Social Justice Photography Competition

Julia Stankiewicz wins the Grand Prize for the Social Justice Photography Competition 2018

The competition is part of the The University of Manchester's Ethical Grand Challenges programme which aims to help develop socially responsible graduates.

All undergraduate students at the university were invited to take part in the competition by submitting a photo and caption about an issue of social justice that matters to them.

A short list of 5 photos went through to a public vote on Instagram, Facebook and at an exhibition in University Place.

Over 2,800 students, staff and members of the public voted and the Grand Prize was awarded to Julia Stankiewicz from the School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering for her photo ‘Invisible.’

Grand Prize - Invisible by Julia Stankiewicz, School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering. £312. This is the amount of basic state pension of the women in the photo, only about 1/3 of average salary in Poland. Being almost fully blind, she is entitled to additional £44 per month. Low pensions force people like her to count every penny and provoke thoughts of being invisible to the rest of the society. Despite low pensions, the idea of Social Justice has strongly developed in Poland in recent years. Thanks to funds from European Union, blind people are now supported by different organisations that provide free food, Braille classes and equipment to aid in everyday activities. Elderly people were once working hard to enable our generation grow up in a free country and it is now our social responsibility to take care of them.

Second Place - Sunshine in Palestine by Alex Adetiba, School of Arts, Languages and Cultures. It’s easy to forget that life around the world doesn’t all tick in accordance with Britain’s. This is especially true in the recent persistent rain that has forced people indoors and into their heads. This photo – taken last summer in a Palestinian skatepark – should remind us of two things. First, that children bear no responsibility for the political landscapes in which they are born and grow up. Children have a universal love of play that should be encouraged and remembered amongst the barrage of negative headlines that pass over our desensitised ears. Secondly, that the sun is always shining somewhere.

Third Place - Boundless by Mian Akbar Shah, School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. Imagine. Imagine a world with absolute harmony. A neighbourhood where the caring Fatma does not feel threatened by wearing her hijab. A community where the reticent Wanchat can show off his controversial sexuality. A city where the genius Tarig is not discriminated by having pencils put in his hair. A country where the North Korean Jie does not impersonate to be Chinese. I dream of an era when commoners obliterate boundaries that separate us. Perhaps we can all connect like a childhood jigsaw puzzle. Let us all be stellified and shine brightly for future generations to come.

Runner Up - Black and White by Thomas Thacker, School of Arts, Languages and Cultures. In the act of isolating colour from a person, you begin to see something less than human. By allowing your perceptions of other people to be skewed by racial prejudices, you only perpetuate cultural divisions. When we denounce ‘us vs. them’ philosophies that are so integrated within the systems in place in Western society, we are able to collectively work towards a safer and, ultimately, better world. This effect was achieved by pouring paint over two models. The paint was then isolated in the editing room, creating a digital sculpture.

Runner Up - "the few" and " the many" by Yitong Xie, School of Social Sciences. 'The few' (the 1% of the world’s population who own 50% of the total global wealth) and 'the many' (the 99% of the world’s population owning the rest of the total global wealth) share the same physical world. However, the two groups are divided in terms of the quality of their lives and the opportunities available to them. The picture shows the privileges enjoyed by the 1% who live in golden skyscrapers and consume high quality products and services, while those who find themselves at the bottom of society live in decaying buildings and consume low quality products and services.

Key Facts About The Social Justice Photography Competition

How do I apply?


- Choose a topic - an issue of social justice important to you

- Take your photograph - you can use a phone, tablet, analogue camera, digital camera or anything else you can think of

- Edit your photo - if you want to or you can just leave it as it is

- Write up to 100 words and give your photo a title - explaining why the issue is important to you

- Submit it – by emailing your photo (or a link to your photo) and your 100 words to with the subject line Social Justice Photography Competition. Make sure you include your name, student number and the title of the photo in the email.

What are the rules?

- You can only enter the competition once

Email your photograph to

The deadline for entries is Monday 16 April 2018 at 23:59 – photos entered after this date will not be considered

Photos must be your independent work, original and comply with The University of Manchester regulations

- The competition is open to all undergraduate students at The University of Manchester

- Winning entries will be announced 1 May 2018 at the Volunteer of the Year Awards.

- The Social Justice Challenge is part of the Ethical Grand Challenges and Stellify.

What are the prizes?

There are 3 prizes up for grabs:

- Grand Prize - £400

- Second Place - £200

- Third Place - £100