BEARR Trust 30th anniversary: photography competition

“Side by Side”: celebrating 30 years of building connections and sharing understanding between communities

Deadline for submissions: Tuesday 1 June, 23:59 BST

Please note that this competition is now closed. You can see our online exhibition here. Thank yo to everyone who submitted photos!

2021 marks 30 years since BEARR was founded in Moscow to provide emergency aid following the collapse of the Soviet Union. To celebrate three decades of building connections and mutual support within Eastern Europe and Central Asia (the EECA region), BEARR is organising a photography competition on the theme “Side by Side“.

Submit your photos to be in with the chance of winning one of the £300 cash prizes available to three winners, or £30 plus a limited edition photography book for three runners-up. 20 chosen images will also feature in our online exhibition and future in-person exhibition in London!

Our expert panel of judges – including Nadia Beard, Editor-in-Chief of The Calvert Journal – are looking for creative, original images on the theme. Send us your photos celebrating community spirit, support and solidarity in the face of adversity. Everyone is eligible to enter, and your photos can be of any region of the world. We are particularly keen to see photos from budding photographers aged 18-years-old or under as well as photos by entrants from the EECA region and/or depicting the region.

The theme “Side by Side” reflects both BEARR’s support for civil society organisations (CSOs) within the EECA and the mutual learning this fosters, and the support provided by CSOs to vulnerable people in their communities. Additionally, as the Covid-19 pandemic has further isolated many vulnerable individuals, it has highlighted the need for solidarity and compassion in times of struggle. The theme for BEARR’s Small Grants Scheme this year, which is focused on projects to reduce social isolation, similarly reflects the impact of the pandemic.

Prizes and Exhibition

3 winners and 3 runners up will be selected by our expert judging panel within the following categories: a) main category, b) under 18-years-olds, and c) photos by entrants from the EECA region or depicting the EECA region.


  • 3 winners will receive £300 each
  • 3 runners-up will receive £30 plus a limited edition photography book
  • a selection of 20 of the judges’ favourite images will be chosen to feature in an online exhibition to mark BEARR’s 30th anniversary and an in-person exhibition in London.

One of the books is “We: photographs from Russia 1996 – 2017” by John Peter Askew, kindly donated by John himself and Pushkin House.  “We”, exhibited at Pushkin House in 2020, holds the idea that it is vital to tell stories where we represent our ‘best selves’ in the belief that we have the ability to become better versions of ourselves and envision a kinder world.

Two limited edition copies of “Invisible People of Belarus” are also up for grabs. “Invisible People of Belarus” is a photobook by one of our judges, Jadwiga Bronte, containing images accompanied by critical reflections and testimonies which documents the lives of disabled people and Chernobyl victims living in governmental institutions in Belarus.

Judging Panel

The following judges will make up the judging panel for the competition.

  • Nadia Beard is a journalist and pianist. She is the Editor in Chief of The Calvert Journal, and previously lived and worked in Russia where she was the Moscow correspondent for The Independent. Her work has appeared in The GuardianThe Telegraph and Reuters among several others.
  • Jadwiga Bronte is an award-winning social documentary photographer exploring relationships between human identity and politics through visual representation.
  • Emma Brown is an award-winning photographer shooting for a diverse range of creative agencies, ethical brands, charities, NGOs and more, to tell the stories of our modern world. In 2020, Emma worked on a BEARR-funded project between Olive Branch Arts UK and the Women’s Support Centre in Yerevan, Armenia, culminating in an exhibition – the Freedom Project, an exhibition of participants’ work.
  • Bridget Kendall MBE is the Master of Peterhouse College, Cambridge, a BEARR patron and journalist with a focus on Russia and the region.
  • Elyor Nematov is an award-winning photographer whose work focuses on storytelling in Russia and Central Asia.

Read more about the judges here.


The competition is open to all and each entrant can submit up to three photos to any one of the following categories:

  • main category
  • under 18-years-old
  • photos by entrants from the EECA region or depicting the EECA region

If you fall into more than category, please specify which you would like to submit your photo(s) to.

Deadline: Tuesday 1 June, 23:59 BST.

  • Please send your photo(s) to BEARR’s Information Officer, Louisa Long at with the subject “BEARR Photography Competition: [YOUR NAME]”.
  • Please provide a short title for each photo and a brief description of how it fits the theme (no more than 100 words per photo). You can write this in either English or Russian. The judges will be looking for creative and emotive interpretations of the Side by Side theme.
  • Use a phone, film camera, or digital camera.

Announcement of Winners

The winners and runners-up will be announced by email and social media, as well at an online prize announcement on Wednesday 16 June at 17.00 BST via Zoom. The judging panel and BEARR trustees will join the online event, and all entrants are warmly invited to attend. Details will be sent out nearer the time.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Louisa Long at

We are greatly looking forward to seeing your submissions! In the meantime, follow us on social media for more updates: FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

April 2021

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