National photo call puts human rights in focus for Canada 150

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News release details

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) has issued a national public call for photographs to be considered for a major exhibition marking Canada's 150th birthday in 2017.

Points of View, a national human rights photography exhibition, will use crowd‐sourced images to reflect themes in four categories – freedom of expression; inclusion and diversity; reconciliation; and human rights and the environment (see attached backgrounder). Photos for the exhibition will be chosen by a multidisciplinary jury and curated for display in the Museum's Level 1 Gallery.

"We want to create a powerful visual array that showcases many diverse perspectives and experiences of Canadians for our country's 150th anniversary," CMHR president and CEO John Young said. "Our featured themes will encourage images that are empowering and inspiring, that highlight human dignity, and that underscore the resilience, determination and hard work required to contribute promote human rights for all. They also reflect Canadians' ongoing efforts towards reconciliation between Indigenous and non‐Indigenous people."

Selected photos will be displayed in the juried exhibition and be eligible for cash awards in seven categories, ranging from $1,000 to $2,500. A jury comprised of human rights advocates and experts, artists and photojournalists will select the winners, except for one "People's Choice" award to be selected by viewers, online and in‐gallery, after the exhibition opens next summer. 

Submissions will be accepted until December 31, 2016 in two age categories: General and Youth (under 18). The images can be digital or film‐based, colour or black‐and‐white, taken with a camera or mobile device, and must be submitted electronically. Entrants must be residents of Canada. Complete rules, instructions and answers to frequently asked questions can be accessed through the CMHR website.

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is the first museum in the world solely dedicated to the evolution, celebration and future of human rights. It is the first national museum in Canada to be built outside the National Capital Region. Using multimedia technology and other innovative approaches, the Museum creates inspiring encounters with human rights appropriate for all ages, in a visitor experience unlike any other.


The CMHR is seeking photographs from across Canada that depict or inspire reflection and dialogue on:

  • Freedom of expression
    Images submitted under this category should provoke thought and conversation about the importance of freedom to express and receive opinions, beliefs and ideas. In considering and composing your photographs, consider the different forms that expression can take. Think about what happens when different opinions conflict, and ways that various forms of expression can be repressed or controlled. 
  • Inclusion and diversity
    Photographs considered for this category should reflect inclusion and diversity among people, communities or institutions. They might suggest what it looks like when everyone has an equal chance to participate in community life. They might provoke discussion about the ways that human rights are enhanced by inclusion and diversity, or the price we pay when they are ignored. Photos might also explore whether efforts at inclusion bring diverse groups into conflict. 
  • Reconciliation
    Photos in this category can relate to the process of reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, to the legacy of Indian Residential Schools, or to the aftermath of another human rights violation. Your images might pose questions about whether people who have been divided can live in harmony. Perhaps they will show how the legacy of past violations lives on in the present. Or you might try to reflect a relationship between remembering the past and coming together for the future. 
  • Human rights and the environment:
    Images entered under this theme should explore the relationship between human rights and environmental issues. Think about the connection between human rights and our planet's sustainability. Consider how a healthy environment contributes to human rights and what happens to human rights when environmental health is disregarded.

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Maureen Fitzhenry