Joan Wakelin Bursary

Administered by The Society in partnership with The Guardian. The Joan Wakelin Bursary offers £2000 for the production of a photographic essay on an overseas social documentary issue.

This bursary will be opening shortly. Closes: 1st July 2019.

The Bursary was established in 2005 in memory of distinguished documentary photographer and Honorary Fellow of The Society, Joan Wakelin.  The Bursary is administered by The Society in partnership with The Guardian and offers £2000 for the production of a photographic essay on an overseas social documentary issue. 

In addition to the funding you will also be able to claim up to £500 worth of equipment from Vanguard and your portfolio printed by Metro Imaging.

The Bursary funds new projects only. We do not support on-going projects. The Bursary does not support projects requiring travel to or within war zones.

Entries are free and open to all, of any age or nationality.

Shortlisted candidates will be required to attend, in person, for interview at the Guardian offices, London, UK, during the third week of July 2018 (14/06/18 the date is now confirmed for Wednesday the 8th of August 2018). We are not able to conduct on-line or telephone interviews.

The application process is currently being tested. Please do not try and apply until the bursary is open as you application will not be counted.

Applying is a four step process - applications will not be accepted via email: 

1) Read the information sheet about the bursary carefully.

2) Register or Login to the website. You will need to navigate back to this page under the Competitions tab in the menu above after logging in or registering (if you applied for a Bursary last year you should already have a password to login).

3) Fill in and submit your written application here.

4)  After submitting your written application you will immediately be asked to load your supporting images - you can also submit your eight supporting images from a previous project here. The images that you upload should be sRGB jpegs of no more than 2mb in size each.  Image titles should be kept short or the images may not load correctly.  For example, if your surname was Jordan then we would recommend titling your images in the following way: Jordan1.jpeg, Jordan2.jpeg etc.  Please allow the images time to load (this may take a few minutes) and do not press submit more than once.

Previous Winners (click on an image to learn more) 


Copyright Alice Mann
Alice Mann

Showing 8 article(s)

Joan Wakelin Matilda Temperley

2016 Recipient

From August 2017 of The RPS Journal

The Joan Wakelin Bursary aided Matilda Temperley’s compelling study of Ghanaian communities tackling the stigma of leprosy.

Aug 2017
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John Gallo

2015 Recipient

From June 2016 of The RPS Journal

John Gallo - on the people of Ria Formosa in the Algarve, Portugal who are going to be deprived of their homes.

Jun 2016
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Manuela Henao

2014 Recipient Feature 2

From August 2015 of The RPS Journal

Manuela Henao Restrepo discusses her Bursary project - a second feature on the 2014 recipient.

Aug 2015
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Beauties by Manuela Henao

2014 Recipient

From March 2015 of The RPS Journal

Manuela Henao Restrepo discusses her Bursary project.

Mar 2015
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Eleri Griffiths

2013 Recipient

From May 2014 of The RPS Journal

Eleri Griffiths - how do you turn bees into shoes? Eleri Griffiths went to Africa to find out.

May 2014
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