CatchLight Fellowship 2019 for Creative Leaders in Visual Storytelling ($30,000 in financial support)

Application Deadline: February 18th at midnight PST.

The CatchLight Fellowship serves as an incubator for innovative leaders. It is a space to receive financial support, unlock individual potential, leverage partnerships and amplify your impact.

CatchLight believes in the importance of visual storytelling to foster a more empathetic understanding of the world. Our goal is to grow a thriving visual ecosystem by supporting innovators in the field of visual storytelling through the CatchLight Fellowship program.

The aim of the Catch Light Fellowship is to support the growth of the visual ecosystem by bringing resources and support to all types of innovators in the field. They can be: 

Visual 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.


Organizational leaders who are working to help further the visual ecosystem by discovering and amplifying storytellers’ voices and defining the future of the field. 

All Candidates are encouraged to push the boundaries in new and exciting ways. Proposals must represent excellence and present innovative amplification and engagement ideas. We invite and encourage a broad diversity in applicants, ideas, and creative mediums.

In addition to a $30,000 grant, the fellowship offers mentorship, personalized project development and networking opportunities from CatchLight staff and our extended network of partners.

During the first year, fellows will work on their proposed project with the networking support of CatchLight. CatchLight will offer continued amplification and engagement support for another year past the fellowship year. The nature of the awarded fellow’s work will determine the appropriate model for distribution and partnerships.

Fellows will be expected to participate in person to two key CatchLight programs in San Francisco: a kickoff workshop in April and a Leadership Summit in November.

A CatchLight Fellowship is awarded for life. Fellows will be encouraged to share expertise within the CatchLight community beyond the expiry of the grant period, and CatchLight hopes that Fellows will offer mentorship and seek mentorship within the community throughout their lives. CatchLight and CatchLight Fellows may refer to any past awardee as a current CatchLight Fellow. Fellows are required to reference their CatchLight Fellowship in bios and resumés listing achievements and current positions.

Eligibility Requirements:

The CatchLight Fellowship looking for exceptional talent, commitment to effective distribution and a drive to define 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 favorably on applicants who demonstrate 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.

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.


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. Application includes work samples, professional references, a written proposal with the scope of 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. There is no fee to apply.

For More Information:

Visit the Official Webpage of the CatchLight Fellowship 2019


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