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CALL FOR COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT & COLLABORATIVE PHOTO-BASED PROJECTS FROM WOMEN, TRANSGENDER, AND NON-BINARY ARTISTS ACROSS THE UNITED STATES, D.C., AND PUERTO RICO

Do you have bold ideas for a photo-based project that redefines how we understand and respond to urgent issues in the United States today? Join our developing project as a founding artist. We, Women is not just a grant. It’s an opportunity to shape a national conversation about how to find common ground on divisive issues through photography and community engagement.

Selected artists will receive:

  • A cash grant of $5,000-$10,000 for the continuation of existing work or the creation of a new project in a community they have a demonstrated commitment to

  • Mentorship and production support from We, Women leaders, project partners, and advisors

  • Promotion and marketing of projects

  • We, Women exhibition at Photoville Fall 2020

  • Inclusion in a traveling nationwide exhibition with concurrent programming beginning Fall 2020

The first five We, Women projects have been selected and will be covering issues in NY, CA, NM, LA, and IL. We are building the second group, up to 15 projects, through this call for proposals due on June 30, 2019 at 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time. Applicants are invited to apply with any project idea, in any state, D.C., or Puerto Rico with the exception of the states mentioned above.

We, Women has anchor support from the Open Society Foundations. We are concurrently fundraising and soliciting artist proposals so that we can hit the ground running in 2020.


Overview

We, Women is a nationwide platform exploring crucial issues across the United States, D.C., and Puerto Rico through photo-based projects. We support women, transgender, and non-binary artists whose processes are rooted in community engagement and collaboration. Projects will re-frame issues and highlight underrepresented narratives that resist and interrogate social and political landscapes while promoting empathy and unity.

The first phase of this developing project will feature up to 20 projects in key states and a mobile national exhibition in 2020.


Vision

We live in an era characterized by divisiveness and distrust in politics and the media, yet we’re witnessing the highest level of civic engagement in decades. We, Women artists will fuel existing movements by combining images with community engagement to offer a direct route to the core of a problem and the beginning of a solution. Our artists highlight the vital role the arts play in social change movements, by visualizing issues, attracting attention, connecting changemakers, and bridging dialogues.

Women, transgender, and non-binary people are often at the forefront of activism but disempowered in our political and social systems. Every defining issue of American existence today—from gun control to health care, affordable housing to climate change—is intersectional and should be interpreted and understood directly from these perspectives.

As a way to unravel the legacy of power structures constructed and maintained through decades of “othering” imagery, We, Women seeks to reclaim the photographic process in an act of visual rebellion: how it’s executed, what it means, and who it reaches. Only through a holistic understanding of how these structures impact our entire society can we hope to create a shift in our political and social systems.

We, Women prioritizes artists of color and individuals from all spectrums of identity, including but not limited to religion, sexual orientation, age, ability, and socio-economic status. By creating projects that unite and engage communities across the United States, our artists will show how issues are interconnected and how we are all affected by them. Through this radical transformation of image-making—with the goal of contributing to lasting changeWe, Women believes we can revolutionize how we see our world and ultimately, ourselves.


Goals

Up to 20 community engagement projects in 20 different states will be showcased locally and nationally in a traveling exhibition that will begin touring the country in the Fall of 2020. We, Women projects will also be featured on our website. Though rooted in specific locations, each project will serve as a case study for broader issues that impact multiple communities across the United States. By virtually and physically showing this work, we enable a broader demographic to see themselves reflected in these projects, learn about new perspectives, and see connections across geography and topics.

Over several years, we aim to support additional projects across the United States, D.C., and Puerto Rico, tracking issues across time, location, and political leadership.


Call for Proposals

We, Women believes photographs are only the beginning of a creative and socially-minded process. Thus, we will support work that is rooted in collaboration, blurring the lines between the author, photographed community, and audience. We welcome a range of artistic and documentary approaches including photography, video, interactive technology, and the use of historical archives.

Preference will be given to applicants with a strong, demonstrated commitment or connection to the communities or issues they are addressing.


Possible topics include:

Gun Control, Immigration, Criminal Justice, Climate and the Environment, Political Participation/Voter Suppression/Disenfranchisement, Education, Healthcare, Housing, Jobs and the Economy, Indigenous Rights, Religion and Religious Freedom, and Substance Abuse.

Artists can also focus on cross-cutting issues such as gender, race, class, sexuality, age, ethnicity, religion, and ability.

Artists will receive funding in late 2019 for projects completed by Fall 2020.


