Joop Swart Masterclass selection process

How to participate 

2020 selection process

The Joop Swart Masterclass is based on a five-step nomination process. Traditionally, the Joop Swart Masterclass brings together masters and participants at the World Press Photo Foundation in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, during an intense five-day program in September. Because of the global pandemic, this year the masterclass was held exclusively online over a period of five months, from July to November 2020, with 24 participants and 8 masters.

The components of the masterclass were similar to the traditional one, with online master presentations, individual mentoring sessions, group discussions, guest lectures, editing sessions, and small working groups.

There was two intensive online weeks. The first one, for introductions, presentations, and brainstorming, took place in mid-July. The second and final intensive week, for editing, output, and reflection, took place in mid-October. In between, the program of presentations, discussions, and individual mentoring took place online

Learn more about the selection process of the 2020 Joop Swart Masterclass.

Traditional selection process

1. January - March: Nomination phase

The selection process is based solely on nominations from the panel of international nominators. There is no application process, and the World Press Photo Foundation cannot connect individuals to nominators on the panel and cannot provide the contact details of nominators. However, nominators sometimes make their search for candidates public on their social media channels, and individuals can also contact nominators independently. Each nominator on the international panel submits the names of two candidates by the end of February. 

2. April: Appointment of independent selection committee

An independent, international selection committee is appointed by the World Press Photo Foundation in April. See the 2020 Joop Swart Masterclass selection committee.

3. May - June: Selection phase

The selection committee reviews all the submissions and chooses the participants, who are required to produce new work on a given theme to bring to the masterclass.

4. June - September: Production phase 

The participants are required to produce new work on a given theme to bring to the masterclass. While the theme provides a certain framework to the participants, they work freely according to their own sensitivity and expressive language.

5. September: Masterclass in Amsterdam

During five days, 12 participants and five masters review the work produced and exchange ideas and experiences on visual storytelling. The masterclass features a diverse program including masters’ lectures, one-on-one sessions, editing sessions, group discussions, guest lecturers and cultural visits.

Who is eligible to be nominated?

The international nominators will be looking for individuals who:

  • Are emerging and early-career image makers with 5-10 years experience
  • Have a commitment to work in documentary, journalism and/or visual storytelling
  • Show talent and are motivated to learn and grow
  • Have technical skills of a very high level
  • Have visual and storytelling skills of a good level
  • Are willing and able to produce new work
  • Can converse in understandable English
  • Can submit their digital portfolio before the deadline
  • Are free to participate in the masterclass in Amsterdam for one week 
  • Those who have been nominated for a previous edition of the Joop Swart Masterclass can be considered again.

Next nomination period

The Joop Swart Masterclass is currently closed for nominations. Sign up to our newsletter to be notified when the next nomination period starts.