Professional Contexts Blog

Student & Graduate Awards

I wanted to enter my final major project into graduate awards and showcases. The deadlines to send off work for these was around the time of the hand-in so I decided to send my work off 3 weeks beforehand so I could work on my final output. For each organisation, I entered the same images and project statement, but cut down the image and word count wherever I needed to. When I finished and got the grade back from my previous project about my Grandma, I thought that this would be the project that I would enter, but I actually think that my final major project may be of a better quality.


The main graduate awards I had thought about entering was Source as it had been spoken about in uni before and I have had copies of the magazine come through my door for the last 2 years and this whole time it had always been something that I thought about submitting work for. This cost £33 which I thought was reasonable as it means that my work will be featured on their website for anyone to see for years to come. Beforehand, I looked through the submissions and selected works from 2015 onwards to get a better understanding of the level of work that they would be expecting. I am really grateful for Nick organising everything as luckily we got everything sent off in time.


The reviewers are; Mariama Attah who is a curator at Open Eye in Liverpool. She said on the Source website ‘I think it’s more that a project presents itself as being interesting, rather than me deciding that it’s interesting. I appreciate projects that show a connection, interest, or fascination with a subject. I’m always impressed when an artist is able to share an idea from their own perspective and is able to show a range of visual elements within that idea, while also being cohesive and informative’.

Karin Andreasson is a picture editor at The Guardian and she said ‘For me the perfect photographic project (and single image) has an element of surprise, is sophisticated in its conception and is perfectly executed. For a project then to be published in a national newspaper, the subject matter needs to be accessible and of interest to a large number of readers. The perfect project isn’t always suitable for a broad publication like The Guardian, so understanding your readership is key. We are always looking for new interpretations of familiar subjects’.

Ciara Moloney is a curator for the PS² Freelands artist programme, she said that ‘it's the concept that comes first’.


I sent off work to Thentherewasus who are looking for contemporary photographers to go into their publication. It was free to enter, so I submitted a selection of images from the project but would also be happy if singular images were selected. They’re also hosting s digital exhibition and it’s not a student competition so I could enter in future years too as a way of getting work shown.


Photograd who do so much for photography students were asking for submissions of work to be included in a zine. It was free to enter but if selected, £12 to go towards the production of it

will be selecting around 50 graduates from both BA and MA courses in the UK. They’re also hosting an online degree show of the work that is selected. Other prizes include being added to a mailing list to be informed of future opportunities, being interviewed and having work shown on their blog and Instagram.


The final organisation I sent off work to was The Pupils Sphere which was also free to enter. They accept submissions from around the world but are UK based. The selected works will go into an online exhibition as well as a zine.