Learning Across Boundaries (LABs)

*Closed* Visual Anthropology & Journalism Masterclass: Obscura Festival 2019

August 2019

A Summer LAB led by Tom White, Ian Teh & Vignes Balasingam

LAB DATES: 1 – 9 August 2019 (masterclass) and 16 – 18 August 2019 (festival)


CO-PAY: S$200
Some need-based financial assistance will be available for students with demonstrated financial need. There will be a separate application for financial assistance after students are selected for the LAB.


Participants of this summer LAB will attend a 9-day photography masterclass in Penang, Malaysia, led by instructors Ian Teh and Tom White, in partnership with the Obscura Festival of Photography. Each student will produce a portfolio in the form of a photo essay as part of the intensive masterclass. This portfolio will be presented at the Obscura Festival of Photography in Penang in mid-August. At the festival, participants will receive feedback from industry professionals in photography, media and the arts.

This photography masterclass is both a visual anthropology and writing programme. The primary goal of the programme is to equip participants with technical approaches and practical experience using images and text to create sophisticated stories. The masterclass will allow each participant to bring their unique background and vision to the process of conceptualising, producing and editing their work. After the masterclass, participants will attend the Obscura Festival of Photography to showcase their work. Participants will be able to bring their work to portfolio reviews, attend presentations and talks as well as network with professional photographers, editors, curators, publishers and artists.

This LAB is suitable for anyone with an interest in using photography as a medium of communication. No formal background in photography is required.

Have Questions?
Annette Wu
Executive, Experiential Learning

Contact with questions about travel fellowships and LABs.


To apply, please complete the following and submit to Annette Wu annette.wu@yale-nus.edu.sg by Sunday, 21 April 2019 at 11:59pm SGT. 

Please submit your application via email, using the subject header “Obscura LAB Application”. Include personal information in the body of your email, and attach your statement of interest, project proposal and portfolio in a PDF document named “First Name_Last Name”.

Personal informationthis information will be kept confidential, and will only be used if you are selected for the LAB. Please include this information in the body of your email:

  • Name (as on passport)
  • Class (e.g. 2020, 2021, or 2022)
  • Yale-NUS College Email
  • Date of Birth (DD/MM/YYYY)
  • Passport issued by (country)
  • Passport number
  • Whatsapp number

Please attach the following in PDF format:

  1. Statement of interest: Why do you want to participate in this LAB and how will you use this experience to further your personal, academic, and/or professional goals? (300 words maximum)
  2. Project proposal: Write a short project proposal for a potential photographic or video project idea that you wish to pursue during the masterclass. (300 words maximum)The project should focus on a social or environmental topic, align with your stated interests and contribute meaningfully to your intellectual development.The strongest proposals will be narrow, specific and accomplishable in one week on the ground. When writing your proposal, consider these guiding questions: whom will you engage and how will you approach the project? What kinds of information will you collect to inform the visuals?
  3. Photographic work of between 12-20 images that best represent your ability as a photographer: It is preferred (but not necessary) that applicants with experience in photography submit a set of images from a single project they have previously undertaken. Applicants without prior experience in photography should shoot and compile a collection of 12 images that best represent their interest in using photography as a medium of communication. Again, no formal background in photography is required for participation in this LAB.