CatchLight Fellowship Program 2018 ($30,000 for Creative Leaders in Visual Storytelling)

CatchLight Fellowship Program 2018 ($30,000 for Creative Leaders in Visual Storytelling)

Deadline: January 31, 2018

Applications are now open for the  2018 $30,000 CatchLight Fellowship Program. The CatchLight Fellowship annually recognizes three professional photographers—leaders in visual storytelling—who have demonstrated excellence in the novel use of photography to bring awareness to challenging social issues. Each CatchLight Fellow receives a $30,000 grant and then collaborates with a CatchLight media partner to complete his or her proposed project.

The CatchLight Fellowship serves as an incubator — a place to receive financial support, unlock individual potential, grow and leverage partnerships. The Fellowship cultivates a vibrant community of creative thought leaders whose work will be enhanced by collaboration, mentorship, and networking. A CatchLight Fellowship is awarded for life. 

The second year of this annual search for three lens-based storytellers who demonstrate excellence in the use of photography to drive social change adds two defined categories to the application’s open call: the Fellowship for Leadership and the Fellowship for California.

2018 Fellowships

Fellowship for LeadershipThis Fellowship will recognize an individual who demonstrates excellence in their personal art and leadership in their community and/or field; someone who actively creates opportunities for artists around them by mentoring, teaching or promotion of their work. This type of leadership is vital for broadening access to new talent and new perspectives, creating global benefit. We seek remarkable social leadership, coupled with a generous ingenuity that pulls others forward, even as they advance.

This Fellowship will incubate the individual’s leadership abilities, bringing resources to bear and spotlighting the power of individual action for growth and change. The nature of the awarded fellow’s work will determine the appropriate model for distribution partnerships.

Fellowship for California: Everything in California is big, including dreams and challenges. How do we visualize the New California Dream in one of the most innovative, hectic and expensive places in America? It is America’s laboratory for the fiscal pressures shaping our housing, jobs and education and a rapidly changing future. CatchLight will identify a California-focused photographer who demonstrates work that broadly reflects any aspect of life in California today — interpretations can show impact to any of a variety of issues including but not limited to race, environment, health, democracy, immigration, gender and identity.

Fellowship for Social Change: In contrast to the above fellowships which have a specific focus, the third 2018 Catchlight Fellowship is open to lens-based artists working on any social justice issue globally. This fellowship is aimed at the discovery and communication of issues not only of today, but of tomorrow — stories we don’t know about yet, or that we are revisiting through an entirely new lens.

They will recognize a visual storyteller whose work drives change around a social issue they are passionate about and there are no issues or methodology that CatchLight prioritizes over another. Applicants will have chosen their own themes and issues, and proposed unique and compelling methods of creation and distribution. This Fellow will be partnered with The Pulitzer Center On Crisis Reporting and therefore will focus both on media and education as distribution for the work.

They invite applicants to interpret these themes broadly and encourage proposals from visual storytellers working in diverse creative mediums.


CatchLight will cover all costs of attending the November Leadership Weekend in San Francisco for all CatchLight Fellows, including travel and hotel for the event activities.


  • The Fellowship is open to working professionals of any age and from any country who have demonstrated excellence in working with lens-based visual storytelling and a commitment to effecting social change.
  • Applicants may work in a broad range of visual formats including photography, video, audio, motion or VR and the proposal should build on existing work.
  • Applications must include work samples, professional references, a written proposal defining the scope of the project and potential ideas for partnerships and distribution avenues that best fit the proposal.


The CatchLight Fellowship pool is formed by both nomination and open call.

Apply here.

For more information, visit CatchLight Fellowship.