Inclusion and diversity

Working towards a more inclusive and diverse visual journalism community

Diversity is one of the World Press Photo Foundation’s core values. As a global operating organization, we encourage a diverse range of professionals from around the world to produce high-quality visual stories reflecting a comprehensive view of the world that we can connect to an international audience.

Whilst important steps have been made since 2015, when we first publicized contest entrant data to call attention to the need for greater diversity, we must continue the work to achieve an inclusive, diverse visual journalism industry. 

Our efforts to encourage a more diverse and inclusive representation of the world

Over the last years, we have taken initiatives and started programs to encourage a more diverse and inclusive representation of the world.

We formally adopted a policy to ensure gender and geographic diversity in all our programs. Our contest juries, selection panels, and masterclass participants include 50% women and members from all six continents (where relevant).

World Press Photo campaigns all year round to attract new and more diverse range of photographers to enter the photo contest. In 2019, we organized meetups with photographers in Nairobi, Kenya; Dar es-Salaam, Tanzania; Siem Reap, Cambodia; Bangkok, Thailand; Hanoi, Vietnam; and Maputo, Mozambique. For the 2019 and 2020 Photo Contests, we reached out to organizations and individuals as part of an extensive online outreach campaign focused on attracting female entrants and photographers from African and South American countries - previously underrepresented - to enter the contest.

Through our Develop programs, the World Press Photo Foundation encourages diverse accounts of the world that present stories with different perspectives. The African Photojournalism Database was created in 2016 in partnership with Everyday Africa to help African photographers and visual journalists better connect to the international media economy. Today, over 500 visual storytellers are part of the database.

The 6x6 Global Talent Program connects visual storytellers, who may not be well known outside of their region, to a global audience. Now on its second cycle, the program has recognized a total of 60 photographers from six global regions. The talents have been featured in exhibitions in all of the six regions, and 6x6 talents have become Joop Swart Masterclass participants and World Press Photo Contest winners.

The West Africa Visual Journalism Fellowship is a one-year fellowship for three emerging visual journalists and storytellers to contribute to investigative journalism in and about West Africa. In collaboration with the Chocolonely Foundation, the program provides funding, mentorship, education, and support to three fellows to develop their projects and storytelling abilities.

Our renowned Joop Swart Masterclass (JSM) started in 1994 and is held every year in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The 27th edition of the JSM is currently underway and 24 participants from 20 countries have been selected instead of 12 participants, to make the program more inclusive. Next to the JSM, in the past years we have organized global masterclasses in Mexico City, Mexico (2015), Nairobi, Kenya (2016) and Accra, Ghana (2017), where 36 participants in total received support and mentorship from industry professionals.

The Solutions Visual Journalism Initiative has commissioned six stories with a solutions focus, to be made by a diverse range of journalists reporting on issues in Bosnia, Indonesia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Nigeria, and the US-Mexico border, and published later this year.

We regularly work with Women Photograph, Everyday Africa, Foto Feminas, the editors of Depth of Field, and other organizations bringing different representations of the world that are often overlooked to the audience, giving them a platform in our online magazine Witness and Instagram account.

Working towards a more inclusive organization

The World Press Photo Foundation is a non-profit organization based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, with 24 staff members. On 11 June we announced the departure of Lars Boering, who had been managing director since 2015. Arnoud van Dommele, who was working as an interim business director since March, was appointed interim managing director whilst the search for a new managing director began. Diversity and inclusion will play an important role in the selection process. Our mission remains, to connect the world to the stories that matter.

In the last few years, we took steps to improve understanding of inclusion and broader representation internally. This includes setting up of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee; a review of our hiring processes; diversity and inclusion training for all staff members; and sharing of educational resources. Improving diversity and inclusion is crucial to our work. We know there is more work to do in diversifying our workforce, and we are committed to it.

These commitments include the establishment of an International Advisory Board; ongoing review of our hiring processes; unconscious bias and systematic racism training to all hiring managers; further investment in the Diversity and Inclusion Committee; ongoing diversity and inclusion training for all staff members; growing access to educational resources and knowledge sharing; and building opportunities for staff to meet, expand and diversify connections with global experts.

There is still work ahead of us, and we remain committed to keeping World Press Photo Foundation an open and inclusive organization. We will continue to provide updates on our efforts and activities.