$5,000 to $30,000 Audience Engagement Grants for Photographers: Deadline Extended

May 14, 2011 /Photography NewsFunded by the Open Society Foundations, the Audience Engagement Grant (formerly called the Distribution Grant) supports photographers to take an existing body of work on a social justice or human rights issue and devise an innovative way of using that work as a catalyst for social change.

Projects should combine existing bodies of work with programming or tools that give viewers a deeper, more nuanced understanding of issues and empower them to participate in the process of improving their own or others’ realities. Projects should also include a partnership between a photographer and an organization that combines expertise in documentary photography with experience working on the topic or community the project addresses.


The Open Society Foundations will award five to eight grants ranging from $5,000-$30,000. Grant funds cannot be used to shoot new imagery.


The Audience Engagement Grant supports individuals who are partnering with organizations on collaborative projects. Projects must involve:
  1. Photography Partner whose expertise is in documentary photography; and
  2. Audience Engagement Partner whose expertise is in the topic or community the project addresses.
A third Distribution Partner, whose expertise is in the dissemination or presentation method, may also be included, but is not required.

Each project partner should contribute resources to the project. These contributions may take the form of: content, expertise, services, administrative/logistical support, staff, organizational infrastructure, access, contacts/connections, equipment, space, or funding.

Preference will be given, but not limited, to projects that address issues and geographical areas that concern the Open Society Foundations.

The following are not eligible for funding:
  • Requests to shoot new work
  • Dated material, unless the purpose is to collect and preserve untold, alternative, or historically significant narratives about a particular community or historical event
  • Projects whose only goal is to fundraise and/or raise awareness in a general way
  • Projects that are geared toward "the general public," and do not identify a primary targeted audience
  • Exhibitions that serve only the interests of the photographer or the gallery
  • Book production
  • Documentary film or video
  • Lobbying activities
Completed online application deadline: Monday, May 23, 2011, 5pm EST

Since 2005, the program has supported over forty projects that range in format and purpose. To view a list of previously funded projects, please consult the Grantee List.

For more details visit the Audience Engagement Grant Guidelines.


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