People’s Choice voting

GradFoto 2021

The Ballarat International Foto Biennale is thrilled to present GradFoto 2021. This award celebrates the artistic excellence of graduating students, open to emerging contemporary artists from selected institutions whose artistic practice includes photography. Following its inaugural launch in 2020, GradFoto 2021 will continue to 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 distinguished judging panel. Up to 20 finalists will be selected and have their work exhibited online in the GradFoto 2021 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 2021 Exhibition.

GradFoto 2020 Winner
Shuran Yang, Hedgehog Family 1, 2020
Graduate from RMIT University

View the GradFoto 2020 Exhibition online gallery.

All graduating students from the following institutions in 2021 are eligible to apply:

  1. Charles Darwin University
  2. Charles Sturt University
  3. Deakin University
  4. Edith Cowan University
  5. Federation University Australia
  6. LCI Melbourne
  7. Monash University
  8. Murdoch University
  9. National Art School
  10. Oxygen College
  11. Photography Studies College
  12. RMIT University
  13. Swinburne University of Technology
  14. TAFE New South Wales
  15. University of New South Wales
  16. University of Tasmania
  17. University of Wollongong
  18. Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne
  19. Whitehouse Institute of Design

Key Dates

Applications Open: Now
Applications Close: 17 December 2021, 11.59PM AEDT
Finalists Contacted: 18 January 2022
Online Exhibition and Winner Announced: 16 February 2022


The Ballarat International Foto Biennale GradFoto 2021 is open to all tertiary-level graduates from selected institutions aged 18 and over, living in Australia. The submitted series must:

  1. Be a series of photographic works that have been substantially produced by photographic means, including analogue and digital photography, collage and mixed media
  2. Be accompanied by an artistic rationale
  3. Be comprised of 1-20 images
  4. Be a finished project
  5. Have been executed and/or resolved within the graduate year leading up to the deadline for submissions, that is after 1 January 2021

Best of luck to all graduates!


Daniel Mudie Cunningham

Dr Daniel Mudie Cunningham is Director of Programs at Carriageworks. Daniel has worked as a curator, writer and artist for more than two decades. He has held curatorial roles at Artbank and Hazelhurst Art Gallery, and teaching and research positions at Western Sydney University, where he completed his PhD in cultural studies in 2004. Daniel is a widely published arts writer, editor and cultural critic with a focus on contemporary Australian art practice.

Notable recent projects include curating The National 2019: New Australian Art at Carriageworks and Space YZ at Campbelltown Arts Centre in 2021; initiating the Katthy Cavaliere Fellowship which partnered Carriageworks with ACCA and Mona; and leading the curatorial delivery of a major public art strategy tied to the redevelopment of Sydney’s South Eveleigh precinct with artists Jonathan Jones, Chris Fox and Nell.

Image Credit: Zan Wimberley

Alasdair Foster

Dr. Alasdair Foster is a writer, researcher and award-winning curator who works worldwide, especially in Asia and Latin America. He is Ambassador to the Asia-Pacific PhotoForum and publisher of Talking Pictures – interviews with photographers around the world. He has twenty years’ experience heading national arts institutions in Europe and Australia, and over thirty-five years of working in the public cultural sector. He was previously director of the Australian Centre for Photography (1998–2011) and founding director of Fotofeis, the award-winning international festival of photo-based art in Scotland (1991–1997), the largest photographic event in Europe in the 1990s. He has served as managing editor of Photofile magazine (1998–2009), president of the Contemporary Arts Organisations of Australia and Chairman of the Conference for European Photographers.

Alasdair has curated several hundred exhibitions in Europe and Oceania and, further afield, in countries as diverse as Bangladesh, China, Colombia, Dubai, Guatemala, Russia and Singapore. He has written extensively on photography for books, journals and periodicals in many parts of the world, and sat on the selection panel for many photographic awards nationally and internationally.

Alasdair Foster is currently Professor of Culture in Community Wellbeing in the School of Public Health at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, and Adjunct Professor in the School of Art of RMIT University, Melbourne.

Sunyoung Kim

Since 2010, Sunyoung Kim has been working for The Museum of Photography, Seoul(MoPS) as Curator in charge of exhibitions and international relations. Kim graduated with a Bachelor of Creative Arts at The University of Melbourne, and received her M.A. in Art Theory from Korea National University of Arts.

Kim served as a juror and portfolio reviewer in various platforms of International photography world, and acted as co-curator for Jimei x Arles International Photo Festival 2019, 2018 respectively. Recently organized a show, titled The Centennial of Korean art photography 1920-2020, shown at The State Russian Museum and Exhibition Centre (ROSPHOTO) and scheduled to be presented in The Lithuanian National Museum of Art in 2022. KIM has been responsible for MoPS Talented Portfolio, the portfolio open call for Korean young talented artists in their 30s and 40s since 2015. This program purposes to invigorate diverse collaborations between artists and museum to encourage artists to pursue their professional career. She co-published the book Performance, Politics of Body: Criticism and Meta Criticism.

