Sarajevo Seminar

The Sarajevo Seminar for Documentary and Narrative Practice is an interdisciplinary seminar that takes place over a nine-month period and is led by tutors Dr. Paul Lowe and Ziyah Gafic of VII Agency. They are joined by leading journalists, designers, writers, editors, and photographers who provide some of the sessions.

During the seminar, you’ll explore how to develop a lasting career in visual storytelling, including conceiving, researching, and planning story ideas. You’ll be exposed to confronting ethical and moral challenges as you navigate the moral maze of documenting the lives of others. Developing a successful long-term business practice is one of the priorities of the Sarajevo Seminar for Narrative and Documentary Practice so that by the end, you’ll thrive as a successful practitioner in the ever-shifting media landscape.

You’ll also learn when and how to include verbal and text-based storytelling and multimedia as part of your visual work. Problem-solving photo assignments will help you to unlock ways to work intuitively, intellectually and emotionally, so that your photography becomes more instinctive, powerful, and subtle.

Expect a transformative experience, where your current way of working will be challenged and refined through a series of one-on-one sessions, group sessions, and online live webinar lectures.

The Sarajevo Seminar for Narrative and Documentary Practice is structured as a combination of three week-long sessions spread through a nine-month period with weekly online sessions in between main teaching blocks. It will be led by Ziyah Gafic, Dr. Paul Lowe, and additional lecturers from around the world teaching in our virtual classroom, where participants will be tutored by the course leaders and guest lecturers, and taught various photographic techniques and research skills as well as the history of photojournalism and documentary practice.

Key takeaways

This seminar will develop your ability to work on short photo essays in an editorial context. It will help you to:

  • Respond professionally and creatively to photojournalistic briefs;
  • Shoot single documentary pictures and picture stories or series;
  • Edit your work;
  • Work to a deadline;
  • Professionally present yourself and your work to an editor;
  • Develop the social skills needed to get access to people at work and leisure and get permission to photograph them;
  • Understand the visual potential of ideas/situations you are researching.

Adaptations to COVID-19

The tutors will adapt the program to the various COVID-19 lockdown situations that the participants are going through in their respective countries and communities.

Not knowing at this time who our students are, where they live, what their current situation is nor how their respective situations will evolve over the coming weeks and months, we have thought of various assignments and essays that can be developed in full consignment as well as in less rigid lockdown situations. Whatever the briefs, they will enable you to finish the seminar with the methodological and practical tools that we’ve promised to bring you.

In 2021 the Sarajevo Seminar had 16 participants from South-Eastern Europe, which includes Serbia, Bosnia, Greece, Poland, Hungary, and Bulgaria. The Seminar has been conducted online to date but concluded with a face-to-face week in Sarajevo in mid-September.

The 2022 Sarajevo Seminar will commence on 10 January 2022.