Awards, Documentary

Submissions open for Rebecca Vassie Memorial Award, a new bursary for emerging photographers

Photograph taken by Rebecca Vassie 2014 – Portraits from South Sudan for UNICEF (© UNICEF UGANDA_ Rebecca Vassie)

The Rebecca Vassie Trust today announces the inaugural Rebecca Vassie Memorial Award, in memory of the late photographer, who died while photographing in a refugee camp in Uganda.

The award is a bursary of £1,200, plus printing, exhibition and mentorship, for an emerging photographer in the UK to complete a narrative photography project.

Judges for the award include Karen McQuaid, curator at the Photographers’ Gallery, Matthew Tucker, UK Picture Editor at BuzzFeed, and Bette Lynch, Director of Photography, news, Europe, Middle East and Africa at Getty Images.

Photograph taken by Rebecca Vassie of LGBT Pride 2014 Entebbe, UGANDA. (© ASSOCIATED PRESS_Rebecca Vassie 2014)

Photograph taken by Rebecca Vassie of LGBT Pride 2014 Entebbe, UGANDA. (© ASSOCIATED PRESS_Rebecca Vassie 2014)

Premier printing services are being donated by Metro Imaging, who will also grant the winner a portfolio review with creative director Prof. Steve Macleod.

The award is created in memory of Rebecca Vassie, a British photographer and photojournalist who died suddenly last year (March 2015), aged 30, while on assignment in a refugee camp in Uganda.

Applicants for the award, who must be either from or based in the UK, are asked to submit a proposal setting out a compelling vision for a photography project with a strong social or political context. The deadline for submissions is Friday, 7 October 2016 at 1700 BST.

Photograph taken by Rebecca Vassie in 2008 of National Gas Turbine Establishment (Pyestock) which closed in 2000 (© Rebecca Vassie)

Photograph taken by Rebecca Vassie in 2008 of National Gas Turbine Establishment (Pyestock) which closed in 2000 (© Rebecca Vassie)

The winner will receive a grant of £1,200, plus access to premier printing services at Metro Imaging, including consultation with a master printer, to create of selection of framed images for exhibition in London in March 2017, as well as portfolio prints.

Funds have been raised through the sale of prints of Rebecca’s photographs, plus private donations. Family member Colin Nicholson completed a sponsored triathlon in her memory.

Rebecca trained in photography at the University for the Creative Arts. She had been based in Uganda for three years, working as a stringer for Associated Press (AP), with her pictures appearing in major newspapers worldwide.

Photo of Rebecca Vassie © the artist

Photo of Rebecca Vassie © the artist

She also photographed for a number of charities and NGOs as well as pursuing her own projects, such as documenting Uganda’s transgender community and its Olympic boxing hopefuls.

Rebecca’s parents Janet and Eric, sister Kelly and brother Tim said: “Beccy’s death turned our world upside down, but we have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support from both our friends and hers. Many people said they wanted to do something in her memory.

“We hope this award is a way of providing photographers with exactly the kind of opportunity from which Beccy would have benefited, as well as honouring Beccy’s memory and the extraordinary work she did, of which we are very proud.”

Find out more here.