Status: CLOSED. Application reopens August 1, 2016. September 30 deadline.
About the Grant
ConDev’s Student Media Grants award up to $5,000 to current students interested in capturing issues facing fragile and conflict-affected areas of the world through stunning photography. Past winners have traveled to and produced photography highlighting issues in Nigeria, Mali, India, Nicaragua, Kenya, Haiti, Guatemala, Ethiopia, Perú, and other conflict-affected regions.
The program is OPEN TO STUDENTS WORLDWIDE (undergraduate, graduate, PhD, etc.). Students graduating in April-May 2017 are also eligible to apply.
*Please note that these dates are tentative based on previous rounds.
- August 1, 2016: APPLICATION OPENS!
- September 30, 2016 (due by 11:59pm CST): Application deadline
- October 2016: Review Period – please be patient as we review your incredible proposals!
- November 2016: Notification Period
- January 2017 (Depending on proposal timeline): Funding Disbursement (approximate)
- No more than four (8.5”×11”) pages
- 12 point, Times New Roman font
Students should submit proposals that describe their anticipated travel, subjects, and plans for media production and promotion as specifically as possible.
Proposals must include the following components:
- Cover Sheet
- Thematic Focus
- Statement of Motivation
- Media Experience
- Narrative of Planned Activities (including Plan for Promotion)
- Cover Sheet should include:
- Applicants’ email (one one email, please), university name, academic year (Example: second-year undergraduate student, graduating May 2018)
- The names and contact information (telephone numbers and emails) of at least two faculty or staff who can serve as references. By submitting a proposal, applicants agree that ConDev has permission to contact these individuals prior to awarding a grant to the applicant.
- Thematic Focus
- What theme/issue do you plan to photograph/film?
- What do you hope to achieve by highlighting this specific issue?
- Statement of Motivation (½ to 1 page)
- Why this issue/country? How will this grant further your personal/professional aspirations?
- Media Experience (1/2 page maximum)
- Is this your first time using a camera, or do you have experience taking great photographs/film? Feel free to include links to past work, or include them as attachments when you submit your proposal.
- Applicants are responsible for editing and presenting their work with all associated captions and/or descriptions after returning from their photo exhibition. Do you have any experience editing photos/film?
- If you lack photography/film experience, how do you plan to improve your skills before departing on your photo exhibition, should you be awarded a grant?
- The use of a table is encouraged for timelines.
- Provide clear travel dates and locations.
- Include milestones for delivering preliminary photos and film during your expedition.
- Narrative of Planned Activities
- This section, outlined in paragraph form, will explain your planned activities as proposed in your timeline.
- How long do you plan to be in-country?
- How do you plan to capture media, and with whom do you plan to meet?
- Include plans for delivering preliminary photos and film during your expedition.
- Where will you travel to? Do you plan to visit more than one country?
- List specific deliverables, including method of delivery. Include specific deadlines for delivering your final product and promoting your work after your return.
- *A plan for promotion is required. How do you plan to present and promote your finished, edited and polished product after your return? Will you target specific media channels/magazines/news outlets?
- Example: I plan to produce at least XXXX photos. I will deliver XXXX photos WITH CAPTIONS (including subject, date and location) to the Grant Manager once a week while overseas and will deliver the rest via DropBox by Month/Day. I plan to access internet while traveling by XXXX. I am considering using a technique called XXXX, which is particularly appropriate for this subject matter because XXXX. I will edit my photos/film using XXXX computer software. I will deliver my finished, edited and polished products with all perfectly completed captions to the Grant Manger using XXXX. After returning on XXXX, I will submit my documentary film to these 4 film festivals and these magazines for consideration. I will also provide XXXX copies of my final product to XXXX number of schools in the country I visited, which will require me to purchase XXXX. And so on.
- Applicants are encouraged to be as detailed and accurate as possible regarding estimated expenses.
- Please ensure that your budget does not surpass the $5000 limit.
- Will you need to pay for visas, flights, vaccinations, security, etc.?
- ConDev will not disburse additional funds for any reason. Applicants are responsible for arranging all details of their travel completely independently.
Proposals should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Student Media Grant: [Name of Student]” as the subject line. Only one proposal can be submitted per student.
- What inspired ConDev to start this grant? Who manages it?