Talia Linz

Talia Linz is Curator at Artspace, Sydney, working with artists across generations on major exhibitions, new commissions, multi-platform projects, public programs and publications. She was previously the Nick Waterlow OAM Curatorial Fellow at the Biennale of Sydney, Executive Producer of Arts and Culture at FBi Radio 94.5FM and Assistant Editor at Art & Australia.

She has published widely on contemporary art for institutions including the National Gallery of Australia, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Biennale of Sydney, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Kaldor Public Art Projects and Hatje Cantz. She is currently one of the curators for rīvus, 23rd Biennale of Sydney, 2022.

Pippa Milne

Pippa Milne is a writer and curator based in Melbourne. She is the Senior Curator at Monash Gallery of Art, Melbourne and has been working with photography since 2011. She was previously Curator at the Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne and Associate Curator of International Art at Queensland Art Gallery / Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane.

Recent exhibitions Pippa has curated include Not standing still: new approaches in documentary photography (2021), Bill Henson: The light fades but the gods remain (2019), Architecture Makes Us: Cinematic Visions of Sonia Leber and David Chesworth (2018) (co-curated with Naomi Cass and Made Spencer Castle) and An unorthodox flow of images (co-curated with Naomi Cass) (2017). Pippa is a regular contributor to publications and institutions in Australia and New Zealand and has been a nominator for various prizes including ICP Infinity Award and Prix Pictet.

Talia Smith

Talia Smith is an artist and curator from Aotearoa, New Zealand and based in Warrang, Sydney. She is of Cook Island, Samoan and New Zealand European heritage. Her artistic and curatorial practice explores time, memory and familial histories with a focus on time based practices. Smith is currently researching and creating an archive of Moana heritage video and moving image artists which saw its first exhibition and publication presented at Artspace Sydney in 2019.

She has curated exhibitions at various institutions in Australia and New Zealand such as the churchie emerging art prize at IMA Brisbane, In a World of Wounds at Artbank Sydney, Here is your Horizon at Cement Fondu, More than all the Ocean between us at Artspace Sydney and The Shape of Memory at The Lock-up Newcastle among others. She was the emerging curator at Firstdraft in 2017, Artbank’s emerging curator in 2018 and participated in 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art’s curatorial intensive in 2016 and was named one of Art Collector’s ‘tastemakers’ for their 2018 ’50 things you should know’ issue.

Smith’s writing has appeared in various publications and catalogue essays such as VAULT Magazine, Art Almanac and Running Dog. In 2020 she completed a two month curatorial residency at Basis in Frankfurt, Germany and has recently completed her Masters of Fine Arts (Research) at UNSW, Sydney. She currently works as the curator at Granville Centre Art Gallery in Sydney.

Madé Spencer-Castle

Madé Spencer-Castle is a curator based in Naarm/Melbourne. He is the Associate Director at Neon Parc (2021–), and has held positions including as Curator of Exhibitions at the Centre for Contemporary Photography (2018–20); Gallery Curator at Bus Projects (2015–2018); and Associate Curator at Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery (2014–2018).

Recent curatorial projects include 'Tender gestures, loud voices', co-curated with Jeremy Eaton, Footscray Community Arts Centre, Melbourne (2021); 'Stimulus Package', City of Darebin Public Art Project (2021); 'Sam Petersen: My Pee is Political', Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney (2020); 'Why Take Pictures?' and 'Image Reader', Centre for Contemporary Photography (CCP), Melbourne (2019); 'Queer Economies' presented with Midsumma Festival with Abbotsford Convent, Bus Projects and CCP, Melbourne (2019); 'Architecture Makes Us', CCP, Melbourne (2018) and touring to UNSW 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).

Fiona Sweet

A prominent and highly respected Artistic Director, Fiona Sweet is renowned for inspiring and intelligent delivery of uniquely curated festivals and exhibitions. Currently, Fiona is the Artistic Director and CEO of the Ballarat International Foto Biennale, Australia’s leading contemporary photographic event. The Biennale delivers a dynamic program of two major photographic exhibition streams showcasing acclaimed Australian and international artists, while fostering the development of emerging and regional artists. 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.

Fiona is also the Director of the National Centre For Photography, Australia’s newest and only regional gallery dedicated exclusively to photography. As a curator, her interest lies in the interdisciplinary and experimental approaches to the photographic medium. Fiona is an influential and in-demand public speaker, industry judge, photographic portfolio reviewer and assessor in Australia and internationally.

David Wadelton

David Wadelton studied visual art at Preston and Phillip Institutes in Melbourne, graduating in 1976 and 1982 respectively. Since the early 1980s he has exhibited extensively throughout Australia with regular solo exhibitions at Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne, and 24 solo exhibitions since 1984.

Wadelton has been the subject of two career survey exhibitions; published artist’s books Suburban Baroque (with essay by Patrick Pound) in 2019, and Small Business (with essay by Natalie King) in 2020, (both published by M.33). In addition to his career as a visual artist, Wadelton has made significant contributions to the field of experimental music in Australia.

Entry Terms and Conditions

Entries for GradFoto 2021 have now closed. For all enquiries, please contact