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OPEN 2022

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Women Behind the Lens

Migration - An open call by An Indian Summer festival for the AIS OPEN

Following on from the inaugural AIS Open last year which had the theme Freedom, we are exploring the freedom of movement. Our theme for AIS Open: Women Behind the Lens, is Migration. We look forward to seeing your interpretations.




What is the opportunity?

Artists are invited to submit work exploring the theme of Migration and what it means to have or not have freedom of movement in today’s world. The exhibition will be curated by Sebah Chaudhry with a panel of experts and festival stakeholders.


Inspired by the migration of South Asian communities, the exhibition aims to explore what freedom of movement means. How does migration affect individuals and communities and how do different societies respond to the movement of people from one location to another? What are the reasons for migration and what are the freedoms and restrictions that may be associated with it?


As the Covid-19 crisis has forced us into isolation and taken away many freedoms globally, does this force us to understand and appreciate freedom of movement differently?

Who is eligible?

UK and International women photographers, at all stages of their careers, of any background and of any age. We strongly encourage artists who are under-represented within visual arts in the UK and internationally to apply, particularly artists with disabilities or long-term health conditions, and artists from low-income, LGBTQIA, and minority backgrounds, and artists living outside metropolitan cities. If you have any queries regarding the criteria, please get in touch with us via email.



What will artists receive?

5 artists will be selected by an international Jury and the AIS Open Curator as the overall winners. These artists’ work will be shown in an online exhibition for three months in 2022. The artists will also be part of a mentorship day that will consist of talks and 1-2-1 portfolio reviews with the Jury.

  • 5 artists will have their work exhibited in the online exhibition. 

  • One overall winner will be given a £300 honorarium.

  • The four runner ups will be awarded a £100 honorarium.

  • Shortlisted artists will have the opportunity to showcase their work via our social media platforms.

There are no fees for submitting work to this open call and there will be no artist fees offered for shortlisted entries.

How to apply 

Applications will be made via Google Forms. If you have any barriers to submitting an application please get in touch with us via email

Before you start your application, please make sure you have the following information:

  • Name, email address, country, telephone number and social media handles

  • Your art form area

  • About your photography practice (max 300 words) either as written text or as recorded audio or video

  • About the artworks you are submitting and how they relate to the theme (max 300 words) as written text or as recorded audio or video

  • Website link: optional 

  • Submit upto 5 artworks.  Note you can submit one, two or three based on your preference and artworks do not need to be from the same series.

  • Complete the agreement by reading and ticking the terms and conditions

  • The first part of the selection process will be undertaken by curator Sebah Chaudhry. The final awards will be decided by a panel led by the curator and a panel composed of  judges who are experienced in the field of visual arts.

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The Curator

Sebah Chaudhry

Sebah is a Freelance Creative Producer and Curator. She is experienced in working at international world class festivals, projects and events. She is Co-Founder and Co-Director of ReFramed, a photographic based visual arts network based in the Midlands, supporting the community and artists who are Black, Asian, or from other ethnic minorities. She is currently Project Coordinator of Picturing England’s High Streets, a Historic England funded project managed by Photoworks.

She was previously Creative Producer on an international British Council funded project with Ffotogallery, The Place I Call Home, connecting the UK to the Gulf region, culminating in 10 exhibitions from September 2019 — March 2020 in 7 countries.


From 2013 — 2017, Sebah was Coordinator at FORMAT Festival, the UK’s largest contemporary photography festival. She still works as a freelancer for FORMAT, organising the UK’s largest annual portfolio review. She also manages the Belfast Photo Festival Portfolio Review.

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Sebah reviews portfolios internationally and mentors artists. She is on the selection panel for the RPS IPE 163 Open Call and the BJP Portrait of Britain 2021. Currently UK editor for, Berlin, Steering Group member for FORMAT Festival, Derby and Board Member, Redeye Photography Network, Manchester.The first part of the selection process will be undertaken by curator Sebah Chaudhry. The final awards will be decided by a panel led by the curator and a panel composed of  judges who are experienced in the field of visual arts.

