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Student Awards

Photo|Frome is proud to launch our first Student Awards, with prizes sponsored by MPB, the largest global platform to buy, sell and trade used photo and video gear.

Deadline for Submission: Monday 10 April

The Student Awards welcome projects of all genre and styles of photography, and any photographic processes that reflect the 2023 theme Decolonising Environments.

Decolonising Environments explores the complex and often conflicting relationships between human communities, places, and the natural world. Encompassing a range of styles, subjects and genres, Photo|Frome invites photographers and audiences to contribute to discussions around the social and environmental impacts of longstanding political, cultural, and economic ideas about our world.

‘Decolonising’ is usually defined as a process of self-determination and unlearning of the social and cultural constructs created by an established and maintained system of dominion of one group over another. ‘Decolonising Environments’ expands this concept, to encourage a wider examination of social, environmental, and cultural issues through the subjectivity of the photographer’s individual gaze. There is a national and international backdrop of communities big and small impacting one another with both positive and negative effects whether resource exploitation or societal change. And we have all witnessed the shifting of seasons, changing weather patterns, reduced insect and bird life and the effects of urbanisation. Photo|Frome will thus showcase photography that exposes visitors to both global and local issues.

What’s in it for you? Two winners and one highly commended student will receive vouchers from the Student Awards sponsor MPB to spend on pre-loved photography or videography equipment. There is a first prize of £500, a second prize of £250, and a pre-degree winning student prize of £250.

The overall winner, second prize winner, and the pre-degree student winner will be exhibited at Rook Lane Chapel, in the Café, for the duration of Photo|Frome 2023, alongside major national and international photographers. The exact format of presentation will be decided depending on the work submitted. All winners and runners-up will also be featured on the Photo|Frome website, mailings, and social media posts.

Who will judge the awards? Submissions will be shortlisted by the festival team and assessed for the standard of the photography, as well as the extent to which the project reflects this year’s theme.

Shortlisted submissions will then be judged by a panel comprising curator and writer Pelumi Odubanjo; documentary photographer Michelle Sank; MPB’s photographer-in-residence, Ian Howorth; and Photo|Frome’s lead curator, Mick Yates.

Pelumi Odubanjo is a curator, researcher, and writer based in London. Her interests in contemporary art are cross-disciplinary, with a specific focus on contemporary photographic practices which informs both her work as a curator and researcher. Pelumi works with artists, archives, and cultural artefacts to create and explore dialogues across a global African diaspora to disentangle our understanding of archival practices. Her writing on contemporary photography, art, and culture has appeared in Magnum Photos, New Contemporaries, Splash&Grab, Artillery Magazine, Photoworks, and Photo Fringe amongst others. Pelumi has worked as a Curatorial Assistant at the Serpentine Galleries and has curated at festivals and institutions such as Photo50 for the London Art Fair, 2023; Photo Oxford, 2021; the Tate Exchange at Tate Modern, 2020; Brighton Photo Fringe, 2020; and the Black Cultural Archives, 2020.

Michelle Sank was born in South Africa and settled in the UK in 1987. She cites this background as informing her interest in sub-cultures and the exploration of contemporary social issues. Michelle’s photographs have been exhibited extensively in the UK, Europe, Australia and Mexico, South Africa and the U.S.A. Her imagery is held in the permanent collections of Allan Servais, Brussels, Open Eye Gallery Archive, Liverpool, Societe Jersiaise and Guernsey Museum, Channel Islands, Southeast Museum of Photography, Florida and The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas, RAMM, Exeter and The Museum of Youth Culture, UK. Michelle has won awards in numerous prestigious competitions including the Taylor Wessing Prize and the British Journal of Photography. She was a winner in The Portrait of Britain 2020 and Photo Review international, and is a recipient of the Rapid Response Fund, The Contemporary Arts Society for “Breathe” made during Covid for exhibition at The Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter.

Key Details:

  • There is no fee to submit your work.
  • Awards will go to those who are working on photographic series and projects, not individual images.
  • Projects should all have been made, or significantly developed in 2022-23.
  • All entrants must be enrolled on a UK-based full- or part-time art and design programme in the academic year 2022-23.
  • All levels of study are welcome. There is a specific award for a student on a pre-degree level course. To be eligible for this award you must not be older than 21 on 12 July, 2023.
  • The festival curatorial team will work with the winners on an individual basis to agree the number of images from the project, size and finish. We want the exact production methods to be appropriate for the work, and provide a good representation of the broader project or body of work. The award winners will need to work collaboratively and constructively with the festival curatorial team and outcomes will also be dependent on budgetary constraints as well as wall space at the exhibition venue.
  • Video / Audio-visual projects will be considered.
  • Photobooks cannot be considered for this award (please submit books to the Photo|Frome Book Exhibition and Award 2023, to be separately announced).
  • MPB vouchers cannot be exchanged for cash.
  • Winners will be notified via email and must submit high-resolution files within the timeframe below. Failure to submit these and cooperate with the festival team will result in the award and prize being revoked.

The Important Dates:

  • Submission deadline 10 April.
  • Shortlisted photographers notified 24 April.
  • Winners notified 2 May.
  • High resolution files supplied to Photo|Frome by 8 May.
  • Festival Opening and Student Awards presentation 24 June.
  • Festival closes 12 July

Submission Link:



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