Dispatches in Exile: Amplifying the Voices of Migrants and Refugees

Over the next twelve months, in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Bosnia and Herzegovina, VII Academy trainers will teach the basic principles of journalism, and media production including photography, time-based media, ethics and narrative storytelling to a group of about 60 men and women from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East currently residing in Temporary Reception Centres in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Youth Program with the Bronx Documentary Center

Most of our programs at the VII Academy are aimed at visual journalists who are either embarking on their career or who work in the media already but need the boost a more formal education can provide. However, this autumn we’re reaching out to a new group of young people and community members with a commitment to photojournalism, with the goal of engaging them with the integral skills of journalism and ethics.

The William Gross and Jennifer Stengaard Gross Scholarship

Since last year the VII Academy has provided The William Gross and Jennifer Stengaard Gross Scholarship for a high-achieving photographer from the majority world to attend the MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at the London College of Communication (LCC, University of London Arts). The first scholarship for the academic years running from October 2019 to July 2021 was granted to Mushfiq Mahbub Turjo, an outstanding photographer from Dhaka, Bangladesh. Photographers can apply until September 11th, 2020 for this year’s scholarship.

The VII Academy’s first seminar underway for indigenous Pacific Islanders

The VII Academy has been planning an in-person seminar for Pacific Islanders for some time, but logistics for travel across the Pacific region proved costly in both monetary and ethical terms–how could we bring 14 students from across the Pacific together without burning tonnes of jet fuel? As COVID-19 travel restrictions forced the VII Academy to move online, it was an opportune moment to launch our first seminar for indigenous Pacific Islanders.

Grantee: VII Academy supports Sirkhane Darkroom for Syrian Refugees

In the Southeast of Turkey, a small mobile darkroom shines a light in the lives of children displaced by the Syrian conflict. Run by photographer Serbest Salih, himself a Syrian refugee, Sirkhane DARKROOM is a photography school currently situated in Mardin Istasyon, an imporverished neighbourhood in the city of Nusaybin. The children in the program use inexpensive compact film cameras to document their lives, and learn how to develop and print in the darkroom.

Review: Lecture: The Breakup: Photographs from 1991-2000

For the first time ever, photographers Christopher Morris and Ron Haviv spoke together about their images from the dissolution of the Former Yugoslavia. Moderated in conversation by Image of War Zagreb Director Danilo Gregovic, the discussion touched on some of the most famous images of the various wars and the stories behind them.

Review: Nature: Through Her Eyes Festival

The Nature: Through Her Eyes festival was held in October 2019 in Perpignan, France to celebrate and create space for women’s accomplishments in the field of nature storytelling, exploring what a feminine perspective means to women in their portrayal of nature. This festival was a free event open to the public and supported the participation of panelists from across the world.

Review: Danish School of Media and Journalism (DMJX) Scholarships

The VII Academy offers a number of full-tuition scholarships for students to attend The Danish School of Media and Journalism (DMJX). Four students attended the Photo 1 program at DMJX during the Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 semesters with the support of the VII Academy and the VII Foundation.

Review: P-CRC Balkan Diskurs Youth Correspondents Training 2019

With funding from the VII Academy and the VII Foundation, and training support by VII Agency photographers Sara Terry and Maciek Nabrdalik, the Post-Conflict Research Center held its Balkan Diskurs Youth Correspondents Training in Sarajevo in May 2019 for nineteen Bosnian youth participants from thirteen different Bosnian cities.

Review: Seeing The Light: Rangoon Streets

In October 2019, ten young Burmese photographers roamed Yangon with instructors Philip Blenkinsop and Daniel Schwartz, who tutored them in the subtle art of street photography.

Partner: USM Modular Furniture

The VII Academy thanks USM Modular Furniture for their generous donation to outfit the Sarajevo campus.

Check out the journey from Switzerland to Bosnia where installation was finished in time for the Sarajevo campus to open its doors to 15 students from the greater Balkan region.

Review: Berlin Night, Berlin Light: Exploring the Personal in Photography

This five-day VII Photo Agency workshop, led by Danny Wilcox Frazier and Linda Bournane Engelberth, was set in the historic metropolis of Berlin, a dramatic setting for students to explore the emotional landscape of this storied city. The workshop taught participants a new approach to their work, one rooted in personal connection and emotional content.

