News Opportunities Photography

Arab Documentary Photography Program

Application deadline: 1 May 2020

The Arab Fund for Art and Culture and the Prince Claus Fund in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in partnership with the Magnum Foundation in New York, USA, launched the Arab Documentary Photography Program (ADPP) in 2014. The ADPP is a program jointly funded by AFAC and PCF, targeting creative documentary photographers in the Arab region. A jurors’ committee comprised of Arab and international experts will select up to 10 grantees to receive financial and professional support to complete their proposed photography projects.

Visit the program’s website:


Documentary photography sheds light on important neglected and unknown narratives. However, in the Arab world it remains an under-developed genre. With most current visual production going to journalistic mass-media outlets, there is little opportunity for documentary photographers to explore creative, personal, long-term, and analytical approaches to their work.  Additionally, there is little access to the needed resources and adequate professional support to initiate and complete compelling documentary photography projects.

The focus of the Arab Documentary Photography Program is to support compelling non-stereotypical and unconventional visual documentation of important social issues and narratives relevant to the Arab region. In recognition to the image’s power to document, educate and advocate, the ADPP will also explore ways by which documentary photography can reach out to wider audiences and engage with them in a compelling and impactful ways. Photographers may propose to work in a range of non-fiction narrative styles, from classic documentary photography to more experimental visual storytelling, and may propose to include audio and video elements.


  • To raise the level of creative documentary photography in the Arab region;
  • To train photographers and expand their approaches to visual storytelling;
  • To share strong visual narratives from the Arab region regionally and internationally;
  • To explore wider access to documentary photography and a more active engagement with its audiences

About the Grant

AFAC’s Arab Documentary Photography Program (ADPP) provides up to 10 production grants per cycle of 5,000 USD each. Grantees are expected to work on their projects in their country of residence over a period of 8 months. The grant may be used to begin a new project or to complete work on an existing project.

In addition, ADPP grantees will benefit from mentorship provided by top caliber program mentors and will be required to attend two specialized workshops to help them develop and produce their projects and consider avenues for distribution. Grantees travel and accommodation expenses during the workshops are not included in the production grant but will be covered separately by the program. The production grant does not include printing and distribution costs.

In the event that the grantee does not sign the grant contract within 30 days upon receipt thereof, the grant will be canceled. Projects must be completed within 8 months of signing the contract, during which grantees are expected so submit the necessary financial and narrative reports.

Recipients of this grant must commit to attending the two workshops. Failure to do so might result in the cancellation of the grant. The first workshop will be in September 2019 and the second workshop in April 2020.

Eligible Candidates

This grant is open to Arab applicants mainly those living and working in the Arab region, irrespective of age, years of experience, ethnicity, gender or religion. Exceptions are made for Arab applicants who had to flee their home countries during the past six years (since 2012) due to political unrest. Their projects must however be related to the region.

Professional and emerging photographers are eligible to apply. Photographers who have not specialized in documentary photography will be considered as long as the proposed work is documentary in nature.

Technical familiarity with photography is required. Journalists or activists who have not had experience with photography are not eligible to apply.

Applicants must be comfortable using English for all communication and in person discussions. The workshops and communication will be conducted in English. Translation can be provided during the workshops.

Applicants must be independent, i.e. not currently working under any “work for hire” agreements, and should have full copyright ownership of the work they produce.

Ineligible Candidates

AFAC will not consider applications submitted by:

  • Members of the Board of Trustees, their business partners or family members.
  • AFAC staff members, their business partners or family members.
  • Members of the current year’s jurors committees.
  • Recipients of two consecutive grants unless two years had passed since the last grant (e.g. If a grantee had received two grants in 2016 and 2017, s/he can apply again in 2020).
  • Applicants with a current open grant.
  • Each applicant is entitled to only one application in the same category.
  • If an applicant has an application that is in process, s/he cannot submit another application in any category until the result of the current application in process is announced.

Eligible Expenses

This USD 5.000 production grant shall be used to cover the artist fees, any needed production equipment cost, any research costs, travel and other expenses related to the production. Additionally, the grant covers per diem (when on location) and visa fees associated with attendance of the two workshops.  (Note: Travel and accommodation costs related to the workshops will be covered directly by ADPP).  Grant funds will be used solely for the undertaking of the described photography project and not for any other purpose.

