Contemporary Image Collective (CIC) was founded in 2004 in Cairo out of the city’s lack of any real space for the development of the visual, artistic and cultural sector.
Maha Maamoun, Thomas Hartwell, Rana El Nemr, Paul Ayoub-Geday and Heba Farid, professionals who shared a visual arts and communication background, came together and set up an independent, non-profit initiative with the purpose of establishing an effective visual media landscape in Egypt.
Since all of the founding members were in one way or another connected to visual arts, CIC took a particular interest in the place and role that the photographic image has in society and media. It set up a photography school where the CIC staff does not only focus on technical training, but also on developing the students’ critical discourse on visual culture. It also encourages their students to communicate information and express ideas via visual arts.
As no universities in Egypt have either a minor or a major in photography, CIC fills quite a big gap.
“[CIC] was born out of need for and lack of resources in the visual arts field,” says Mohammed Abdallah, CIC’s financial and operations manager.
Apart from specialized classes CIC also runs various programs and workshops that focus on different topics, from book launches to art exhibitions and symposiums.
The Image Collective’s latest project revolves around photojournalism. CIC, in collaboration with Pathshala South Asian Media Institute in Bangladesh and the Oslo and Akershus University College in Norway, have launched The Reportage Project and are currently calling for applications.
The project will host 10 students from Bangladesh, 10 students from Norway and 10 young Egyptian photographers, who are newspaper employees, freelancers, or just dedicated students.
“It’s basically made up of academic courses in visual storytelling; it’s an alternative means of education in photojournalism,” said Abdallah about The Reportage Project.
“Through this project CIC is creating learning opportunities for people who already work in the media field, but it’s not just about learning, it also promotes mentorship programs,” Abdallah added.
The project will unfold in Egypt, this being the first time that such an endeavour is hosted by a MENA country.
The reportage project seeks to enhance students’ knowledge on visual storytelling, story pitching and planning for a successful news story, which covers all angles.
Even if you don’t have a background in photojournalism, but you think you’re up for the job, don’t hesitate to apply.
“The portfolio that candidates present is more important that the experience they have,” said Abdallah.
This program is fully funded and all attendees are compensated for their research costs. Hurry up and apply if you are an Egyptian national residing in Egypt; the deadline is 7 January 2013.