Beyond the Silence

What does silence hide? Who benefits from silence? Can silence protect or harm us? Whose voices are able to break through the silence?

First initiated after the outbreak of the full-scale war in Ukraine, ‘Beyond the Silence’ aims to create dialogue among photographers from different countries, illuminating shared experiences and common challenges.

After it began, the ongoing war in Ukraine was a stark reminder of the global international ties between different countries and continents, highlighting the global repercussions of local strife. In every corner of our world, conflicts both decades-old and newly-emerging serve as a stark reminder of not only our interconnectedness as nations, but also of the myriad of shared experiences in communities worldwide.

From ongoing occupation and annexation, the impact of colonialism and censorship, as well as individual and collective decisions to fight or adapt – these are just some of the themesBeyond the Silence’ invites artists to respond to with their own perspectives.

Conducted in two stages, this project will culminate in eight selected photographers producing a body of work each which, along with the work of four Magnum photographers, will be presented in public exhibitions in Mexico, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Cambodia, Ukraine and the United States.

‘Beyond the Silence’ is a collaborative project organised by Magnum Photos in partnership with Odesa Photo Festival (Ukraine), Vlast (Kazakhstan), Centro de las Artes San Agustín (Mexico), Africa Artists’ Foundation (Nigeria), and the Angkor Photo Festival & Workshops (Cambodia), with the support of the Open Society Foundations and the Ukrainian Institute.

Stage 1 Application Deadline: 24th April 2024 (Midnight, Cambodia time +7GMT)



We are now open for applications for Stage 1 of the project. (Link to application form is at the bottom of this page.)

In Stage 1 of ‘Beyond the Silence‘, 15 photographers will be selected from each country/region to take part in a one-day online master class by Fred Ritchin, Dean Emeritus of the International Center of Photography (ICP). The masterclass will be dedicated to discussing the development of long-term projects, engaged visual storytelling, and methods of working with complex topics.

In addition to the masterclass, there will be one online session with the project curator Kateryna Radchenko (Odesa Photo Days Festival) and Giulietta Palumbo (Magnum Photos), during which participants can ask questions and seek clarification about the processes and logistics of the Stage 2 of the project.

Stage 1 Application Deadline: 24th April 2024 (Midnight, Cambodia time +7GMT)


In Stage 2, there will be an open call only for participants from Stage 1, who will be invited to submit a more detailed description of their proposed project based on their selected theme(s).

Only one participant from each country/region (Southeast Asia, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Nigeria) and four participants from Ukraine will be selected, and provided a US$3,000 grant each for the completion of their proposed project.



  • Our open call is for photographers from Southeast Asia, with no age limit.
  • Countries: Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, Brunei, Laos, Timore-Leste, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore
  • Photographers from other participating regions (Mexico, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Ukraine) have to apply via their representative organisations. See the list here.
  • Working language: English


  • Applications to Stage 1 require a short biography, statement of motivation, a PDF of your work (maximum 4 projects), and a brief expression of interest about your selected theme(s).
  • 15 applicants will be selected in Stage 1. Selected participants are expected to attend the one-day online master class (Time and date to be confirmed).
  • All Stage 1 participants will be invited to submit a more detailed proposal for Stage 2 based on their selected theme(s).
  • Based on their proposals, 1 participant from each country/region and 4 participants from Ukraine will be selected to produce their project.

Project Details: 

  • Fees/Production Costs: US$3000 provided to each participant, to be used at their discretion.
  • Duration: 3 months. (During this period, you need to develop your project in its entirety or most of it. It can also be a continuation of existing work, in which case 50% should be new material created during the project.)
  • Final result: A visual project consisting of at least 15 photos and/or video, text description, other materials for promotionl.

Participants will work focus on creating their own personal work based on research in their own country/region and their selected theme(s).

Participants will be paired in tandem based on their proposals (1 photographer from partner country & one Ukrainian photographer). This online collaboation is aimed at sharing their experiences, to support and counsel each other, and to know more about their research topic from a different perspective.

During the entire period, a representative from Magnum Photos and project curator Kateryna Radchenko will be lead 1-2 online sessions with the selected participants.

The results of each participant will be shown in the selected partner countries and in the final premium exhibitions in Ukraine and New York City in February 2025.



Applicants can select 1-2 of the themes from the list below which they are interested in creating a photo story on (or to continue an existing project). Our elaboration is meant to be a general guide, and photographers can further develop the theme according to their own research and perspectives.

1. From Colonial Rule to Independent Futures
What determines the identity of a country? What consequences does a country face in the postcolonial period? How does a long-lasting colonial policy affect the events of today? What are the methods of statehood formation after independence?

2. Violence & Trauma
Is it possible to avoid violence? What to do with systematic violence? How to cope with the experience? Is it worthwhile or possible to talk about traumatic experiences? How to talk about violence? How to work with collective trauma?

3. Censorships / Freedom of speech
What is forbidden to talk about out loud and why? How is forbidden information encoded and transmitted? Is digital communication changing in society? What are the consequences of disseminating prohibited information? Are new media technologies based on the development of a democratic society and the dissemination of factual information or a method of spreading propaganda and manipulation?

4. Territory: Occupied/Annexed
How do we determine which territories belong to which countries? What defines current territorial boundaries? Explore the experience of living under occupation or within an annexed territory—how do individuals and communities reconcile with the artificial division of their land or its integration into another nation? What is it like to live in a territory that is not recognized in the world?

5. Kidnapping & Abduction
Can you imagine that one day your child could be kidnapped and held in another country or in an unknown place? Or that anyone could be taken from the street because they have different political views or simply happened to be in the wrong place? Is it possible to avoid kidnapping? Why does the human body become a resource for manipulation?

6. Fight/Adaptation
In the face of political upheaval and social injustices, do we stand up and fight for our rights, freedoms, and choices, or do we adapt to the circumstances laid before us? At what point do we choose to voice our positions loudly, or decide to wait and watch quietly? How do you fight for your right to the future? Is it worth risking your life? What alternative methods of struggle are possible? Adaptation as self-defense or passivity?