- This grant was inspired by Howard G. Buffett’s use of photography to document the nexus of conflict and development in “Fragile: The Human Condition.” It is managed by The Center on Conflict and Development at Texas A&M University (“ConDev”).
- What is the purpose of this grant?
- To enable and encourage student photographers and filmmakers (especially those interested in photojournalism) to document and highlight issues related to conflict and development through stunning visual media in the country where these events are taking place.
- Are teams allowed to submit a joint proposal?
- A maximum team size of two people is eligible to submit a joint proposal. The funding limit will be the same ($5,000 maximum). One applicant must be listed at the primary contact with ConDev.
- How much money are we talking about, anyway?
- Awards will not exceed $5,000 per awardee.
- Where can I go? Are there any travel restrictions?
- Students may not travel to a country where there is a U.S. Department of State travel warning in place. If you submit an application that proposes travel to a country under a travel warning, ConDev is required to seek external approval before you can travel there; if your proposed travel is not approved, your application will be removed from consideration. If you live in a country under a State Department travel warning, we are still required to seek external approval. If you have any questions about your proposed travel, please do not hesitate to contact the Grant Manager (email@example.com).
- Grantees are not required to travel as part of the grant. If you wish to photograph a conflict-related issue in your home country, you are welcome to do so.
- I don’t attend school in the United States. Can I still apply?
- Yes; the grant is open to students (undergraduate, graduate, Master’s, PhD) worldwide. In the past, we have awarded grants to students attending universities in countries such as Norway and Nigeria.
- Do I have to be a photography/journalism/international studies major to apply?
- No; students from all areas of study are encouraged to apply. Your major does not have to be related to photography, journalism or international studies, though applicants with previous photography experience are especially encouraged to apply.
- When can I travel using this money?
- The photo expeditions for this round of the Student Media Grant should take place sometime between January 2017 and December 2017 , but if you would like to propose travel after December 2017, please contact the Grant Manager (firstname.lastname@example.org) for approval prior to submitting your proposal. We try to be flexible to accommodate students’ schedules.
- Are entering freshmen or graduating students allowed to submit an application?
- Yes, students entering university in August-September 2016 or graduating in April-May 2017 are eligible to apply.
- Are incoming students allowed to submit an application?
- No, incoming students are not yet eligible for the Student Media Grant, but we look forward to reviewing your proposal next year!
- What does a successful application look like?
- A successful application will have thorough responses and adequately answer all the prompts explained above. You are welcome to use this sample proposal for guidance.
- Is the cover sheet included in the page limit?
- What happens after I’m accepted?
- A second round of individual interviews may be required. You’ll be required to provide some more information, like: a letter signed by your supervising professor, evidence of good health and medical insurance that is valid in the area to which you expect to travel, etc. You’ll also have to register your emergency contact information with the Study Abroad Office.
- “I applied last year and did not get funded. Can I reapply?”
- Yes, you can reapply. Update your proposal based on previous feedback and proposal guidelines to better your chances of receiving an award.
- I already have a $500 scholarship to study abroad. Can I combine that with this grant if I win?
- Past winners have often combined awards and used additional grant money to supplement their projects.
- How many grants will be awarded each year?
- The number of grants awarded is based on the number of applicants and the amount of funding available. In the past, we have awarded approximately 2-6 grants per round.
- What type of media is suggested?
- Photography, documentary film, video, podcasts–we’re flexible!
- How will I share my photos with ConDev?
- During their experience, grantees are required to share their photos/film with ConDev HQ so ConDev can begin promoting their work; so if you think this will require you to purchase DropBox space or internet in your country of travel, please accoun. After returning from their photo expedition, the grantees will deliver their final products to ConDev HQ in accordance with the timeline stated in their proposal.
All work produced by Fellows will be used by the Chair and the Howard G. Buffett Foundation to advance advocacy and public awareness of critical issues facing international development. Information about the Student Media Grant winners and their associated projects will be presented annually to the Board of Advisors of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation Chair on Conflict & Development and the H. G. Buffett Foundation. There will be unrestricted access and use of published materials by these entities to advance mutual goals. Fellows will sign a release granting these permissions.
Still Have Questions?
Don’t hesitate to contact the Student Media Grant Manager at email@example.com or 979-458-9399. We look forward to reviewing your application!