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Past SPE Annual Conferences

Awards and Grants

SPE Awards + Grants

SPE has a longstanding tradition of recognizing, and inspiring the achievements of its members by offering annual scholarships, grants and awards. Awards are presented annually at the national conference.

Click here to view SPE's award history

SPE Honored Educator Award

The National Board of Directors of the Society for Photographic Education seeks nominations from the membership for the Honored Educator Award to be presented in March 2022 Online.

The criteria for selection of the Honored Educator are as follows:

• The recipient has made a significant contribution to the field of photographic education.

• The contribution to the field could be made through classroom teaching, writing, publishing, museum education, or other areas of professional practice in the field of photography.

• The recipient is a full-career educator. There is no specific requirement for the number of years in the field, but 15 years would generally be seen as a minimum.

• The recipient has been a member of SPE.

• To be considered for the Honored Educator Award, the educator must be nominated by a member of SPE.

Nominations should include a statement of nomination citing specifics about the educator's contributions to the field of photographic education (Max 500 words), and a CV/summary of the nominee's career.

Nomination Form:

SPE Insight Award

The Society for Photographic Education offers the SPE Insight Award to recognize achievements of
significant distinction made by individuals to the photographic education field. Measured from when
careers first begin, to days when standing ovations erupt spontaneously in lecture halls, SPE's Insight
Award symbolizes the realization of a national or international career or the launching of future
endeavors to new challenges, ideas, and horizons. Photographers (in the broadest sense of the word
today), as well as scholars, curators, writers, and visionaries—be their achievements rapid fire or
accumulated over time—are eligible for this mark of recognition and distinction.

The Insight Award is an honorary designation without monetary stipend granted annually to an SPE
member. (Membership is defined by five years of cumulative membership.) The Insight Award
recipient shall demonstrate excellence in two or more of the following ways:

• Innovative teaching
• Sustained mentoring of colleagues or students
• Broad contribution to technical, critical, pedagogical, or visual aspects of the field
• Breadth or depth of exhibition or publication
• Sustained presence in the field

The designation will be conferred with the calendar year (e.g. 2021 SPE Insight Award) in which it is
awarded. The honor carries no end date, and anyone so honored will be included in all subsequent
lists of Insight Awardees.

The award recipient will be selected by SPE's Board of Directors and announced at the annual
conference. Conference attendance is not a requirement to receive the award, though the winner will
be informed of the honor in advance.

Members of the organization's Board of Directors are not eligible to be nominated during their tenure
on the Board, but may nominate or provide support letters. Members of SPE's Awards and
Recognition Committee may not nominate nor provide support letters.

Nominations are accepted year round
Nomination form:

SPE Imagemaker Award

Recognition of excellence for the highest ranked annual conference proposal in the Imagemaker category, the SPE Imagemaker Award recipient receives a cash prize, plus a one-year membership to SPE and an annual conference pass. 

Thanks to a new partnership with PLAYA (a residency program in south central Oregon), SPE Imagemaker Award recipients will also be given the opportunity to do a one-month residency at PLAYA within the calendar year following receipt of the award.

Proposals accepted: March 6 - June 1

SPE International Conference Grant

SPE's International Conference Grant was established in 2014 (for implementation in 2015) as an incentive to foster international submissions and participation in SPE's annual conferences. The grant was created in recognition of the higher financial burden facing international members who wish to present at SPE's annual conference. This grant is awarded to the three highest-ranked international conference proposal submissions, regardless of presentation category, if selected by the conference committee to present at the conference. Up to six individuals may benefit from this grant program each year.

The conference grant awards a full registration fee waiver and a complimentary one-year membership to each recipient. The award has a value of $375 U.S.D.; equivalent to one conference ticket, currently $250, and a one-year international membership, currently $125.

Proposals accepted March 6 - June 1

Lauren Shrensel Zadikow Memorial Award

SPE is honored to announce the Lauren Shrensel Zadikow Memorial Award. The cash award of $500 supports an SPE member, at any stage of their career, to attend SPE's Annual Conference. Special consideration will be given to photographers working to counter social and/or environmental injustices. 

The Lauren Shrensel Zadikow Memorial Award is made possible through a gift by Sharon Shrensel and Charles Zadikow. The cash award is presented to the recipient at SPE's Annual Conference.

Application deadline: October 15 @ 11:59 PM EST

SPE Student Awards for Innovations in Imaging

All SPE student members are eligible to apply for a scholarship to offset the cost of attending SPE's annual conference. Awards are offered based on merits of submitted portfolios and include a travel stipend to attend the annual conference, an annual conference fee waiver, and a one-year membership to SPE. Jurors will seek to award work that demonstrates the most innovative and unique uses of photographic techniques. All lens-based technology is eligible (including video), as well as photo-based cameraless technologies.

LGBTQ Caucus Student Scholarship: The LGBTQ Caucus is pleased to announce a student scholarship available to LGBTQ student members. To be considered for this scholarship, please indicate your interest and eligibility in the Slideroom application. Support for the LGBTQ student scholarship was generously provided by Gay Block and an anonymous donor.

Application deadline: October 15 @ 11:59 PM EST

Third Shift Award

Are you a mother? Do you care for your partner or a parent? If so, we see you and want to celebrate the herculean effort it takes for you to keep making work. This $500 scholarship award is specifically aimed to recognize and honor SPE members who are full time students or employees, artists, and caregivers. Time and money are major obstacles for SPE members who need to secure child, partner, or eldercare in order to attend a four-day conference; and yet participating in an annual event like SPE can have a deep impact on someone's ability to cope with the responsibilities of working full time and caretaking while also trying to fulfill their artistic vision and develop community around their photographic practice. The cash award is presented to the recipient at SPE's Annual Conference.

Application deadline: October 15 @ 11:59 PM EST

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