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The Jury

Cindy Sissokoho

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Cindy (b. Montreuil/France) is a cultural producer, curator and writer with a specific interest in intellectual, political and artistic aspects of decoloniality within the arts, and culture. Her work is nurtured by the urgency to broadening and disseminating epistemologies and new cultural production from the Global South.


She currently works as a Curator and Special Projects Producer at the New Art Exchange in Nottingham (UK).

Louise Fedotov-Clements

Louise has been the Artistic Director of QUAD since 2001, and the Director of FORMAT, which she co-founded in 2004. An independent curator since 1998 directing commissions, publications, performances and exhibitions.

Guest Curator for international exhibitions/festivals including Dong Gang (Yeongwol) South Korea; Photoquai Biennale Musée du quai Branly Paris; Les Rencontres Arles, Discoveries; Dali Photo, China; Poikkeustila 2020 Finland; Venice Biennale EM15; Photo Beijing, and LishuiPhoto China; Korea International Photo Festival. An international awards advisor, she has contributed to numerous publications as producer/writer/Editorial Team and a juror, portfolio reviewer, speaker in Europe, America, Africa & Asia.

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Mónica Alcázar-Duarte


Mónica is a Mexican-British multi-disciplinary visual artist whose work acknowledges her indigenous heritage while exploring current ideals of progress. She embraces themes related to science and technology and their influence over society and the natural world.  In her projects she mixes images and new technologies, such as Augmented Reality, to create multi-layered work, producing meaning through seemingly disconnected narratives. Alcazar-Duarte’s work confronts our obsession with speed and infinite growth on a planet crying out for us to slow down. 

Her work has been exhibited and collected throughout Europe, Mexico and the United States. 

Niamh Treacy

Niamh is the coordinator for FORMAT International Photography Festival. She has reviewed for international portfolio reviews such as Belfast Photography Festival and Uganda Press Photo. She is part of the FORMAT curatorial team and has curated shows for FORMAT and internationally such as Dali International Photo Exhibition and Lishui Photo Festival.

Niamh holds a BA in Photography from the University of Derby and is a graduate of the MA Fine Art course at Central Saint Martins.


Rabbania Shirjeel

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Over the last 6 years, Rabbania has worked as an artist, curator, educator in Pakistan. She completed her master’s in Art and Design from Beaconhouse National University in 2020 working on subjects like idea of home, migration, Partition 1947, and collective memory. Being the only Pakistani to have an honors degree in Photography, the idea of limiting to a single medium or working with specific interests is unfamiliar to her. She is interested in community building and expanding critical discourse on south Asian contemporary photography through exhibitions, residencies and panel talks. She has curated several exhibitions and residencies and contributed to the Pakistani Photography scene at large. Rabbania is now one of the 9 participants from South Asia for a photo project “New waves of documentary” under Pathshala South Asian Media Institute.

Tanvi Mishra

Tanvi works with images as a photo editor, curator, and writer, based in New Delhi, India. Among her interests are South Asian visual histories, peoples’ movements as well as the notion of fiction in photography, particularly in the current political landscape.

Until recently, she was the Creative Director of The Caravan, a journal of politics and culture published out of Delhi. She is part of the photo-editorial team of PIX, a South Asian publication and display practice. She works as an independent curator and has been part of the curatorial teams of Photo Kathmandu and Delhi Photo Festival, as well as the upcoming Breda Photo. Her writing on photography has been published in various platforms including Aperture, FOAM and The Caravan. She has served on multiple juries, including World Press Photo, Hindu Photojournalism Awards and the Catchlight grant. She has also been a curatorial collaborator for the Greenpeace Photo Award and a mentor for the Women Photograph program. She is one of four members of the first advisory board of World Press Photo.