Introduction

"The future of great ideas will come from great collaborations." - Trevor Beattie

Redeye's Lightbox is a collaborative course encouraging career development for photographers. It has run every two years for the past decade, supporting photographers through group projects (see here for previous editions of Lightbox). It is now firmly established as a leading independent course for creative photographers looking to build their careers and work with others.

This year we have refocused and adapted the programme to deliver it online, and foster ideas and projects that adapt to, and make the most of, the circumstances of the pandemic. We have designed this course to give you the tools and confidence needed to build a sustainable career in the photography sector. This edition concentrates more on human issues that can be addressed by creative practice - ethics, care and our fragile ecosystem.

Lightbox Online is a six-month programme of talks, workshops and group critiques fostering a community of practice that will allow you to grow. There will be a focus on the skills required to sustain a career, from developing and managing standout projects, via marketing, fundraising and evaluation to collaborative working and ethical practice.

The core skills for photographers are still important, but the ways we work have changed significantly and we need to ride that wave - we can't afford to wait for a return to "normality". Building a sustainable and long lasting career in the arts or photography industry now more than ever requires adaptability, critical thinking and an open approach to collaboration that are at the centre of the Lightbox programme.

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The Programme

Lightbox Online starts with presentations and provocations from specialists and industry leaders in photography and the arts, with follow-up group discussions and workshops to put this learning to practical use. Alongside this are group critiques, networking, and public lectures. The course will be delivered over Zoom, and the key sessions and resources will be available to access any time.

For the second phase of Lightbox Online participants will form into smaller project groups, each supported by a mentor with extensive experience of the photography world, to help with the development of ideas and realisation of your aims.

In phase one, throughout January and February 2020, the talks will take place weekly on weekday evenings, working around the availability of the selected participants as much as possible. The follow-up discussions and workshops will be on Saturday mornings (UK time). From March until June, when the course will be split into smaller groups and assigned mentors for phase two, there's more flexibility around the timings of the sessions.

The phase two project groups will be a space for collaboration and sharing of skills, knowledge and support. Lightbox Online is designed to take photographers through the process of finishing and delivering a project, whether that is a virtual exhibition, event, publication, workshop, or any group activity related to photography, or even a plan or manifesto; and we will meet again as a group in Autumn 2021 to hear back about these outcomes. Although we encourage collaboration, we do understand that some participants will want to use the opportunity to develop individial projects, and that can certainly be accommodated.

Subjects covered include: idea to realisation, getting work ready for public display, bid writing and fundraising, making your work accessible, ethical representation, project management, workshops and facilitation, getting your work seen, marketing and communications, eco-friendly working and developing relationships with curators, publishers and producers.

Who is involved? The course will be led by Redeye's director Paul Herrmann and Programme Co-ordinator Rachael Burns. Confirmed speakers include; Jagdish Patel, socially engaged, visual artist, educator and writer, Becky Warnock, artist and organiser lecturing at LCC and Coventry, and leading ethical agency Creative Concern. We are also delighted to welcome back Nicola Shipley of Grain Photography Hub as one of our mentors for Lightbox. Please check back as we will be announcing more speakers as we go.

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To apply

At Redeye we celebrate diversity and are dedicated to making all our activities accessible and inclusive, and free from discrimination. We welcome applications to Lightbox from any and all backgrounds. One of the strengths of Lightbox is its broad mix of ages, genders, ethnicities, income levels and personalities.

Lightbox Online is designed for anyone who wants to take their career to the next stage. We are looking for photographers and photographic artists that are already making strong work, and are ready to work with others, and share and develop creative ideas, regardless of genre.

A full price place on Lightbox Online is £500, which includes the programme of talks, workshops and mentoring sessions, with key sessions recorded and available to catch up on at any time. This is the cost price which allows us to pay our freelance mentors and speakers fairly and contribute to a healthy photography ecology. We understand that this makes the course unaffordable for many, so we have reduced-price places available supported by bursaries. Please apply for a bursary place if you are unable to afford the full price, and feel free to ask us any questions about pricing (or anything else) by contacting lightbox@redeye.org.uk.

To apply please fill in the application form on this page and send it to submissions@redeye.org.uk by 11:59pm GMT on Sunday the 22nd November. If you are undecided, or need some support please take a look at the FAQs below or watch Lightbox Online: Is it for me?, a recording of our event from Tuesday 27th October. If you have any difficulties with written applications forms we are open to other forms of application, including audio or video. Please contact lightbox@redeye.org.uk for more information.

