GradFoto 2020

The Ballarat International Foto Biennale is thrilled to present our inaugural GradFoto 2020. This award celebrates the artistic excellence of graduating students, open to emerging contemporary artists from selected institutions whose artistic practice includes photography. GradFoto 2020 will showcase the high calibre of photographic work by up and coming graduates to new audiences across Australia and beyond, creating connections for them as they begin their artistic careers.

All applicants will have their submissions reviewed by a carefully selected judging panel. Up to 20 finalists will be selected and have their work exhibited online in the GradFoto 2020 exhibition. Judges will award one cash prize of AUD $500 to the overall winner. Another finalist will be awarded one cash prize of AUD $200 for the People’s Choice Award, as voted by the public throughout the GradFoto 2020 exhibition.

All graduating students from the following institutions are eligible to apply:

  1. Charles Sturt University
  2. Deakin University
  3. Federation University Australia
  4. LCI Melbourne
  5. Monash University
  6. National Art School
  7. Photography Studies College
  8. RMIT University
  9. Swinburne University of Technology
  10. University of New South Wales
  11. University of Tasmania
  12. University of Wollongong
  13. Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne

Entries will be judged by:


Zoë Croggon is a Melbourne-based photographic artist holding a Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honours from the Victorian College of the Arts. She has recently held solo exhibitions at the National Gallery of Victoria, Gertrude Contemporary, Centre for Contemporary Photography and Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery and has participated in group exhibitions at Heide Museum of Art, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Samstag Museum of Art and Monash Gallery of Art.

She is the recipient of the Maddocks Prize (2019), Art Gallery of New South Wales Studio Scholarship (2018), Asia-Pacific Photobook Prize (2015) and the ARTAND Australia Contemporary Art Award (2014). Zoë is represented by Daine Singer, Melbourne.


Charlotte Day is the Director of Monash University Museum of Art | MUMA and has led the artistic program and strategic development of the museum since 2013. Previously Charlotte worked as an independent curator and was associate curator at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) working on major installations by international and local artists.

Charlotte has worked across a range of public and private contexts, from advising on acquisitions of works for public and private collections, including the Michael Buxton Collection of Contemporary Art, to curating Australia’s Pavilions for the 2005 and 2007 Venice Biennales, the Tarrawarra Biennial in 2009, and co-curating the Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art in 2010. Charlotte has over twenty-five years of experience in curating and in arts management, having held positions of Director and Acting Director respectively at two of Melbourne's leading contemporary art spaces, the Centre for Contemporary Photography and Gertrude Contemporary.


Mark Feary is the Artistic Director at Gertrude Contemporary. He has worked within the visual art sector for two decades in a range of contemporary art centres, universities, museums and artist-led initiatives, with curatorial and programming roles at the Michael Buxton Collection, Melbourne; Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney; Artspace, Sydney; Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography; Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne; and West Space, Melbourne.


Bridie Flynn is a Senior Librarian, in the Victorian & Australian Collections at State Library Victoria. She has 14 years experience working with the Pictures Collection, which is predominately photographic formats. Her curatorial work focusses on ensuring the continual growth and diversity of the Library’s original collections.

Bridie has a keen interest in digital archive practices around born-digital visual media and the digital preservation needed to secure this content for future users. She presented on her work in this field at the VALA2020 conference: Libraries, Technology and the Future.

She is currently working on two photographic acquisition projects for the Library in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Memory Bank, comprising prompted submissions from Victorians about their personal and local experience, and Photographing the Pandemic, a project redeploying library staff working from home to document the visual evidence of their changed environment.


Wendy is Exhibitions Manager and Curator of Australian Art at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. She has over 20 years experience in curatorial roles in museums and galleries and has curated over 30 exhibitions including single artist survey exhibitions, group shows, touring and award exhibitions.

She holds a doctorate from the University of Melbourne together with a Masters of Arts research degree and her writing and research interests focus on contemporary Australian art and photography. She is President of the Art Association of Australia and New Zealand.


Ponch Hawkes is a leading Australian photographic artist. Described in the September issue of ARTLINK as “feminist photographer legend Ponch Hawkes”, she has long chronicled the social, cultural and political scene in Australia. Ponch is a long-time member of Circus Oz and the MAPgroup. Her work is represented in the Australian National Gallery, the National Gallery of Victoria and in collections in Australia and overseas. She has also published several books.

The Monash Gallery of Art is currently showing the exhibition Lay Down Your Head (now online). This work addresses the growing problem of women’s homelessness in the suburbs. Also online is her Changing Faces exhibition – 171 portraits of women (wearing beards and moustaches) replacing the bearded burghers in the Bayside City Council Chambers. In March 2021, the Flesh After Fifty exhibition with Ponch’s photographs of 500 women over 50 naked will open at the Abbotsford Convent. Recently Ponch has been one of the elders in her series, Sex and Death – The Internet, made for the Darwin Festival.

Image Credit: Stephen McKenzie


Rachel Kent is the Chief Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA). She has presented exhibitions in Australia and New Zealand, Japan, the United States and Canada. She speaks and publishes widely on contemporary art and curatorial practice, and sits on advisory and editorial panels at the University of Sydney and other arts organisations.

Rachel has worked with leading international and Australian artists at the Museum, and curated the inaugural programs for the new MCA Australia building in 2012, including Christian Marclay: The Clock and the thematic survey Marking Time, which featured works across artistic media, sound and performance that explored notions of duration and deep universal time.