Apply by June 30, 2019 at 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time via our online form with the following information:

  • Your contact information

  • Project title

  • Project location

  • Answers to the questions below

  • Your CV

  • Contact information for two references

  • Up to 20 images plus captions, from the proposed project or a related project

  • Your project timeline

  • Your project budget, including other sources of funding

  • Gender identity, ethnic background, and age

  • Elevator Pitch: In 1-2 sentences, describe your project.

For your reference, the questions are also listed here. We recommend working on your answers in a separate document and pasting your answers into the online form.


Application Questions

In 1000 words or less, please describe the following:

  • The issue your project will address and how this issue impacts the community you’ll be working with. Also include the project location, activities, goals, tangible outcomes, and how it’s rooted in collaboration and community engagement.

  • How your project moves beyond insular and polarized conversations and creates pathways for dialogue and action.

  • How your project and the community you're working with provide an opportunity for a broader, national conversation about the issue you are addressing.

  • Describe your relationship with the community you’re working with. Are you a member of this community? If not, how have you demonstrated a relationship and/or longstanding commitment with the people of this community?

  • Is your proposed project new or ongoing? If it’s ongoing, please describe how this grant will enable you to develop a new component of your work. Also, how is your proposed strategy similar or different to previous ways of addressing this issue?

  • Who is your desired audience for the final product of your work and how will you assess your project’s impact?


In 250 words or less, please describe the following:

  • Do you have a local partner organization (e.g. outreach, funding, advocacy)? If so, please list and indicate role of the partner(s). If not, are there partners you have identified? If so, who and what do you envision their role(s) to be?


Please attach the following:

  • Your project timeline

  • Your project budget, including other sources of funding

  • Up to 20 images plus captions, from the proposed project or a related project


Selection Process

The We, Women founding team and an external selection committee will select artists.

The first group of We, Women artists has been selected, and will be covering issues in NY, CA, NM, LA, and IL. We are looking to create the second group through this call for proposals.

We will choose the artists best equipped to make meaningful and impactful community engagement work. We will also consider geographical location, which will be evenly balanced between urban, rural, and suburban communities in all regions of the United States. Taken together, We, Women projects will reach a broad demographic.

Priority will be given to projects that are already underway. For projects starting from scratch, funding will go only to projects that are fully conceptualized and where the artist has a track record of working in the proposed method and/or demonstrated experience with the community and issue.

We, Women encourages applicants from diverse backgrounds and the majority of We, Women artists will be women, transgender, or non-binary people of color. In our selection, we do not discriminate against otherwise qualified applicants on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, ability, or sexual orientation.

We believe that gender is fluid. We, Women is inclusive of a plurality of voices including womxn, transgender, and non-binary people.


Selection Committee

Read more about our Selection Committee here.


Eligibility

  • Women, transgender, and non-binary artists whose processes are rooted in community engagement and collaboration.

  • Demonstrated longstanding commitment to the issue and/or community in which you propose to work

  • Feasible project with tangible goals

  • Project includes the community you are working with as collaborators not “subjects”

  • Collaborations between artists are accepted, provided that all team members are women, transgender, or non-binary. Please submit one application per project.

In most cases, projects in which a substantial part of the funding will be used for travel and accommodations will not be considered.

We are looking for projects that:

  • Respond to the misogyny, racism, bigotry, and divisiveness that is being magnified in the current political climate

  • Move beyond insular and polarized conversations and create pathways for dialogue and action

  • Promote a reconsideration of how art and media are currently produced and consumed

  • Amplify a commitment to inclusion, diversity, and self-representation

  • Resist, interrogate, or change how issues are understood and addressed

Examples of community engagement may include:

  • Partnering with advocates and activists working on similar issues

  • Inviting community members to collaborate in making images, or by including their creative voices in ways such as drawing, writing, or painting on images

  • Hosting town hall meetings with community members impacted by affected issues

  • Accompanying images of a community with audio from interviews

  • Including archival imagery, community ephemera, community writing, and personal narratives into the project

  • Creating public art installations through wheat paste posters, projections, vinyl images, community screenings, or pop up installations

  • Connecting audiences to direct action

  • Creating space for both small, intimate conversations among particular groups as well as larger opportunities to bring these groups together


Invited Artists

Read more about our Invited Artists here.

Lead Funding Provided By: Open Society Foundations

Presenting Organizations: United Photo Industries and Women Photograph

Institutional Collaborators: For Freedoms, Kickstarter, Magnum Foundation

Community Collaborators: Authority Collective, Diversify, Everyday Projects, MFON, Natives Photograph