Project “Visual narratives: European borderlines”

The project engaged 12 young photography artists in a documentary exploration of four countries representing geographical borders of Europe: Latvia, Turkey, Iceland, Portugal. The result is summarised in a joint visual narrative – documentation of “European borderlines”. Twelve participants (3 from each country) were selected to undertake personal projects – documentary and personal studies of the ‘borderlines’ in the duration of 9 months, followed by a joint editing workshop. The project work included a residency at one of the other partner countries. The work was guided and supervised by experienced documentary photographers Vanessa Winship and George Georgiou (UK). The final output represent an exploration of differences and similarities, contrasts and likeness, frontiers and borderlines, both geographical and human – a visual narrative of the countries and people standing ‘on the edge’ of Europe. The countries involved all badly lack opportunities of quality education for young photographers. The formal higher university education in photography is non-existent (Latvia, Iceland, Portugal), or lacking in quality and access (Turkey). The ties between the photography organisations involved are yet non-existent (except for occasional personal links), therefore cooperation established during the project would build necessary ground for future cooperation and international exposure. Moreover, the involved countries lie in a periphery of Europe and have recently or are currently suffering the effects of the economic ‘crisis’, which makes a subject or visual research, documentation, and conceptualisation especially up to date. The project will draw the attention of the public to the ‘marginal’ regions of Europe. By highlighting the expected differences and the unexpected similarities, it will unravel the meta-physics of connecting the unconnectable. The main goal of the project is to establish an informal educational frame that helps young photographers to develop their artistic perception and gain international recognition by creating a joined piece of work that is valid and up-to-date in European context.

OBJECTIVES AND AIMS: – to contribute to education and discussion about contemporary photography in countries where quality photography education is almost non-existent or lacking in access;
– to try out a quality informal educational model in photography;
– to develop and promote young talents in photography;
– to establish a lasting cooperation between participating organisations;
– to create a high-quality visual output bringing attention to the countries on the “EU periphery”.

ACTIVITIES: – a workshop “Visual narratives: European borderlines” as part of International Summer School of Photography 2011 (in Kuldīga, Latvia, August 2011);
– work on 12 individual projects (9 months, in own country + residency in one of the other), guided by tutors;
– editing workhop (in Turkey, July 2012);
– project presentations in Latvia, Turkey, Portugal, Iceland;
– project presentation at European photography festivals.

PROJECT PARTNERS: The project is implemented by active photography organisations of four countries: – Latvia: NGO ISSP (, – Turkey: Genis Aci Project Office – GAPO (, – Iceland: Icelandic Contemporary Photography Association (, and Reykjavik Museum of Photography ( – Portugal: Maio Claro Visual Concepts (

PROJECT TUTORS: – Vanessa Winship (Agence VU – FR)
– George Georgiou (Panos pictures – UK, Prospekt – IT)

FUNDING: The project is funded by cooperation grants from European Cultural Foundation ( and Open Society Institute Arts and Culture Program (, and co-financed by the partners.