She has curated major solo surveys for the MCA and international touring projects with Ed Ruscha (2004), Yinka Shonibare MBE (2008), Yoko Ono (2013), Wangechi Mutu (2013), Annette Messager (2014), Grayson Perry (2015), Tatsuo Miyajima (2016) and Kader Attia (2017–2018).

Rachel is a jurist for the 2020-2021 Artes Mundi 9 Biennial exhibition and prize, Cardiff, Wales. She recently presented a major retrospective by the British artist Cornelia Parker, for the 2019/2020 Sydney International Art Series. She is also preparing a major survey exhibition by the American artist Doug Aitken, for the Sydney International Art Series, opening at the MCA in Summer 2020.


David Rosetzky is a Melbourne based artist and educator with an interdisciplinary and collaborative approach to art making. Often working with practitioners from the fields of theatre, dance, and film – he creates videos, installations and photographic works in which identity is intimately observed.

With an extensive exhibition history both in Australia and overseas, he has presented his work in over 30 solo exhibitions and 60 group exhibitions. Rosetzky’s ‘Portrait of Cate Blanchett’ (2008) was exhibited in The Third ICP Triennial of Photography and Video at the International Centre for Photography in New York. In 2005 he was awarded the Anne Landa Award for the Moving Image.

Rosetzky’s recent projects include Being Ourselves (2020) at the Monash Gallery of Art, Melbourne, commissioned as part of Portrait of Monash: the ties that bind, and Composite Acts (2019) commissioned by Channels International Biennial of Video Art, Melbourne. In 2014 the Centre for Contemporary Photography curated the survey exhibition True Self: David Rosetzky Selected Works, which toured nationally. His works are held in numerous collections including The National Gallery of Victoria, The National Gallery of Australia, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of South Australia, Art Gallery of Western Australia, and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney. David has a PhD in Visual Art from Monash University and currently teaches in the Master of Photography program at RMIT University.

Image Credit: Peter Rosetzky


Madé Spencer-Castle is an independent curator based in Naarm/Melbourne. He was the Curator of Exhibitions at the Centre for Contemporary Photography (CCP) between 2018–2020, the Gallery Curator at Bus Projects (2015–2018), and the Founder and Co-Director of DUDSPACE (2012–2015).

Recent curatorial projects include ‘Sam Petersen: My Pee is Political’, Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney (2020); ‘Why Take Pictures?’ and ‘Image Reader’, CCP, Melbourne (2019); 'Queer Economies' co-curated with Abbra Kotlarczyck and presented with Midsumma Festival in association with Abbotsford Convent, Bus Projects and CCP, Melbourne (2019); ‘Architecture Makes Us: Cinematic Visions of Sonia Leber and David Chesworth’ co-curated with Naomi Cass and Pippa Milne, CCP, Melbourne (2018) and touring to University of New South Wales Galleries, Sydney (2019) and Griffith University Museum of Art, Brisbane (2019); 'In Bloom', co-curated with Jeremy Eaton, SPRING1883 Art Fair, The Hotel Windsor (2018); ‘Robyn McKinnon: Disappearing into Being’, Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston (2018); the six-part 'With Compliments' series, Bus Projects, Melbourne (2016–2018) and 'These Economies', Sydney Contemporary, Carriageworks, Sydney (2015).


A prominent and highly respected arts director and curator, Fiona Sweet is renowned for inspiring and intelligent delivery of uniquely curated festivals and exhibitions. Currently, Fiona is the Creative Director of the Ballarat International Foto Biennale, Australia’s leading contemporary photographic event.

Held every two years, the Biennale is a 60-day festival delivering a dynamic program of two major photographic exhibition streams: a curated Core Program showcasing acclaimed domestic and international artists and Open Program that fosters the development of new artists. Fiona is also the Director at the National Centre For Photography, Australia’s newest and only regional gallery dedicated exclusively to photography.

In 2017, her inaugural year as Creative Director, the Biennale drew an audience of over 26,800, contributing an economic impact of $3.89 million to the local economy with the celebrated American artist David LaChappelle as the headline artist.

Fiona’s directorship of the 2019 Biennale was responsible for more than 37,000 visitors with an injection of $7.8 million into the city’s economy. Her fourth year working with incredible artists and curators, the festival prompted audiences to question, explore and be changed by art. She successfully invited Chinese artist Liu Bolin as the headline artist, exhibiting his Camouflage series – highlighting critical works from the past 15 years of Bolin’s creative output.

As a curator, her interest lies in the interdisciplinary and experimental approaches to the photographic medium. Fiona’s practise often investigates the intersections between the human body and the human psyche and its response to shifting societal perspectives, power dynamics and challenges.

Fiona is an influential and in-demand public speaker, industry judge, photographic portfolio reviewer and assessor in Australia and internationally. The recipient of many prestigious design awards, Fiona was the Director and Founder of Sweet Creative and former Board Director of the Australian Graphic Design Association. Fiona was the recipient of an Ian Potter Foundation Travel Grant in 2018 for her research on international art festival best practice.

Entries for the GradFoto 2020 award are now closed.

Stay tuned for the GradFoto 2020 online exhibition, where we will announce and exhibit the award's finalists and overall winner on the 21st January 2021.