Belfast Photo Festival Award

Through this competition, Belfast Photo Festival is offering cash prizes and supplementary support to artists and photographers from around the world, affording them an opportunity to exhibit their work in the main Belfast Festival gallery in 2017.

The prize package consists of the following:

All submitting photographers will benefit from:

  • Submission review by Photo Industry Professionals
  • Opportunities for Immediate Exposure (eg across festival / partner social networks)

Between 20 and 40 photographers/artists will benefit from:

  • awards and cash prizes (See Awards listed below);
  • exhibition exposure at the Festival’s main city centre gallery;
  • inclusion in the special Festival issue of Abridged Magazine;
  • longer term Festival representation and promotion;
  • exhibition alongside some of the biggest photographic names as part of the major photographic event;
  • publication and inclusion in the Festival programme;
  • inclusion in the Festivals marketing & PR campaign, which has an estimated reach of 20+million;
  • international press exposure;
  • being seen by a substantial number of visual arts professionals and the media;
  • dedicated feature on the Festival website and online gallery; and
  • opportunities offered for exhibition and publication through festival partners

Applicants will have their work viewed by an international panel of influential experts in the field of photography, plus have the opportunity to win awards and a significant cash prize.

  • Spotlight Award - £1,000
  • One Year’s Free RPS Membership – Free membership for one year to the prestigious Royal Photographic Society
  • Blow Editorial Award – Full editorial presentation in an upcoming issue of Blow photography magazine (Lucie Award shortlisted)
  • Abridged Editorial Award – Presentation in a special Festival issue of Abridged Magazine

A number of finalists will be offered the opportunity to have their work produced by the Festival for exhibition outdoors.


Before You Start

Through this competition, Belfast Photo Festival is offering artists and photographers the opportunity to exhibit their work in the main Belfast Festival gallery. The scheme will enable participants to exhibit alongside some of the biggest names in the field, with a number also having the opportunity to be featured in the arts magazine Abridged. The winners will be eligible for a number of awards, including a cash prize of £1,000.

The theme has been left open to remove any restrictions; submissions must be photographic or lens-based but can include incorporations of other art forms with the photographic medium (i.e. performance, painting, sculpture, music, literature etc).


Although there are no specific exclusions cited within the programme guidelines, those wishing to apply are advised to liaise with the funding provider in the first instance to discuss eligibility.

What You Need To Know

Key Criteria

Entry is open to all photographers, artists, curators, archives, collectives from anywhere in the world. The Jury will be looking for high quality work. Submissions must be photographic or lens based but can include incorporations of other art forms with the photographic medium (ie performance, painting, sculpture, film, music, literature etc). The Jury will consider photographs, photo-media, performance, photo-films, photo-books, new media, archives and sculptural forms. All works must be practical within the Festival guidelines and dates. Applicants must be Age 16+

Individuals and collectives are welcome to apply; individuals should select and enter between 2-6 photographs from a particular series or body of work AND/OR submit their Photo-book for exhibition by uploading a single PDF (no image limit).

Match Funding

Match funding is not a stipulated requirement of this programme.

Eligible Expenditure

Costs associated with eligible projects.

How To Apply


The deadline for receipt of applications is 6 March 2017.

Frequency: Unspecified.

Link to guidelines:

Useful information:

This year Belfast Photo Festival has teamed up with Hiive to offer an online platform for submissions. Applications can be made by visiting the Hiive website.

The final selection of artists will be made in collaboration between the Jury and the Festival Curator. There will be between 20 – 40 selected artists, depending on project proposals, image and photo-book sizes/numbers etc.

Selected artists will be contacted by early April 2017. As part of the first stage of a two-stage process, shortlisted artists agreed by the Festival Curator and Board will be announced on the Belfast Photo Festival and Hiive websites March/April 2017. In the second stage, winners, selected by the Jury will be announced on the Belfast Photo Festival and Hiive websites in April 2017. The public dates of the Festival are 1-30 June 2017. (Festival launch on 1 June). Some exhibition dates may be longer depending on exhibition venue. All exhibitions will be installed between 18 May and 1 June 2017, selected works must be available for installing during this period.


  • Lucy Gallun – Assistant Curator: MoMA (Museum of Modern Art), New York
  • James Estrin – Co Editor: Lens (The New York Times), New York
  • Elisa Medde – Managing Editor: Foam, Amsterdam
  • Michael Mack – Director: MACK Books, London
  • Emily Graham – Cultural Commissions: Magnum Photos, London
  • Tom Seymour – Digital Editor: British Journal of Photography, London
  • Ciara Hickey – Curator: Belfast Exposed Photography Gallery, Belfast
  • Kevin WY Lee – Creative Director: Invisible Photographer Asia, Singapore

Further advice and assistance with submitting an application may be sought directly from Hiive.