Invitation to apply: VISIONARY AWARD 2020


“Innovation in visual storytelling”


The Visionary Award of £20,000 will support the completion of a specified body of work. We’re looking for projects with the following qualities:

  • Innovative vision or fresh approach to visual storytelling.

  • The Tim Hetherington Trust will pay special attention to projects that can be augmented by the application of new skills or technology.  The recipient will be paired with a mentor or technical partner who will collaborate to fulfill their vision in ways that exceed their own expectations.

  • There is no restriction on the subject of the work which may be issue-driven or personal, although we strongly encourage work with humanitarian purpose.  There is no restriction on the age, experience, nationality or other characteristics of the nominees.

  • Feel free to nominate work for a second time if you think it was overlooked previously and deserves another look, even if the work has been awarded by other organizations. 

  • Applications may be proposed by a nominator or submitted directly by the storyteller. 



The Visionary Award from the Tim Hetherington Trust will assist an artist or journalist complete a defined project in any visual medium.    A single grant of £20,000 will be awarded, supported by an additional professional fee payable to the mentor who will work with the grantee to fulfill the project.

The Visionary Award is designed to foster innovative approaches to storytelling and as such it will support visionary individuals and offer inspiration to others by example.   To achieve this we are looking for visual artists and journalists whose thinking and process reach beyond the limitations of conventional media practice to create engaging and dynamic communication pieces.  We deliberately avoid defining the content or format of the nominations in the hope that we can attract truly innovative work, but innovation for its own sake is not sufficient: we are looking for work that effectively engages the audience using any technology to create and distribute a story that will inspire the audience and bring a fresh understanding of the chosen subject.

We are looking for potential rather than fully developed ability and therefore imagination and ambition are key.  The successful applicant will demonstrate personal vision, artistic ability, ethical integrity and sufficient craft skills to execute the project effectively.  The Trust will favor projects that can be augmented by the application of new skills or technology and the Trust will consult with the successful grantee to find a mentor or technical partner to help expand the scope of the project beyond initial expectations.  Therefore openness to new ideas and willingness to work in partnership will be key characteristics of the successful applicant. 

The trust will appoint a review panel to assess the nominations, and experts with specialist knowledge will be invited as appropriate depending on the scope of the nominated work.  The review panel will be guided by personal or professional knowledge of Tim’s motives and creative approach.

We want the award to make a difference and the judges will favor projects that could not proceed without this support.  In general this means that we’d prefer not to award to a project that’s nearing completion or whose total budget is x10 or more the value we offer.  

Deadline for nominations: Tuesday March 10th 2020

When you're ready send your nominations and applications to:

Shortlisted projects will be announced at the end of April 2020

The award will be announced on 14th May  2020 at the Frontline Club, London.



ALL APPLICATIONS must include:

  • The nominee’s name, contact information and basic biographic background (for example, nationality, student or professional status, notable achievements, etc.) 

  • A brief description of the project and a statement (500 words max) describing why you think the project is worthy of consideration.  The grant will be awarded to a project with a defined outcome and the proposal should identify what (if any) real-world consequences are intended.  (For example, this might include raising awareness of an issue, raising funds for a purpose, encouraging behavioural change, enhancing living conditions or encouraging situational development.)  The proposal should define the form of media to be used in execution of the project (print, online, film, VR, AR, performance, etc.), and an outline of the content of the project.  The successful proposal must be credible with clear goals and a believable probability of successful implementation.

  • A small but representative selection of work, or links to work that demonstrate the applicant's approach to visual storytelling. 


IF SHORTLISTED, applicants will be asked to provide the following:

  • A personal or artist statement describing their motivation, their way of working and other relevant background. 

  • A distribution plan: the award will be dependent on a workable plan to reach appropriate audience, including a description of the target audience and a means of effective engagement.

  • A timescale for completion.



  • The Grantee will retain copyright in all work submitted to the Trust and produced in the course of the awarded project.  The Trust shall have non-exclusive rights to publish materials from the awarded project for the purpose of promoting the Trust and the award.

  • The successful grantee will be required to deliver a photographic print or other work of value on completion of the project for archival storage or sale by the Trust, on the understanding that any funds generated by sale will be applied in the furtherance of the Trust’s mission.

  • The cash grant will be issued 50% on approval and acceptance, 40% on delivery of the finished project and 10% on delivery of photographic prints or other works of value by the grantee.

  • All interpretations and evaluations of applications will be at the discretion of the Trust and its appointed representatives.



2015: Dutch-American filmmaking team Eline Jongsma & Kel O’neill received the inaugural Visionary Award from the Tim Hetherington Trust for "THE ARK" - a thoughtful and innovative discussion of cultural differences and differing conservation approaches in USA and Africa, using 360º virtual reality (Mentored by VR visionary Nonny de la Peña)

2016: Dominic Bracco II received the second Visionary Award for his extended project “THE BACKS OF MEN” that explores issues around the Mexican / US border using a variety of media including photography, a stage play, a novel and installation (mentored by Stephen Mayes of the Tim Hetherington Trust)

2017: Omar Imam took the third Visionary Award for his visual research project “SYRIALISM” that uses conceptual portraiture as a means to understand the extraordinary cultural and experiential diversity of the Syrian Diaspora in exile (mentored by Erik Kessels, the Dutch artist, curator and co-founder of communications agency)

2017: The jury made an exceptional supplementary award to Andrea Ellen Reed for "UNSIGHTED" - a powerful situational installation that explores black experience in USA (mentored by Liza Faktor of Screen Projects)

2018: Laia Abril’s extended project “A HISTORY OF MISOGYNY” won timely recognition for “CHAPTER 2: ON RAPE”  “Chapter 1: On Abortion” was two years in production and demonstrated Laia’s innovative use of imagery, installation and juxtaposition of media to tell a visceral story. Laia used the award to support documentation, analysis and conceptualization of rape as a cultural weapon.  (Mentored by Marta Gili Rosique)

2019: Hannah Reyes Morales for her project “LIVING LULLABIES”. Based in Manila, Hannah has been investigating the conditions afflicting displaced women and children.  This multimedia document explores how caregivers prepare children for sleep in environments that are often fraught with hazard and the unique role of the lullaby as a vector for sense- & place-making.  (Mentored by Ian Urbina)



THE TIM HETHERINGTON TRUST exists to preserve the legacy of Tim’s professional life as a visual storyteller and human rights advocate. This includes the safe archiving of all physical materials and to manage the intellectual and artistic use of his work. The Trust works to advance the application of Tim’s ideas and images in all ways that promote the intellectual integrity of his work and which expand the artistic expression of his vision.

Core to this is the support and nurture of new work that continues the ideals demonstrated by Tim with special emphasis on humanitarian and social concerns. The Tim Hetherington Trust encourages individuals and organizations that continue in Tim's footsteps, exploring innovative media processes that enhance audience engagement with the issues and inspiring others to excel in the execution of effective communication.



© Peoples Culture, shortlisted 2018 & 2019 for the project Fireflies A Brownsville Story


© Daniel Castro Garcia, shortlisted 2018 for the project I Peri N'Tera (originally titled "Foreigner") about Mediterranean migration to Europe

Invitation to apply: VISIONARY AWARD 2020