nonprofit newsroom covering criminal justice in the United States, and the partnership will address some aspect of criminal justice, including mass incarceration, race and policing, due process, immigration, or the impact of our justice system on families and communities. We will seek to co-publish the work with a strong media partner, and to create outreach and audience engagement strategies to ensure widespread distribution and promotion of the work.

*Applicants for this partnership should consider any logistical details such as access to prisons, jails, or courtrooms, and be prepared to resolve them independently if necessary. 

We are looking for exceptional talent, commitment to effective distribution and a drive to define impact on a key issue of the photographer’s choosing. The Fellowship is open to all people of all ages and all countries who work with visual communication, including videographers and photographers working with lens-led technology for the purposes of visual storytelling, and a specific commitment to effecting change. Applicants may work in a broad range of visual formats including photography, video, audio, motion or VR.

Applicants must be working independently and business entities and institutions will not be eligible. CatchLight will look favorably on applicants who demonstrate willingness to work collaboratively with distribution and impact partners, including media organizations and advocacy experts, to develop their projects and maximize the reach of the work.

To attract an expansive range of talent and issues, we are casting a wide net: we seek a breadth of creativity and representation (geographic, gender, issues, mediums, and tools). The CatchLight Fellowship pool will be formed by both nomination and open call pending successful submission of the completed application which includes work samples, professional references, a written proposal sharing the scope of project, and potential ideas for partnerships and distribution avenues that best fit the proposal. The selected Fellowships will be awarded to projects with ambitious but tangible goals, as defined by the Fellow. Applicants should state how they plan to use the available support and resources to oversee a defined outcome.

Applications will be reviewed and shortlisted by a geographically and professionally diverse jury.

Payables and Duration
The cash grant will be issued 50% on approval, 25% on approval of mid-year review, and 25% upon completion, as defined by hitting social metric targets and other best efforts towards goals as defined by CatchLight, the Fellow, and the media partner. 

The CatchLight fellowship is ten (10) months in duration, set to begin April 15, 2017.

Rules and Guidelines
Applicants must submit one (1) application for themselves only

Applicants may submit photographs or other visual formats such as audio, motion or VR.

• Applicants will submit 20-25 still images, or 15 minutes or less of audio/motion or VR from a previous piece of work. Images will be 72DPI, 2000 px longest edge.

• One (1) proposal of no more than 750 words outlining:

The work to be pursued in the course of the 12-month Fellowship, how it builds on past work, and the relevance of this Fellowship in furthering the production and reach of the work. CatchLight may grant exceptions to the timeline where warranted.

Why this work exemplifies innovative distribution to engage audiences in new and different ways.

How this work demonstrates measurable social awareness and engagement.

• One (1) proposal of 500 words or less outlining suggested partnership collaboration and distribution plan.

• Three (3) professional references with contact information.

• Adherence to the ethical standards of participating partners.

• Personal contact information, portfolio links, CV.

If the applicant finds these conditions inappropriate for the nature of the work please contact CatchLight directly for advice on how to make a successful application.

Winners Announced
Winners will be contacted in mid-March 2017; the CatchLight Fellowship will be formally announced in late April, 2017.

Fellowship Timelines can be thought of in two ways:
• In building the Fellowship community, we will select a new cohort of Fellows each year, with agreed upon timelines for various projects, understanding that some work may not adhere to the boundaries of 12 months and may be shorter, or longer.

•  A CatchLight Fellowship is awarded for life. Fellows will be encouraged to share expertise within the CatchLight community beyond the expiry of the grant period, and CatchLight hopes that Fellows will offer mentorship and seek mentorship within the community throughout their lives. Catchlight and CatchLight Fellows may refer to any past awardee as a current CatchLight Fellow. Fellows are encouraged to reference their CatchLight Fellowship in bios and resumés listing achievements and current positions.

Deliverables upon Completion
Participation: Fellows will be in attendance at the first of an annual series of San Francisco-based events in November, 2017, including a celebration and speaking engagement designed to promote the Fellowship project, provide live community engagement and raise awareness for the relevant social issues.

Prints and other media: The Fellow will be required to deliver museum quality photographic prints, digital imagery and other relevant work upon completion of the project for archival storage. Open for discussion will be a mutually agreed upon sale of images by CatchLight, with the understanding that any funds generated by sale will be applied only to benefit the future reach of the CatchLight mission and enhance the cohort.

Impact: Fellows will have worked with CatchLight to identify appropriate metrics to define measurable social impact.

Ethical Standards
Fellows are required to adhere to the highest ethical standards in the preparation and presentation of any work produced under CatchLight auspices. CatchLight reserves the right to revoke the Fellowship and reclaim all funds if a project is found to deliberately present misleading information or if anyone associated with the work has been coerced into participation or if financial inducements have been offered above reasonable expenses.

Media and Distribution
CatchLight will collaborate with each Fellow around social media responsibilities, distribution intentions, partnership development, communications, publicity and general support.

Rights: The Fellows will retain copyright in all work submitted to CatchLight and produced in the course of the awarded fellowship. CatchLight and designated partners will have non-exclusive rights to publish materials from the awarded project, including for the purpose of promoting CatchLight and the Fellowship, with appropriate credit always given to the owner.

Amount of Fellowship: A grant of $30,000 in funding during the 12-month period. CatchLight will also work to include other resources including media exposure and partnerships to assist in the production and impact of a well-rounded body of work over the course of the fellowship year. The cash grant will be issued 50% on approval, 25% on approval of mid-project review, and 25% upon completion, as mutually defined by hitting social metric targets, or best-efforts towards these goals.

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