The V&A Parasol Foundation Prize for Women in Photography 2023

The V&A Parasol Foundation Prize for Women in Photography is an annual initiative dedicated to identifying, supporting, and championing innovative women artists working in the field of contemporary photography.

The Prize is produced in partnership with Peckham 24, south London's innovative three-day photography festival. The prize has been made possible by the support of Ms. Ruth Monicka Parasol and The Parasol Foundation Trust.

From the series 'Home', photograph by Gohar Dashti, 2017
From the series 'Home', photograph by Gohar Dashti, 2017. © Gohar Dashti

2023 Prize theme: Agents of change

The theme for the 2023 Prize was 'Agents of change'

Change agents are vital to the transformation and evolution of society, technology, politics, economics and our planet. Artists have been at the forefront of representing change since the introduction of photographic processes in the 1800s, revelling in both its scientific and humanitarian capabilities. Photography has often been the tool of choice in documenting protest or acts of resistance; a tool for promoting activism and lobbying for change. As our world continues to be in flux, this theme invites a broad interpretation for submissions that provide a visualisation or conceptualisation of some of our most pressing issues; from technological innovations and sustainability efforts, to social revolutions and political reform.


Congratulations to our five winners

  • Anya Tsaruk (Ukraine)
  • Priyadarshini Ravichandran (India)
  • Gohar Dashti (Iran/America)
  • Vân-Nhi Nguyễn (Vietnam)
  • Cynthia MaiWa Sitei (UK/Kenya)

"This range of artists wonderfully characterises the concept of 'change agents' and demonstrates photography's ability to capture and influence societal and political evolution. Each artist represents a compelling shift in the medium, from traditional observational documentary practices to the exploration of archives and staged imagery as a means of reflecting upon authentic, lived experiences".

Selection committee

Anya Tsaruk

Anya Tsaruk is a Ukrainian photographer currently based in Berlin. Her artistic approach initially focussed on documentary and street photography, but evolved in the past year to expose the realities of Russia's war in Ukraine and its consequences. Her ongoing series 'Mother Land' is an autobiographical example of how families have been affected, and continue to live with the trauma of conflict.

Priyadarshini Ravichandran

Priyadarshini Ravichandran is an Indian photographer whose work is connected with lived experience, including stories of women, their lives and the land. 'Surge' is a poetic and personal exploration revealing the complexity of familial relationships.

Gohar Dashti

Gohar Dashti is an Iranian-American photographer and video artist who currently resides and works in Boston. Her art is deeply influenced by her native country, Iran, and often explores its topography, socio-geography, and the history of war and violence that have affected it.

Vân-Nhi Nguyễn

Vân-Nhi Nguyễn is a Vietnamese photographer and designer based in Hà Nội, Việt Nam. Her work is concerned with the reconstruction of collective memory – be it that of her own identity or of the larger community – and its relationship to contemporary society. Her ongoing project, 'As You Grow Older', takes the familiar shape of a family photo album and features portraits in which each individual is presented in their own space.

Cynthia MaiWa Sitei

Cynthia MaiWa Sitei is a Kenyan British visual artist and curator whose work is heavily influenced by the culture of storytelling. She integrates photography, text and the archive to explore themes such as stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination. Responding to the colonial archive of British social anthropologist Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard, 'spear of a nation' embarks on its own expedition to critically reflect on acculturation and assimilation, and the legacy of colonialism.


  • Group exhibition at Peckham 24, alongside accompanying events and public programming
  • International travel and 2 nights' accommodation expenses for exhibiting artists to attend the festival
  • Networking dinner with selection committee and industry experts
  • Bursaries of £2,000 for each exhibiting artist
  • Shortlisted/exhibiting artists featured on the V&A and Peckham 24 social media channels and communications about the exhibition at Peckham 24
© Peckham 24

Selection committee

The Parasol Foundation Prize for Women in Photography is co-chaired by Fiona Rogers, the inaugural Parasol Foundation Curator of Women in Photography at the V&A, and Vivienne Gamble, co-founder of Peckham 24 and Director of Seen Fifteen gallery, London. They were joined by 2023's selection committee:

Lesley Martin – Creative Director, Aperture (USA)

Lesley A. Martin is creative director of Aperture and founding publisher of The PhotoBook Review. Her writing on photography has been published in Aperture, IMA magazine, and FOAM, among other publications, and she has edited more than one-hundred books of photography, including On the Beach by Richard Misrach; Illuminance by Rinko Kawauchi; LaToya Ruby Frazier: The Notion of Family; Zanele Muholi: Hail the Dark Lioness; The New Black Vanguard by Antwaun Sargent; Sara Cwynar: Glass Life, and Zora J Murff: True Colors. Martin co-founded the Paris Photo–Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards in 2012, and received the Royal Photographic Society award for outstanding achievement in Photographic Publishing in 2020. She is currently a visiting critic at the Yale University Graduate School of Art.

Ronan Mckenzie – artist and co founder of HOME (UK)

Ronan Mckenzie is a multi-disciplinary artist from Walthamstow, North East London. Ronan has exhibited her work at spaces including Aperture Foundation, Red Hook Labs, Somerset House and The National Theatre, and is now the Director of HOME by Ronan Mckenzie, a multifunctional creative space. Her work has been presented on the covers of The British Journal of Photography, Garage Magazine, Teen Vogue and Creative Review, and within titles including Luncheon, Vogue, POP, i-D and Wall Street Journal. Notable within Ronan's practice is a sensitivity to honest, relatable emotion and the celebration of individuality. Alongside working commercially with brands including Nike, Glossier, Sephora, Universal Standard and Olay, Ronan lectures at universities and institutions. Her work is often tied together with her passion for creating more imagery of connections, relationships and black joy, presenting the world as she would like to see it.

Ingrid Pollard – artist (UK)

Ingrid Pollard is a multi-media artist, photographer, researcher and lecturer. Pollard has developed a social practice concerned with representation, history and landscape with reference to race, difference and the materiality of lens-based media. Her work is included in numerous collections nationally and internationally including Arts Council, the V&A and Tate Britain. Recent works include a major survey exhibit Carbon Slowly Turning, which was nominated for the Turner Prize 2022. In 2020 Ingrid Pollard and MK Gallery were awarded the Freelands Foundation Award to host a major exhibit of Ingrid's work in 2022. In 2019 she was a recipient of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for Artists in 2018.

The V&A Parasol Foundation Prize for Women in Photography is supported by Ms. Ruth Monicka Parasol and The Parasol Foundation Trust.

Header image:
(Detail:) From the series 'Home', photograph by Gohar Dashti, 2017. © Gohar Dashti