 

FAQs

Yes if:
- You are already producing strong work
- You want to move your work or career on and up
- You are keen to expand your range and experience
- Your networks and marketing could be improved
- You like the idea of working on a group or collaborative project.

No if:
- You are not looking for change or challenge
- You don't like working with others.

Lightbox Online is a programme of group learning and professional development aimed at photographers who would like to take the next step in their career. We are interested in photographers who are committed to developing their work and who are open to learning through skill sharing and collaboration. You don’t need any formal qualifications, but we are looking for people with a strong photographic practice. This can be in any genre – fine art, photojournalism, documentary, commercial, social, experimental, or community.

Please look carefully at the course description, workshops and tutors and mentors who have been announced so far. If the programme appeals to you and you would be able to commit to attending then you are very welcome to apply.

Please fill in the application form on this page and send the following to us by email to submissions@redeye.org.uk by 11:59pm on Sunday the 22nd November 2020.
- Your completed application including the equal opportunities form;
- Up to 6 digital images that illustrate a recent project or the kind of work you are interested in taking further;
- If appropriate, the bursary application form.

Please note the deadline for the current round of Arts Council England’s “Develop Your Creative Practice” (DYCP) fund is now past. We retain the information here as a new round will be opening at the end of the year. That will be too late for this edition of Lightbox but is still worth considering.

The fund is available for any practising artist or photographer to develop their creative practice through an extended period of up to a year, that can include any or all of the following type of things: courses, mentoring, discovering new networks, trying new approaches to work, taking creative risks - all of which you will get through Lightbox Online. So it’s very good match.

Importantly you can also be paid a fee for your own time - to cover the time you spend doing this development work, and which can also cover things like childcare costs.

In addition, if you have particular access needs that cost money, these can be on top of the £10,000. So for example if you needed sign language to attend the Lightbox course, that cost can be added on top.

There are conditions, but they have been relaxed since last time this fund was open: you have to have been practising for a year; you can’t fund things that have already happened; and you can apply for between £2,000 to £10,000.

NB You need a user account for the online Arts Council application system, so set that up as soon as possible. It takes some time to be approved. Make sure you find and read the “Guidance for applicants” document.

DYCP is a competitive fund but we can offer the following advice on how to make a really strong application.

  • It’s about you and the direction of your career. The things you are asking to be supported need to make sense in the arc of your career.
  • Clarity is very important. You need a clear activity plan - what you intend to do; your milestones; what kind of people you want to meet; what you want to achieve and so on. Those kind of goals are also very useful to have at the start of Lightbox, so do have a think - what stage is your career at at the moment and what are the ways in which you would like to develop it? What don’t you know enough about? People apply to Lightbox for all sorts of reasons - they want to try out a group project; they want to try something different in their work; they want to get particular types of business advice; they want to try project management. The more details the better. Of course it’s difficult to know in advance but give it your best guess.
  • You need a letter of support which is a really important part of the application. Many rejected applications have generic letters from famous people, who clearly don’t know much about your work. Find someone who knows your work and can write a strong letter.
  • DYCP is not about a particular project - it’s about development and why and how that’s going to help your career. If you want help with a project (e.g. an exhibition) then apply to the separate project fund.
  • We suggest you apply for the full Lightbox Online price (£500) through DYCP - not the reduced one.

What happens if you apply both to Lightbox Online and to DYCP, but are only successful with one?

  • If you are successful with Lightbox but not with DYCP, then you can still take up the Lightbox place. We suggest you submit a bursary form if appropriate with your Lightbox application, which might then reduce your fee.
  • If you are successful with DYCP but not with Lightbox Online, please let us know and we can discuss other possibilities. For example we could arrange some private mentoring for you, or help you put together a personal development plan. You might need to include this possibility in your DYCP application - in other words, mention that if you are not successful with Lightbox, you have a backup plan.

Here’s the deadline and link:

Deadline for this round of DYCP: noon on 5 November 2020
Apply at www.artscouncil.org.uk/DYCP.

Result of your application for DYCP: week of 21 December 2020.

The Redeye staff team will individually score the applications on the following criteria:
- The quality and strength of your work;
- How much we think you’ll be able to engage with and benefit from the course;
- Your professionalism.
We will then compare our scores to determine the applicants who were scored most highly overall.

Please think about these criteria when writing your application. If you need any additional support during the application process please come along to the event on the 27th October, or contact lightbox@redeye.org.uk.

