The V&A Parasol Foundation Prize for Women in Photography 2024

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 V&A Parasol Foundation Prize for Women in Photography is free to enter, open to all women internationally, both professionals and amateurs. The Prize is subject to a specific annual theme and winners are selected by an independent selection panel consisting of global industry professionals and inspiring international artists.

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.

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From the series 'spear of a nation', photograph by Cynthia MaiWa Sitei, 2021
From the series 'spear of a nation', photograph by Cynthia MaiWa Sitei, 2021. © Cynthia MaiWa Sitei

2024 Prize

The V&A Parasol Foundation Prize for Women in Photography is thematic and artists must respond to the theme accordingly. A new theme is set annually with each new edition of the Prize.

Our 2024 theme is 'Histories'

Visual communication has been a vital part of society since the invention of cave drawings in the prehistoric period. Though formally invented in the 19th century, the philosophy of photography – 'drawing with light' – can be traced to neolithic periods and primitive camera obscura techniques. Photography has since developed into an essential contemporary medium, used to document our history, culture, events and societal change, and more recently, as a form of human and artistic expression. This theme invites broad submissions which evidence the relationship between history and photography; from the use of historical processes and their position within contemporary photographic practice, to the documentation of historical events or revisitations of the past. It creates space for artists interested in the notion of the archive, including photographers working with family albums, vernacular photography and historic or institutional collections. 'Histories' invites artists to consider how photography can be used to interrogate and challenge existing history, fact and circumstance, allowing for reimagined or speculative futures.

Prizes

  • Four winning artists will have their work included in a group exhibition at Peckham 24, alongside accompanying events and public programming
  • International travel and two night's accommodation expenses for exhibiting artists to attend the festival in London
  • Networking event with Prize selection committee and industry experts
  • Bursaries of £2,000 for each exhibiting artist
  • Winning artists will be featured on the V&A and Peckham 24 social media channels and communications
© Peckham 24

How to enter

Applications open 2 November 2023 and close 4 January 2024.

Entry is online only via our competition platform.

Please read our Terms and conditions before applying.

If you have access needs, please email parasolwomenphoto@vam.ac.uk

Selection committee

Bruno Ceschel
Bruno Ceschel

Bruno Ceschel – founder and director of Self Publish, Be Happy (SPBH)

Bruno Ceschel is the founder and director of Self Publish, Be Happy (SPBH) and a visiting lecturer at École cantonale d’art de Lausanne (ECAL) and Cornell University's Image Text MFA program. He established SPBH in 2010, curating events at prestigious arts institutions such as Tate Modern (Britain), Kunsthal Charlottenborg (Denmark), MoMA PS1 (United States), and the National Gallery of Victoria (Australia). Under SPBH Editions, he has published books by various artists and writers, including Carmen Winant, Nicholas Muellner, and Lorenzo Vitturi. In 2023, he founded SPBH Space Milan—an innovative hub that combines a laboratory, gallery, and community center, fostering cross-disciplinary collaboration and experimentation within art, fashion, and technology. In 2022, Ceschel was appointed Program Director at The Racial Imaginary Institute (TRII), an organization dedicated to challenging prevailing racial narratives and advancing inclusivity through exhibitions, workshops, and publications.

Dr. Zoé Whitley
Dr. Zoé Whitley

Dr. Zoé Whitley – Director of Chisenhale Gallery, London

Dr. Zoé Whitley is Director of the non-profit Chisenhale Gallery in London. She co-curated the acclaimed Tate Modern exhibition Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power and its subsequent international tour (2017 – 20). Whitley has distinguished herself working in UK institutions on exhibitions, research and collections (as curator of the British Council's 2019 British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale; 2014 – 19 Tate Modern; 2013 – 15 Tate Britain; 2003 – 13 V&A). Alongside exhibition catalogues and artist monographs, she writes for all reading ages including children's titles Meet the Artist: Frank Bowling; Meet the Artist: Sophie Taeuber-Arp; and serving as consultant for the award-winning Black Artists Shaping the World (Thames & Hudson). She is a Trustee of the Teiger Foundation and is a member of the London Mayor's Commission on Diversity in the Public Realm.

© Laylah Amatullah Barrayn
© Laylah Amatullah Barrayn

Deborah Willis – University Professor

Deborah Willis, Ph.D. is University Professor and Chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging at Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. She has affiliated appointments with the College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Social & Cultural Analysis and the Institute of Fine Arts, where she teaches courses on Photography & Imaging, iconicity, and cultural histories visualising the black body, women, and gender. She is the director of NYU's Center for Black Visual Culture/Institute of African American Affairs. Her research examines photography's multifaceted histories, visual culture, the photographic history of Slavery and Emancipation, contemporary women photographers, and beauty. She is the author of The Black Civil War Soldier: A Visual History of Conflict and Citizenship and Posing Beauty: African American Images from the 1890s to the Present, among others. Dr. Willis' curated exhibitions include Framing Moments in the KIA, Kalamazoo Institute of the Arts; Home: Reimagining Interiority, YoungArts Gallery; and Free as they want to be: Artists Committed to Memory, FotoFocus.

Dr. Willis was awarded the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship and was a Richard D. Cohen Fellow in African and African American Art, Hutchins Center, Harvard University; a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow, and an Alphonse Fletcher, Jr. Fellow. She was the Robert Mapplethorpe Photographer in Residence of the American Academy in Rome and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is a recipient of the Don Tyson Prize for the Advancement of American Art by the Crystal Bridges Museum in 2022 and was named the Mary Lucille Dauray Artist-in-Residence by the Norton Museum of Art in 2023.

Terms & conditions

These are the terms and conditions covering entry to the V&A Parasol Foundation Prize for Women in Photography 2024.

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

The Parasol Foundation Trust
Header image: (Detail:) From the series 'spear of a nation', photograph by Cynthia MaiWa Sitei, 2021. © Cynthia MaiWa Sitei