Magnum Photos and Odesa Photo Days announced the open call for the “Beyond the Silence” project

“Beyond the Silence”

What does silence hide? Who benefits from silence? Can silence protect or harm us? Whose voices are able to break through the silence?

First initiated after the outbreak of the full-scale war in Ukraine, ‘Beyond the Silence’ aims to create a dialogue among photographers from different countries, illuminating shared experiences and common challenges.

After it began, the ongoing war in Ukraine was a stark reminder of the global international ties between different countries and continents, highlighting the global repercussions of local strife. In every corner of our world, conflicts both decades-old and newly-emerging serve as a stark reminder of not only our interconnectedness as nations but also of the myriad of shared experiences in communities worldwide. From ongoing occupation and annexation, the impact of colonialism and censorship, as well as individual and collective decisions to fight or adapt – these are just some of the issues ‘Beyond the Silence’ invites artists to respond to with their own perspectives.

Conducted in two stages, this project will culminate in eight selected photographers producing a body of work each of which, along with 4 Magnum photographers’ work, will be presented in public exhibitions in Mexico, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Cambodia, Ukraine, and the United States. A grant of 3,000 US Dollars is provided to each selected participant to develop the photo-story project for Stage 2.

“Beyond the Silence” is a collaborative project organised by Magnum Photos in partnership with Odesa Photo Days Festival (Ukraine), Centro de las Artes San Agustín (Mexico), Africa Artists’ Foundation (Nigeria), Vlast (Kazakhstan), and the Angkor Photo Festival & Workshops (Cambodia), with the support of the Open Society Foundations and Ukrainian Institute.

To apply for the open call please fill out this form. If you have any questions about the application procedure please reach us through the e-mail:

Application deadline is April 24th, 2024.


Open Call: Stage 1 

Through this first open call, 15 photographers from each country/region will be selected to take part in a one-day online master class by Fred Ritchin, Dean Emeritus of the International Center of Photography (ICP). The masterclass will be dedicated to discussing the development of long-term projects, engaged visual storytelling, and methods of working with complex topics. 

In addition to the masterclass, there will be one online session with the project curator Kateryna Radchenko (Odesa Photo Days Festival) and Giulietta Palumbo (Magnum Photos), during which participants can ask questions and seek clarification about the processes and logistics of Stage 2 of the project.

Stage 2

Through a 2nd call open only to participants from Stage 1, the participants will provide a description of their proposed photo story for the project.

Only one participant from each country (Southeast Asia, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Nigeria) and 4 participants from Ukraine will be selected and provided a US$3,000 grant for the completion of their proposed project

Terms of the project implementation:

  • Work in tandem (1 photographer from Partner country & one photographer from Ukraine). Online collaboration aims to share experience from different countries, counsel and support each other, and get to know more about the research topic from a different perspective.
  • Focus on creating a personal photo story, based on the research in the country (city, region) and the selected theme. The theme should be selected from the provided list. 
  • Duration — 3 months. During this period, you need to develop your project/story in its entirety or most of it. It can also be a continuation of work on a story that has already been started, in which case 50% should be new material created during the project. 
  • Fees/production costs. A grant of 3,000 US Dollars is provided to each selected participant to develop the photo-story project. The use of funds is at the discretion of the participants.
  • The final result should include — a visual project that can consist of at least 15 photos and/or video and/or photo installation, text description of the project, signatures, and biographical materials from the author to promote the project. 
  • During the entire period, Magnum and project curator Kateryna Radchenko will be lead 1-2 online sessions with the selected participants.
  • The results of each participant will be shown in the selected partner – country and in the final premium exhibitions in Ukraine and NYC in February 2025.
  • Working language — English.


  1. From Colonial Rule to Independent Futures

What determines the identity of a country? What consequences does a country face in the postcolonial period? How does a long-lasting colonial policy affect the events of today? What are the methods of statehood formation after independence? 

  1. Violence & Trauma

Is it possible to avoid violence? What to do with systematic violence? How to cope with the experience? Is it worthwhile or possible to talk about traumatic experiences? How to talk about violence? How to work with collective trauma?

  1. Censorships/ Free of speech

What is forbidden to talk about out loud and why? How is forbidden information encoded and transmitted? Is digital communication changing in society? What are the consequences of disseminating prohibited information? Are new media technologies based on the development of a democratic society and the dissemination of factual information or a method of spreading propaganda and manipulation?

  1. Territory. Occupied/Annexed

How do we determine which territories belong to which countries? What defines current territorial boundaries? Explore the experience of living under occupation or within an annexed territory—how do individuals and communities reconcile with the artificial division of their land or its integration into another nation? What is it like to live in a territory that is not recognized in the world?

  1. Kidnaping & Abduction

Can you imagine that one day your child could be kidnapped and held in another country or in an unknown place? Or that anyone could be taken from the street because they have different political views or simply happened to be in the wrong place? Is it possible to avoid kidnapping? Why does the human body become a resource for manipulation?

  1. Fight/Adaptation

In the face of political upheaval and social injustices, do we stand up and fight for our rights, freedoms, and choices, or do we adapt to the circumstances laid before us? At what point do we choose to voice our positions loudly, or decide to wait and watch quietly? How do you fight for your right to the future? Is it worth risking your life? What alternative methods of struggle are possible? Adaptation as self-defense or passivity?