iStock’s new grant to support underrepresented creatives

Community impact organisations from around the world will help iStock judge the applicants

The creative industries are being given a diversity boost via a $20,000 grant to support emerging commercial photographers, videographers, and illustrators depicting their underrepresented communities.

The funding comes from visual communications brand iStock through its inaugural Inclusion Grant, which is open to candidates in the UK, US, Latin America (LATAM), and Australia.

Claudia Marks, Senior Art Director at iStock, has called on “creators from underrepresented communities to seize this opportunity to receive meaningful support and share their content with the world.”

The funding is part of Getty Images’ wider grants programme, which has awarded $1.8 million US dollars so far to photographers and filmmakers from around the world.

Under the Inclusion Grant, four winners will be selected and awarded grants of US $5,000 each. This will be delivered in partnership with region-based partner organisations that support underrepresented communities, each with their own criteria for their respective grant. The hope is that underrepresented creatives working in their communities are encouraged to apply.

These partners include US-based organisation Black Women Photographers, UK-based social enterprise Creative Access, South-American Fotografas Latam, and Australia Council for the Arts.

Applicants must submit an existing or new project along with a portfolio of their work and a short essay describing their intent and must meet all eligibility requirements. The four winners will be allowed to license their work on the iStock website at a 100 per cent royalty rate.

Each grant will be judged by the following individuals, in collaboration with the iStock art team:

  • UK—Josie Dobrin, CEO & Co-Founder of Creative Access, and Vanessa Martins, Freelance photographer.
  • US.—Polly Irungu, Founder of Black Women Photographers, and Barbara DuMetz, pioneer in commercial photography.
  • LATAM—Lorena Velasco and Fernanda Pitaño, Co-Founders, Fotografas Latam, and Cristina Otero, commercial and fine art photographer.
  • Australia—Franchesca Cubillo, Executive Director of First Nations Arts & Culture, and Patricia Adjei, Head of First Nations Arts & Culture Sector Development, both with Australia Council.

Irungu said: “Given that photography is still a white, male-dominated industry and the fact there are very few grants out there designed to serve Black women in commercial photography, it’s safe to say that this is a one-of-a-kind opportunity. This is why, in conjunction with iStock, we’re putting our money and hearts where our mouth is to level the playing field and support Black women photographers, as well as those in other underrepresented groups, by providing funding and resources.”

Adjei said: “First Nations people are the custodians of First Nations culture, and yet, we often see non- First Nations photographers recording First Nations’ people and stories. This new grant series aims to increase the visibility of First Nations artists and photographers in the broader photography field, while also allowing them to express themselves through their point of view and lens.”

Dobrin added: “Commercial photography and videography cannot reflect society if society is not reflected in commercial photographers and videographers. This is as much about business as it is about doing the right thing. We are excited to be able to offer this grant to someone from a community that is currently underrepresented in the sector as part of our wider mission to make the creative industries more representative, accessible, and inclusive.”

Applicants have until 11:59 pm EST on Monday, 6 December, to submit proposals. To apply, click here.

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