We will accept as many participants as we have the capacity to, who we feel are eligible and will benefit from the programme. In previous editions of Lightbox we have supported between 20 - 30 participants.

We will let everyone know whether their application is successful or not by end of the day on Wednesday the 8th December. At this stage we will send successful applicants the schedule for the first few sessions and anything that you will need to prepare.

Lightbox Online will, as the name suggests, be delivered entirely online. The talks and workshops will all be recorded and available to catch up on if you miss a session, although we recommend attending as much live as you can to be able to meet the speakers, ask questions and take part in group discussions.

In the event that the severity of the pandemic is significantly reduced, there might be the possibility of meeting up. However we will work to make sure that doesn't disadvantage any participants.

Yes! Lightbox is designed so that participants are able to maintain other commitments alongside the course. We have timed the sessions to be as accessible as possible based on previous feedback from our audience. We understand that with work and other caring responsibilities you may not be able to make it along to every session live which is why we ask that you confirm that you’ll be able to manage to attend 75%.

If you won’t be able to commit to attending at the designated times, but want to take part please contact lightbox@redeye.org.uk and we will take your comments into consideration. We also have a programme of events, talks and workshops that might work better for you if you are unable to take part in Lightbox Online.

Yes, we welcome worldwide applications. The only proviso is that the course will be delivered in English. Most of the weekday presentations will be recorded, so accessible at other times. The Saturday sessions are currently set for 10:00 to 12:00 UK time.

We are grateful to Cath Stanley who took part in the last Lightbox and wrote about her experiences:

“Back in 2017, I applied for the Redeye Lightbox programme and was successfully shortlisted along with 19 others. It was the start of a truly interesting creative journey for me, and I became a member of FORM collective.

Mentored by Nicola Shipley from GRAIN, we looked at what direction our collective wanted to go in, its identity, and where we would like to exhibit. At this point I had mainly an interest in photographing landscape, I wanted to make sure the work I made with the collective really challenged my creative practice. I teach within an art department and working across many disciplines I was interested in using alternative methods other than straightforward photography. My work mainly documents my family and the traces they leave behind on the landscape, I wanted to stay mindful to this. Working with narrative I created a series of pieces called Twenty Trees on secondary infertility, something close to my own heart. FORM collective successfully gained Arts Council funding and our first exhibition was at Brighton Photo Fringe.

On returning from Brighton I started to document landscape again. One of the most challenging aspects for me as a female and a mum to a young child is walking off the beaten track to photograph different terrains. Finding myself in a very male-dominated area of photography I started to look at how I could bring more females together in landscape by using social media and creating social events. I started Landform initially as a place to support and promote the work of other female landscape photographers on Instagram. This led to social meet-ups within the landscape, a chance to share good practice and bring like-minded people together.

As Christmas 2018 approached, the collective started to look at being part of a fringe event at FORMAT. We gained successful Arts Council funding. I produced another series of pieces called Dotted and Scattered after a visit to the Western Isles with my son. Based on a theory of sensory-rich experiences, it explored how landscapes can resonate with individuals and filters through creative practice. My son created the narrative to our work and we formed a small stitch bound photobook to accompany large prints.

In summer 2019, my series Twenty Trees was exhibited in Representation on the Line II: (Un)framing our Identities as part of the Kensington and Chelsea Art Weekend, along with other members of the collective. I am currently completing my PfCO to be able to operate a drone commercially as this is an area I am massively interested in. It has been a successful and eventful year, supported by fantastic people around me enabling me to have opportunities I would not have had if not applying for the Lightbox programme with Redeye.”

If you want to participate in Lightbox but aren’t sure you can afford it there are a few options available.

Firstly see above the option to apply to Arts Council England - this is only open until 5th November 2020.

If you are on a low income you can apply for a bursary place. Bursaries are awarded on a case-by-case basis and can reduce the price of Lightbox by between 40%- 70%.

To apply for a bursary, you will need to fill in the bursary application form and send it to lightbox@redeye.org.uk along with your application. More information about the bursaries can be found on the information sheet that can be downloaded on the Lightbox event page.

Additionally, we are now offering staged payments for all applicants of Lightbox between January and May 2021. Staged pricing is expected to be in the form of monthly direct debit amounts and if you choose this option payments will be between £30 to £100 a month dependent on bursaries.

Email lightbox@redeye.org.uk with the subject ‘Lightbox query’ and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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