Photo Fringe OPEN Digital

Deadline: 10/08/2022  |  Published: 25/07/2022  |  City: Brighton & Hove / online  |  Region: East Sussex  |  Country: United Kingdom  |  Photo Fringe

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Photo Fringe invites artists using digital technology to propose an innovative, participation-led, lens-based project that will engage audiences with our theme this year of Real Utopias. The project will be a keynote exhibition on the Photo Fringe website and exhibited in Brighton CCA (Dorset Place gallery) throughout October. This award is funded by Art Fund.

The selected artist or collective will receive:

  • a fee of £3,000 plus production costs up to £500

  • support from a facilitator to work with their chosen target community

  • digital project development mentoring with Black Shuck Coop (up to 5 days with James Wreford)

  • additional mentoring from Kay Watson, Head of Arts Technology, Serpentine and Monica Alcazar-Duarte, artist

The jury is looking for a photographic or lens-based digital project that is relevant and exciting for participants and breaks new ground for the artist/s. We are especially interested in supporting projects that seek to engage lower socio-economic and/or under-represented communities.

We anticipate that this project will be a development of existing lens-based work. 

All entrants’ proposals will be reviewed by a panel of influential professionals (see below). 

About Photo Fringe 

Photo Fringe is a registered charity that supports early-career photographers and lens-based artists, showcases new talent and enables all kinds of people to enjoy and experiment with photography. Every two years Photo Fringe designs and delivers one of the largest photographic festivals of its kind in the UK. Photo Fringe develops new ways of seeing together. It is open to everyone and everybody’s invited.

Real Utopias

“The function of art is to do more than tell it like it is – it is to imagine what is possible.”  bell hooks

Our tenth, biennial, open-platform festival is scheduled to take place online and in venues across and beyond Brighton & Hove from 6 – 30 October. 

Our theme is Real Utopias, a call to action for Photo Fringers and audiences to explore how photography can help us imagine a brighter, greener, fairer world.

Real utopias exist on the periphery of the mainstream, demonstrating what could be possible. They take the here and now as a starting point for dreaming and visualising a better future. As we emerge from the depths of the pandemic, learning to cope with new challenges and global emergencies, the future feels increasingly unsettled. Photo Fringe co-opts the expansive medium of photography to co-create alternative visions of the future.

What the Photo Fringe OPEN Digital panel will be looking for

The panel will be looking for responses to the theme of Real Utopias and proposals that demonstrate a clear understanding of social engagement and working with participants. 

Your project proposal should include:

  • how the work will be co-created with participants and how the project is built around mutually beneficial relationships between communities, contributors and/or participants. We value the process as much as the outcome

  • how the work will actively use a digital interface to facilitate participation

  • initial ideas for how the work could be presented in a digital exhibition on the Photo Fringe website

  • initial ideas on how the project process, participation and/or outcomes might be presented in the exhibition space at Brighton CCA (Dorset Place), within the constraints of a tight production budget. (Gallery presentation could be entirely digital)

  • your methodology for recruiting participants

Photo Fringe OPEN Digital selection panel:

  • Monica Alcazar-Duarte, artist
  • Natalie Mitchell, Assistant Curator, Studio Voltaire
  • Kay Watson, Head of Arts Technology, Serpentine (maternity leave)
  • Claire Wearn, Festival Director, Photo Fringe
  • James Wreford, Black Shuck Cooperative
  • Polly Wright, Programme Producer
  • Sam Mercer, Producer, Digital Programme The Photographers' Gallery

About the exhibition spaces

Photo Fringe will dedicate a bespoke space on its website.

Brighton CCA Dorset Place is a small gallery housed within the University of Brighton (BN2 1ST)


The awardee will have mentoring with digital expert James Wreford at Black Shuck Cooperative and two further mentors to help produce their show online. You will need to be available for a minimum of three sessions via video call or as relevant. Please ensure you are available between 22 August and 23 September.


The exhibition preview will take place online and in Dorset Place, Brighton on Thursday 6 October 2022. All details to be confirmed nearer the date. The awardee will also need to be available for press interviews.

Artist Talk

The selected solo artist will be invited to participate in an online artist talk about their exhibition and practice on Saturday 8 October.


Application Deadline: 10 August 2022 at 9am (GMT)

Announce awardee: 15 August

Mentoring and development of work: 22 August to 23 September

Exhibition preparation: 26 September - 6 October

Launch online and Brighton CCA exhibition: 6 October

Artist talk: 8 October

Exhibition period at Brighton CCA (Dorset Place): 6-29 October

De-install exhibition at Brighton CCA: 30 October


If you require support with your application, please get in touch with Photo Fringe Festival Director, Claire Wearn, using the "Contact the curator" button below.

Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form

Please complete our short survey to help aid evaluation of opportunities at Photo Fringe.

The personal data you supply on this form is anonymous and will not be viewed with your submission.

Please refer to the Photo Fringe website for more details of how we look after your data.

Contact the curator
Who is eligible for this opportunity?
*Artists whose work is considered photographic or lens-based
*Artists should be based within the UK
*If proposals are based on an existing body of work, the work must not have been previously exhibited as a solo show (this can be graduate work if it has not been shown outside a University or art college)
*Entrants should be over 18 years of age (those between the ages of 14 to 18 should apply for our OPEN Young Photographers award)
When is the deadline?
10 August 2022 at 9am (GMT)
When is the delivery date?
*Mentoring and development of work: 22 August to 23 September, 2022
*Exhibition preparation: 26 September - 6 October
*Launch online and Brighton CCA exhibition: 6 October
When do I need to collect my work?
Sunday 30 October, 2022
How much does it cost?
There is no charge to enter
Are there payments to artists?
Yes. Artist fee of £3000 (inclusive)
Is there a private view / opening?
Yes, both online launch and in-venue preview at Brighton CCA (Dorset Place) on Thursday 6 October, 2022
What are the exhibition opening hours?
Yet to be confirmed for Brighton CCA, likely Fridays & Saturdays between 6 & 29 October, 2022
Does the location have disabled access?
Do I need to be present?
We would love the artist/s to be with us for the Preview on 6 October. You may also be required in the gallery on some exhibition days to support invigilation.
What happens if my proposal is chosen?
You will be notified by Photo Fringe Festival Director, Claire Wearn. You will then be asked to schedule in your first meeting with James Wreford at Black Shuck in w/c 22 August, 2022
What kind of proposals are you looking for?
The panel will be looking for photographic and/or lens-based responses to the theme of Real Utopias and for proposals that demonstrate a clear understanding of social engagement and working with participants. Along with an intention for using a digital interface to facilitate participation.

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