CatchLight Fellowship - Grant Program 2019, USA

Publish Date: Feb 01, 2019

Deadline: Feb 18, 2019

CatchLight Expands Fellowship Program, Adds Fourth Grant

SAN FRANCISCO - CatchLight announced today the expansion of its fellowship program, adding a fourth $30,000 grant and opening the call for entries to all innovative leaders in visual storytelling: long-form storytellers with impactful projects as well as leaders committed to advancing and growing the field of visual storytelling. 

“The opportunity for visual storytelling to make a meaningful impact in society has never been greater, and yet the many disruptions in the media landscape are making it more difficult to sustain the profession,” said Catchlight CEO Elodie Mailliet Storm. “With this expansion of our Fellowship program, we will continue to incubate and nurture innovations from storytellers and leaders who are working to advance visual storytelling — both as an art and as an ecosystem.”

The CatchLight Fellowship continues to offer support to storytellers who use visual art to spark new conversations, engage communities and whose work is poised to be significantly amplified by collaboration, mentorship, and networking. This year, as part of its desire to ensure the long-term sustainability of the visual storytelling profession, CatchLight is also expanding its support to innovative leaders who work to help grow and further the field. Both storytellers and innovators are encouraged to apply. In the two years since CatchLight, the San Francisco-based nonprofit was founded, its Fellows’ projects have earned global recognition, reaching an estimated 60 million people through digital and print publications and public engagements.

Previous CatchLight Fellows include Brian L. Frank, whose project on the criminalization of minority youth, is rapidly establishing a new ground for dialogue amongst key stakeholders in the criminal justice system. The ensuing “Visions of Justice” photography workshop Frank led for formerly incarcerated students, in partnership with Project Rebound was featured in Vice and is about to culminate in an exhibition at the San Francisco’s District Attorney’s office to open in February. Current CatchLight Fellow Aida Muluneh, a founder of Addis Photo Fest, is growing her already significant impact on the visual ecosystem — ushering in new generations of African visual storytellers in Nigeria, Ethiopia, Uganda, and the Ivory Coast by building support networks through workshops and mentorship programs.

In addition to financial grants, the CatchLight Fellowship offers support for project development and amplification, as well as mentorship opportunities through its vibrant community of creative thought leaders across media, art and entrepreneurship.

About CatchLight

CatchLight is a San Francisco Bay Area-based nonprofit that believes in the power of visual storytelling to foster a more nuanced and empathetic understanding of the world. CatchLight serves as a transformational force, urgently bringing resources and organizations together to support leaders in a thriving visual ecosystem. 

Eligibility: We are looking for exceptional talent, commitment to effective distribution and a drive to define the 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 apply as individuals. Business entities and institutions will not be eligible. CatchLight will look favourably on applicants who demonstrate a 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.

Application: The application portal opens on January 22nd and the deadline to apply is February 18th at midnight PST. The CatchLight Fellowship pool will be formed by both nomination and open call. An application includes work samples, professional references, a written proposal with the scope of a project, and potential ideas for partnerships and distribution avenues that best fit the proposal. 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. 

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.


  • All applications must be completed in English.
  • Applicants will submit 20-25 still images, or 15 minutes or less of audio/motion or VR from either the proposed project or a previous piece of work. Images will be 72DPI, 1200 longest edge.
  • One (1) project statement of 100 words or less summarizing the project.
  • One (1) proposal of no more than 500 words outlining:
    • The work to be pursued in the course of a 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 300 words or less outlining distribution plan.
  • Three (3) professional references with contact information.
  • Adherence to the ethical standards as described below.
  • 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 making a successful application.

Winners Announced

A list of finalists will be produced in early March and those included will be contacted personally. Fellows will be selected and notified following the final live judging held on Saturday, March 16th. 2019 Fellows will be expected to be present in San Francisco April 3-7, 2019 for a series of events including a kickoff workshop, live announcement of the Fellows and CatchLight Symposium. 

Deliverables Upon Completion

Participation: Fellows will be in attendance at the annual series of San Francisco-based events in April and November, including am onboarding workshop, 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 and CatchLight programming. CatchLight may request permission for the sale of images under mutually agreed upon conditions for the purpose of benefiting the future reach of the CatchLight mission and enhancing 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 70% on approval, 15% on approval of mid-project review in November 2018, and 15% upon completion.

For more information click "LINK TO ORIGINAL" below.

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Host Countries

United States