Magnum Foundation
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Photography and Social Justice

Photo by Tako Robakidze

Magnum Foundation’s Photography and Social Justice Program expands diversity and creativity in the field of documentary photography through capacity-building and critical explorations of photography and social change.

Each year, the program supports a diverse, international group of Photography and Social Justice Fellows who are passionate about challenging injustice, pursuing social equality, and advancing human rights through photography. With New York City as a cultural resource, the program provides space for interdisciplinary experimentation, mentored project development, and cross-cultural, critical discourse at the intersection of photography and social justice. During the program, Fellows work on projects in their home* communities with support from Magnum Foundation’s mentors.

Magnum Foundation covers the cost of travel and room and board for the sessions in New York City. Fellows also receive a modest stipend to support the production of their projects. The program is produced in partnership with the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism.

*Though we value international perspectives, and support photographers who work internationally through other Magnum Foundation programs, this particular fellowship is meant to provide training and mentorship for those who have a keen ability to recognize the nuances in their own cultures, speak from a place of personal knowledge and experience about their place and community, and have deep personal connections to their work.



Magnum Foundation Photography and Social Justice Fellows are early-career photographers or individuals trained in aligned disciplines who are motivated to deepen their engagement with photography and visual storytelling. Photography and Social Justice Fellows are part of social, political, or cultural groups who are currently or historically oppressed or excluded, and come from communities around the world where freedom of expression is limited. This program especially aims to support people of color, women, gender non-conforming individuals, LGBTQ individuals, individuals who are part of racial, ethnic, or religious minority groups, and others whose authorship is unevenly represented within the field of documentary photography. Refugees are welcome to apply.

The Photography and Social Justice Program is designed to prepare our fellows to be effective and creative leaders in their home communities. Our hope is that our fellows become models and resources for other practitioners, and that they cultivate strength and support through their international colleagues. Through this program, Magnum Foundation trains photographers to use their creative skills to inspire social movements, to witness, to resist oppression, to pose the difficult questions, and to stimulate debate and awareness about critical social issues.


and Selection 

Applications for the 2018 year have closed.

Photography and Social Justice Fellows are selected through an open, international call for applications. Those not eligible for the program can recommend someone else by sharing the open call, or contacting us, as we welcome recommendations.

Eligible candidates include:

- Early-career documentary photographers, artists, and photojournalists
- Activists who use photography in their change-making practice
- Journalists who would like to deepen their engagement with photography
- Scholars who incorporate images and image-making in their research and scholarship

Preference is given to those who have not had previous opportunity to do a formal course of study in photography at the university level. Applicants must be proficient in spoken and written English. All instruction will be in English and there will be no simultaneous translation for instruction or discussion during the course sessions. We are especially seeking applications from people of color, women, individuals who are part of social, political, or cultural groups who are currently or historically oppressed or excluded, and queer, trans, and, gender non-conforming people. Refugees are welcome to apply.

Fellows will be chosen by the Magnum Foundation’s internal selection committee and notified Mid-February 2018. All finalists for the fellowship will be interviewed to ensure verbal proficiency in English. (Please note that this language requirement exists because Fellows’ discussions, workshops, readings, and mentorship sessions in New York are conducted in English.)



The Photography and Social Justice Fellowship takes place over the course of six months and is comprised of the following elements:   

Project Development and Frameworks
April–May 2018

These initial bi-weekly online sessions provide conceptual groundwork for the training and a forum for the Fellows to develop their project ideas.


NYC Session 1
June 4–29, 2018

The first session in New York City is a four week training hosted by CUNY’s Graduate School of Journalism. This first session focuses on project development, technical trainings, and experimentation. This session will include exploration of emerging tools and platforms, lectures on documentary photography, and discussions on critical theory.


Mentored Project Production
June 2018–January 2019

Fellows produce a body of work that aims to advance social justice in their communities with mentorship from accomplished photographers, artists, and others from Magnum Foundation’s network.


NYC Session 2
Jan 7–18, 2019

This two week session includes a final review of the Fellows’ projects and focus on social engagement and creative presentation strategies.  



November 30, 2017

Applications due

February 2018

Fellows Selected and notified

April–May 2018

Online Sessions and Project Development

June 4th–29, 2018

Session 1 (four weeks)

June 2018–January 2019

Mentored Project Production

January 7–18, 2019

Session 2 (two weeks)


Magnum Foundation gave me the opportunity to study abroad and changed my life. They gave me the opportunity to deepen my understanding of why we are doing visual storytelling.
— Muyi Xiao, China
I could never ever dream of a better visual education in Ukraine or some place else. The knowledge I gained and the friends I made through the foundation are my inspiration for life. It became a game changer for me and can become the game changer for somebody else around the globe.
— Anastasia Vlasova, Ukraine
The foundation has been supporting me and my fellows through every step of our careers and what I have learned through them has guided me through so many aspects of my life.
— Santiago Arcos, Ecuador

Grantees by Year


Nariman El-Mofty, Egypt
Esther Mbabazi, Uganda
Zhou Na, China
Josué Rivas, USA
Tako Robakidze, Georgia

Soumya Sankar Bose, India
Lindokuhle Sobekwa, South Africa
Yu Yu Myint Than, Burma
Elias Williams, USA



In 2016, as a response to increased sectarian conflict and xenophobia around the world, we brought together nine former fellows to produce work in their home countries exploring tolerance through rigorous and creative visual narratives. See more here.


Anastasia Vlasova, Ukraine
Xyza Cruz Bacani, Philippines
Muyi Xiao, China
Abbas Hajimohammadi,  Iran
Yuyang Liu, China

Santiago Arcos, Ecuador
Eman Helal, Egypt
Poulomi Basu, India
Manca Juvan Hessabi, Slovenia



Anastasia Vlasova, Ukraine
Basel Alyazouri, Palestine
Chery Dieu Nalio, Haiti
Muyi Xiao, China
Nour Kelze, Syria
Sipho Mpongo, South Africa
Xyza Cruz Bacani, Philippines


Abbas Hajimohammadi, Iran
Loubna Mrie, Syria
Mohammed Elshamy, Egypt
Pedro Silveira, Brazil
Sumeja Tulic, Bosnia
Yuyang Liu, China



Eman Helal, Egypt
Lijie Zhang, China
Pattabi Raman, India
Ramin Mazur, Moldova
Santiago Arcos, Ecuador


Poulomi Basu, India
Arthur Bondar, Ukraine
Liu Jie, China
Pooyan Tabatabaei, Iran



Taslima Akhter, Bangladesh
Nazik Armenakyan, Armenia
Boniface Mwangi, Kenya
Manca Juvan Hessabi, Slovenia


Karen Mirzoyan, 27, Armenia
Sim Chi Yin, 32, Singapore