Photo Fringe OPEN Digital - artist open call

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This opportunity is supported by Art Fund (

Photo Fringe invites artists using digital technology to propose an innovative, participation-led, lens-based project that will engage audiences with our theme this year of Real Utopias.

The project will be the keynote exhibition on the Photo Fringe website and exhibited in Brighton CCA (Dorset Place gallery) throughout October.

The selected artist or collective will receive:

  • a fee of £3,000 plus production costs up to £500
  • support from a facilitator to work with their chosen target community
  • digital project development mentoring with Black Shuck Coop (up to 5 days with James Wreford)
  • additional mentoring from Monica Alcazar-Duarte, artist and Kay Watson, Head of Arts Technology, Serpentine

The jury is looking for a photographic or lens-based, digital project that is relevant and exciting for participants and breaks new ground for the artist/s. We are especially interested in supporting projects that seek to engage lower socio-economic and/or under-represented communities.

We anticipate that this project will be a development of an existing lens-based work.

All entrants’ proposals will be reviewed by a panel of influential professionals (see below).

Entry is free of charge.

Real Utopias

“The function of art is to do more than tell it like it is – it is to imagine what is possible.” bell hooks

Our tenth, biennial, open-platform festival is scheduled to take place online and in venues across and beyond Brighton & Hove from 6 – 30 October.

Our theme is Real Utopias, a call to action for Photo Fringers and audiences to explore how photography can help us imagine a brighter, greener, fairer world.

Real utopias exist on the periphery of the mainstream, demonstrating what could be possible. They take the here and now as a starting point for dreaming and visualising a better future. As we emerge from the depths of the pandemic, learning to cope with new challenges and global emergencies, the future feels increasingly unsettled. Photo Fringe co-opts the expansive medium of photography to co-create alternative visions of the future.

What the panel will be looking for

The panel will be looking for photographic or lens-based responses to the theme of Real Utopias and proposals that demonstrate a clear understanding of social engagement and working with participants.

Your project proposal should include:

  • how the work will be co-created with participants and how the project is built around mutually beneficial relationships between communities, contributors and/or participants. We value the process as much as the outcome
  • how the work will actively use a digital interface to facilitate participation
  • initial ideas for how the work could be presented in a digital exhibition on the Photo Fringe website
  • initial ideas on how the project process, participation and/or outcomes might be presented in the exhibition space at Brighton CCA (Dorset Place), within the constraints of a tight production budget. Gallery presentation could be entirely digital
  • your methodology for recruiting participants

Photo Fringe OPEN Digital selection panel

- Monica Alcazar-Duarte, artist

- Natalie Mitchell, Assistant Curator, Studio Voltaire

- Sam Mercer, Producer, Digital Programme, The Photographers’ Gallery

- Kay Watson, Head of Arts Technology, Serpentine (maternity leave)

- Claire Wearn, Festival Director, Photo Fringe

- James Wreford, Black Shuck Cooperative

- Polly Wright, Programme Producer


  • Artists whose work is considered photographic or lens-based
  • Artists should be based within the UK
  • If proposals are based on an existing body of work, the work must not have been previously exhibited as a solo show (this can be graduate work if it has not been shown outside a University or art college).
  • Entrants should be over 18 years of age (those between the ages of 14 to 18 should apply for our OPEN Young Photographers award).

About the exhibition spaces

Photo Fringe will dedicate a bespoke space on its website.

Brighton CCA Dorset Place is a small gallery housed within the University of Brighton (BN2 1ST)


The awardee will have mentoring with digital expert James Wreford at Black Shuck Cooperative and two further mentors to help produce their show online. You will need to be available for a minimum of three sessions via video call or as relevant. Please ensure you are available between 22 August and 23 September.


Application Deadline: 10 August 2022 at 9am (GMT)

Announce awardee: 15 August

Mentoring and development of work: 22 August to 23 September

Exhibition preparation: 26 September - 6 October

Launch online and CCA exhibition: 6 October

Artist talk: 8 October

Brighton CCA exhibition: 6-29 October

De-install exhibition at Brighton CCA: 30 October


The exhibition preview will take place online and in Dorset Place, Brighton on Thursday 6 October 2022. All details to be confirmed nearer the date. The awardee will also need to be available for press interviews.

Artist Talk

The selected solo artist will be invited to participate in an online artist talk about their exhibition and practice on Saturday 8 October. This is included in the artist fee.


Click here and follow the instructions using Curator Space to make your submission.

Terms and Conditions - full artist brief below

Photo Fringe Open Digital 2022 Artfund


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