Sarajevo Seminar For Documentary and Narrative Practice 2022


January [email protected]:00-September 9, @12:00 EST 2022

3 one-week-long in-person sessions over 9 months with weekly online sessions in between.
Class size
Scholarship eligibility
The VII Academy will offer scholarships to 15 participants from the following countries: Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, Romania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Poland, Moldova, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia - Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Kosovo and Albania.
Additional info

Languages: This program will be conducted in English.

©Sandra Junicic


Over a period of nine months, this interdisciplinary seminar will be led by instructors Dr. Paul Lowe and Ziyah Gafic of VII photo agency and will be complemented with a series of sessions by leading journalists, designers, writers, editors and photographers.

During the seminar, you’ll explore how to develop a lasting career in visual story telling, 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 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 weeklong 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.


Marko Risovic, Sarajevo Seminar Participant, 2019: “…I enrolled in the VII Academy, an innovative educational program established with the goal of providing additional knowledge and support to photographers from underrepresented regions of the world. Together with a group of talented people from the Balkans, I honed my skills by listening to many prominent members of the community (who did not necessarily have a photographic background, but are prominent members of related and supporting disciplines–journalism, philosophy or science), all under the baton of the two–Paul and Ziyah–all in the intriguing mise-en-scène of Sarajevo’s multicultural landscapes. I think that this approach to transferring knowledge and providing modern educational programs to people in environments like ours is valuable, because often due to a complex set of factors we do not have the opportunity to participate in modern praxis in this way.

“I think the two of them are the perfect combination of lecturers; Paul with his long-honed career developed in the direction of academic engagement and working with young people (and who as the founder of the master’s program at the London College of Communications has a perfect methodology and theoretical approach to studying documentary photography), and Ziyah as a contemporary, very busy documentary photographer and thinker in the field of photography. They appear as a duo that goes through the theoretical and practical aspects of contemporary visual art in a very harmonized way. In addition to new knowledge and ideas regarding my own development, this school also brought me acquaintances with wonderful people from all over the world with whom I share the same passion and dilemmas.”

Ioana Moldovan, Sarajevo Seminar Participant, 2021: “Man, you got to try getting into this seminar. Paul has such a vast photographic culture, he knows and explains all this different approaches and styles. He sees so much into each photograph, getting his insight on things is just fantastic. And Ziyah, just gets you on the right track. He does not hold back on telling it straight, and that can be extremely useful if you are looking to improve.”

Apply Now


Eligible applicants (see details at the top of the page) who wish to be considered acceptance to this tuition-free program should complete the application form linked below. Please register for AwardForce, and then select the category of “VII Academy” and then the name of this program.

Scholarship application deadline: November 4, 2021.

Apply for a scholarship


Dr. Paul Lowe

Ziyah Gafić