Council on Latin American and Iberian Studies

“Reflections on Research”: CLAIS+ESC Photo & Essay Prize

As we all adjust to life in a pandemic and its aftermath, we grow more aware of what gives our research meaning. The larger questions we ask in our work—questions about languages, cultures, and different socio-political systems—seem more urgent as we try to make sense of what unites and divides us in this unprecedented time. Yet, with library closures and restrictions on travel, many of us are facing additional barriers to our normal practices as scholars. Without access to the sites, archives and communities that fuel our work, how can we continue to make contributions with our projects? 

The Council on Latin American & Iberian Studies (CLAIS) and the European Studies Council (ESC) invite submissions for a new photo and essay contest on the theme, “Reflections on Research.” How have you, as young scholars, continued with your research? How have you adapted your working practices to this situation? Have you found a new intellectual community via remote channels? Have you drawn from material collected abroad at a previous time, and reworked it to fit into your project? Have you had any unexpected realizations about your research topic that have reenergized your dissertation? It is an undeniable challenge to study foreign cultures while in lockdown—have you struggled, thrived, or both? These questions are intended to serve as a launch pad, and other topics related to the theme “Reflections on Research” are welcome. Click here to submit an entry for the CLAIS/ESC Photo and Essay Prize.


First Place: $400 

Second Place: $250 

Third Place: $100 

All prizes are considered taxable income and are subject to tax withholding.

The exhibit will be launched virtually on Tuesday, October 20, 2020. 

Submissions are due before October 5, 2020.

Prize Rules

The contest is open to all Yale University students (both undergraduate and graduate/professional school students). Priority will be given to students who are a part of the CLAIS Graduate & Professional Student Network or the ESC Graduate Fellows Network, or who have received funding from CLAIS or ESC. 

Submissions may consist of a) a photograph or series of photographs with captions or small comments OR b) a full text essay (250-500 words) illustrated with a few photographs. 

The photos submitted should be in high resolution and .jpg format. 

The submissions must be original, and taken or written by the student. The submissions should relate to research and/or academic travel while the student was in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Europe (including Eurasia and Russia). Note that you are welcome to submit photos-essays in the timeframe of 2018 through 2020. Photos can be research/travel photos while abroad conducting research or more reflective and/or artistic photos related to your process around conducting research during this pandemic time in 2020. 

If you are submitting photo(s) or an essay, in addition to submitting the photo-essay, each applicant will be asked to provide the following information: 

  • First and Last Name 
  • Class Year
  • Major/Field of Study
  • Residential College, Professional School, or Graduate Program 
  • University email address 
  • The term during which the photo was taken (i.e. Summer 2019) 
  • The name of the country and city or town where the student took the photo (i.e. Zaragoza, Spain) 

Submissions will be judged by a committee of CLAIS & ESC faculty and staff. 

The exhibit will be launched virtually on Tuesday, October 20, 2020. 

Submissions are due before October 5, 2020. 

All decisions are final. Selected photo and essays from all submissions may be printed and displayed publicly in Henry R. Luce Hall (34 Hillhouse Avenue). 

By submitting your photo-essay to the CLAIS-ESC Photo and Essay Prize, you attest that: 

· You are the only author of your work and that it is your original work 

· You are the sole copyright holder 

· You have not licensed any rights in the work that will conflict with the usage rights required by Yale University. 

By submitting to this contest, you consent to the following: 

I grant to Yale University (“Yale”) the right to copy, reproduce, distribute, transmit, broadcast, exhibit, display, edit, or otherwise use my photograph, my name, and biographical information for educational, promotional, or other purposes that support Yale’s mission. I understand that these rights are granted to Yale and may be used in whole or in part without compensation. 

I affirm that the subjects in my photo have agreed that their likenesses may be used in accordance with the terms and conditions of this contest as listed above.


To be eligible for this competition, each participant must be a current Undergraduate and Graduate or Professional School student who conducted academic activities or research in Latin America, the Caribbean, or Europe (including Eurasia and Russia) while at Yale.

Judging Criteria

Winners will be selected based on the following: 

Photo and essays will be judged on the artistic merit, writing style, visual appeal, technical execution, and overall impression. A special emphasis will be placed on the way in which the textual and visual media interact within the piece, and the degree to which each medium conveys the student’s experiences. 

Photos will be evaluated “as submitted” for the purpose of the contest. However, Yale University reserves the right to resize the picture as needed for printing and display.