Review: No Man’s Land: A Workshop for Women

In this special workshop that took place during “VII in Sarajevo: Festival of the Image”, Sara Terry, Nichole Sobecki and Linda Bournane Engelberth worked with twenty-one women photographers to elevate their work to the next level by highlighting women’s unique perspectives. Spanning three days and aimed at committed visual journalist and artists, the workshop was entirely free to chosen participants. The group facilitated discussions on the challenges facing female photojournalists and how to overcome them to carve out careers in this demanding industry, advice on professional networking, how to edit portfolios, and strategies for finding and creating paid work.

Review: Foundry Photojournalism Workshop

In Kigali, Rwanda, from August 11th to the 17th, 2019, the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop brought together students and professionals from across Africa. Foundry is a project of the VII Academy working in partnership with PhotoWings, and seeks to inspire and educate future generations of men and women to address important issues through the medium of photography. In 2019, Foundry came to the heart of Africa and invited photographers from across the continent and beyond to a week of inspiration and education. Over seventy students received full or partial scholarships to attend the workshop.

Review: The Life That Remains – Photographing America’s Rural Spaces

The VII Academy invited eight photographers with strong connections and commitment to rural issues, both in and outside of the United States, to join Danny Wilcox Frazier for a documentary workshop in small-town America. The weeklong program was tuition-free and funded by the VII Academy to support photographers from low-income communities as well as those working on issues about underrepresented populations. The workshop was limited to eight photographers.

Review: After the Image 2019

This three-day “After the Image” workshop with VII Photo Agency’s Philip Blenkinsop and Daniel Schwartz in Sarajevo addressed the critical period between the end of a photographic project and the moment when a designer genius embarks on squeezing your images and vision into a book that will neither make you proud nor rich, or when an artist-turned-curator hijacks them to illustrate his agenda. In other words, the period when you need to exercise an author’s authority but still want to listen to those with experience in making books and exhibitions. Generally, it is a period marked by mental exhaustion, self-doubt, and disappointment. Nothing you had envisaged in the field seems to work on pages or walls.

Review: VII in Sarajevo: Festival of the Image 2019

In May 2019, the VII Academy, the educational arm of the VII Foundation, hosted “VII in Sarajevo: Festival of the Image”: two workshops, thirty-one students, nine presentations, panel discussions on the state of the media in the Balkans, conversations with VII Photo Agency photographers, and an exhibition “Her Take: (Re)Thinking Masculinity,” featuring the work of the seven women photographers of VII. There were 200 festival participants from thirty-seven countries, including fifty-six scholarships for students from the region!

Review: Kuma International Summer School

The Kuma International Summer School was held July 8-22, 2019 at the Bosniak Institute – Adil Zulfikarpašić Foundation in Sarajevo. The VII Academy supported twelve scholarships for Bosnian students who applied to the summer school programs, and this year the students who were chosen were all women hailing from several Bosnian cities—Sarajevo, Banja Luka and Gračanica.

Review: War Art Remembrance and Memory (WARM) Festival

The VII Academy supported two of our closest Balkan partners–the Post-Conflict Research Center (P-CRC) and WARM Foundation–who hosted the the 6th War Art Remembrance and Memory (WARM) Festival and the first WARM Academy in Sarajevo in July 2019.

Review: Chobi Mela

In 2019, the VII Academy supported three workshops and multiple portfolio reviews at the Chobi Mela festival. Fifty-nine students received scholarships to participate in one of three workshops: “Your Photojournalism Survival Kit” with Ron Haviv; “Learning to See” with Christopher Morris; and “A Better Future For Independent Journalists” with Vaughan Smith. Eleven students attended portfolio review sessions with Gary Knight and Anush Babajanyan.

Review: Burmese Days: Documenting an Extraordinary Voyage of Discovery

Seven days with instructors Daniel Schwartz and Philip Blenkinsop in Myanmar were spent observing, building confidence, and seeking out those special moments that as photographers we live for; documenting them as they happen, whether walking the streets, journeying by train, bus or boat or simply sat at a tea shop watching the world go by.