The Urban China Initiative Calls For Photographic Submissions

Urban China Initiative Photo Contest 2015

June 08, 2015

Urban China Initiative Photo Contest 2015

Changing City, Unchanging Memory – Portraying China’s Urbanization

Humanity has never witnessed a scale of urbanization as fast and intense as China’s. What could possibly remain unchanged by the twists and turns of such rapid urban upheaval? Perhaps an ancient alleyway in a forgotten Hutong? Or maybe a rusty bicycle in a slum, reminiscent of a China decades ago?

The Urban China Initiative (UCI) is organizing the UCI Photo Contest 2015 in the hope that it encourages both professional photographers and hobbyists to capture the stories behind China’s urbanization with thought-provoking images.

UCI is a partnership between Columbia University, Tsinghua University and McKinsey & Company. It aims to establish a think-tank with the express mission of finding and implementing effective solutions to China’s urbanization challenge. We believe that photographs of the enduring “memories” in China’s urban renewal are the best way to record the battle between old and new in China’s urban sprawls. Angles may include but are not limited to:

  • The confrontation between human-based development and economic development: do urbanites have to conform to a one-size-fits-all model of urban development? How can cities accommodate to the needs of a diverse population?
  • The clash between traditional lifestyles and contemporary urban culture: should city-dwellers march with modernity, or stroll in the park and enjoy a slower pace of life?
  • The juxtaposition of towering skyscrapers and traditional homes: can they co-exist? Can modern super-structures complement ancient architecture?

Photographs will be entered in three categories: people, places and creativity and the prize winners will receive RMB 200 to RMB 4,000 along with other awards.

To participate in the contest, please email us by August 31th, 2015 at with your:

1) Application Form

2) Attached Photography Work


Host: The Urban China Initiative

Co-organizer: Image China of the China Photographer’s Association Media support: China Photographer’s Association, Photo Inter of the CPA

Rules and Requirements:

1. Eligibility

Both professional photographers and hobbyists can attend the competition free-of-charge; No restrictions on age or nationality.

2. Winning entries and contest incentives

A. Category and numbers of winning entries

The competition will be divided into three categories: people, places, and creativity. Each category will have one gold prize winner, two silver prize winners, and two bronze prize winners. In addition, the jury will select the outstanding photographs of 10 finalists.

B. Main awards

Gold prize: RMB 4,000

Silver prize: RMB 3,000

Bronze price: RMB 2,000

Top 10 finalists: RMB 200

C. Other awards

i. Gain an honorary certificate by the competition’s organizing committee.

ii. Price winners’ photographs will be displayed at the UCI photo exhibition.

iii. Prize winners will have the opportunity to have their images published as part of UCI research publications.

3. Submission

A. Deadline

All photographs must be submitted by 31st of August, 2015, via email to

B. Notice of Information about the Photograph’s

i. Images must be taken within China

ii. There are no restrictions on when the photographs have been taken.

iii. Participants may submit either 1) 30 stand-alone photographs , 2) 5 sets of photographs(each set has no more than 6 photographs) iv. The length or width of each photograph may not exceed 2,000 pixels.

v. For each image submitted, please use a file name as “category (People/ Places/ Creativity) + image title + photographer’s name”, and attached the Application Form.

4. Inquiry

Please send email to, or call +86 (10) 85254931. For more information, please read UCI 2015 Photo Contest Announcement.