Place and Duration

AFAC will not provide support retroactively, i.e. to projects already completed. For projects that have already started, AFAC will cover the expenses that will occur only after the signature of the contract if the project is selected.

The project’s time frame should not exceed 8 months.

How to Apply

Applications are only accepted through our online application forms available on our website. Applications submitted via regular mail or e-mail will not be accepted.

The application must be submitted in English.

The applicant will receive a confirmation email once the online application has been received. AFAC will not contact applicants if any part of their application is incomplete.

Incomplete applications will not be taken into consideration.

To apply, please login with your username and password. Once you login, visit the program page you are interested in applying to and click on apply. In case you don’t have an existing account, please create one here.

Mentorship Process

An implementation plan – including the project story and characters, risks and possible challenges, tentative timeline for the different phases of the project – should be prepared before the first workshop, and will be agreed on with the photographer. This implementation plan will be discussed and approved by the mentors during the first workshop.

Grantees will have regularly scheduled Skype meetings with their mentors throughout the grant period to discuss their projects. Mentors will evaluate progress according to the benchmarks grantees set in their implementation plans.

Supporting Material

All applications must include:

  • 10 – 20 images from the initial stages of the proposed project.
  • Images from any single body of work that demonstrates the applicant’s ability as a photographer and a visual storyteller.
  • Captions should be included in the metadata of each image file. A numbered caption sheet is requested in the supporting material zip file.
  • Images should be JPGs, 72 dpi, and longest edge 1,000 pixels.
    Additional media as supplement to the still photographs are accepted. Applicant needs to include the corresponding links in the supporting material zip file.
  • Applications lacking in supporting material will not be considered for evaluation nor will the applicant be contacted to send the missing material.
  • Supporting files/samples of current submitted project and/or previous work smaller than 10 MB can be uploaded directly to the application.
  • Supporting files/samples of current submitted project and/or previous work between 10 MB and 300 MB should be included as links to files on sharing websites (such as Dropbox, Vimeo, YouTube…).
  • For further inquiries regarding supporting material, contact AFAC grants management team.

Evaluation and Selection Process

Following the submission deadline, AFAC will conduct an administrative check to ensure that applications are complete and adhere to the guidelines. Only applications that pass the administrative check will be processed. An independent jurors’ committee will assess the preselected applications and choose the projects to be granted. Please see Evaluation Process for more details.

Grants Announcement

The grant winners will be announced and published on the AFAC website and Facebook page after the jury meetings conclude. An automatic email will be sent to those who were not selected to receive grants.

Grant Contract

As soon as the grant winners are announced, AFAC will draft a grant contract to be signed by the grantees. The contract will include start and end dates, workshops’ dates, grant amount, financial requirements, payment schedule, general provisions, implementation and amendments, required reports and project results.

Grantees will be expected to work on their projects consistently over the course of the eight-month grant term and are expected to communicate with their mentors on a monthly basis via Skype or other available means. A commitment of the equivalent of 30 days for this project is required.

Grantees will be required to attend the first workshop. The partner organizations will evaluate the progress of each project and will reserve the right to withhold invitations to the second workshop if a grantee has not met expectations for objectives they’ve outlined in their implementation plan.

Payments Conditions & Schedule

vThe grantee will receive 60% of the grant amount as a first payment upon approval of the implementation plan. The second payment of 40% will be made at the beginning of the second workshop and after the mentors approves the progress made by the grantee allowing him/her to participate into the second workshop.


The grantees retain the copyright to their work, but grant AFAC and PCF a non-exclusive, royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, and worldwide license to the images created under the grant for Web and exhibition use as well as audio-visual and multi-media, in order to help attain the objectives of the PCF and AFAC as part of its communication, PR and fundraising efforts. The PCF and AFAC are allowed to make derivative works from the copyright materials in any and all forms. The termination of the ADPP grant will not affect or end the license granted.

Application deadline: 1 May 2020
Announcement: 17 Jun 2020

Source: AFAC
Image: © Thana Faroq