Capturing intercultural encounters on your street is the challenge laid down by the European Commission to all European residents. An EU-wide competition is inviting everyone with a camera and a sense of curiosity to submit their snapshot of how cultures meet and mix at local level in this diverse continent. The initiative is part of the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue 2008, which aims to foster and explore diversity and common values in the increasingly open and complex cultural environment of the European Union. Now, the Commission has announced the illustrious jury panel that will be selecting the winners.
Until 30th June, everyone across the EU's 27 Member States, young and old, amateur and professional, have the chance to shoot and share their vision of what intercultural dialogue really means at a personal level. The only condition is that the photo depicts intercultural dialogue. The competition, entitled Cultures on my Street, will be judged by some of Europe's most well known photographers and film-makers, and prizes worth 15,000 euros await the winners.
The jury will feature Romanian-born French film director and screenwriter Radu Mihaileanu; Indian-born Stern magazine photo journalist Jay Ullal from Germany; French photographer Charles Fréger; Hungarian-born writer and photographer Zsuzsanna Ardó from England; Dutch-Turkish photographer Ahmet Polat; and Finnish freelancer photographer Arja Hyytiäinen living in Paris and Berlin.
As Jay Ullal, one of the jury members, commented, initiatives like this are very welcome in today's intercultural Europe: "I have lived in Europe since 1963 and learned that people with different cultural backgrounds are now dealing more and more tolerantly with each other. It seems that they understand the opportunities that intercultural learning can provide. Of course the idea of intercultural learning has to be spread even more and that's why I believe that the photo competition is worthwhile and appropriate. Photos can tell the best stories and everybody can understand them - without language."
Entries can be uploaded until 30th June on the special competition website - where all other details can be found on how to take part. Entrants are completely free to depict intercultural dialogue how they choose - education or religion, science or culture, migration or minorities, or simply examples they find in everyday life. Four winners will be selected - including one by online voting on the competition website.
The prizes, high-quality camera equipment and trips to European capitals, will be awarded at a ceremony in Brussels on 25th September. Winning and short-listed photos will also be shown across Europe, in publicity material to help break down communication barriers and foster cultural diversity, and in a travelling exhibition.
"Intercultural dialogue pushes us to look beyond our own fixed boundaries of reality and inspires us to focus on our similarities instead of our differences." - Ahmet Polat, jury member.
"Photography frames reality - it records extracts of dialogue. In its visual, universal language, it communicates the patterns of similarity as well as layers of contrast." - Zsuzsanna Ardó, jury member.
For more information about the competition, please click here.