Most images of the Arctic are presented as horizontal and harmonious dominated by whiteness and made by photographers from outside the region. These are often closely connected to past narratives of expeditions and colonial administrations. However, photographers in the Arctic today are challenging many of these stereotypical, exotic and romantic views of the past. In this competition, we seek contemporary visualizations of the Arctic that embrace democratic and inclusive ways of seeing the Arctic and the North.

Polarity is a concept that refers to relative orientation of poles; the direction of magnetic or electric fields. Its plural noun is polarities. Arctic Polarities refers in this competition to the state of having two opposite or contradictory tendencies, opinions, or aspects. In the Arctic these contradictions could mean for example:

  • being in the margins / being in the center of one’s own culture
  • traditional / modern
  • Indigenous / non-indigenous
  • remoteness / community full of life
  • nature / human
  • Arctic nature / Arctic city
  • local / global
  • etc


The competition is open to all students and staff of UArctic member institutions, and other members of the ASAD network. The competition will have separate categories for students and staff.


Submit 1-3 photos and/or a series of photos assembled as a photo collage, including title(s) for the photos, year, and your contact information through the online submission form at You will need to submit each photo and related details separately if making more than one submission. Please send any questions to Deadline for submissions is January 31, 2022.

Submissions must also include a maximum 100-word statement regarding the artistic/scientific expression behind the images, and describe the situation and place where the photos are taken. Describe the content of the photo or the circumstances of photographing shortly. Add the names of person identifiable in the photos. Your name, UArctic member affiliation, and the category of submission are all required to be included in the submission form..

Submissions can either single photos or a photo collage as one file. Photos must be uploaded as JPG-files at a resolution suitable for screen formats (Minimum 1680 pixel long edge). We expect that participants have a sufficient resolution for press and printing use. Photographs submitted must not have been previously published or licensed.

The photographer is responsible for the copyright and publishing rights for the photographs. Persons who appear as identifiable in the photos must confirm permission to publish the photographs through a model release. If a person under the age of 18 appears in the photo, the parent or guardian must give permission to publish the photograph. Organizers reserve the right to reject an image if it is discriminatory, offensive, ethically questionable, or otherwise violates the competition rules.


Competition prizes:

First, second and third place prizes will be awarded in each competition category (student and staff), with 1st place prizes of €1000, 2nd place prizes of €750, and 3rd place prizes of €500.


The jury will consist of representatives of members of the UArctic ASAD network, other UArctic representatives, and external representatives. The jury will have broad circumpolar representation.


Expressiveness of the photo, choice and treatment of the subject, an illustration of the content, originality, composition, use of colours, artistry, overall impression. The photos will also be judged according to how well they illustrate and represent UArctic’s values. (See


The best photos will be chosen by the jury by February 28, 2022. Winners will be notified by email. The winner is requested to contact the competition organizer by the date indicated in the message to agree on how to receive the prize. If the winner provides incorrect or incomplete contact information and if the prize cannot be delivered to him or her for any reason other than the organizer, the organizer is not obliged to deliver the prize or the corresponding


Information on the results of the competition will be made public at the Arctic Design Week 2022.

Image Rights

By participating in the competition, the photographer agrees to transfer the right to use the winning images in each category, in connection print and online promotional materials related to UArctic's activities, including the UArctic website, publication, and related multimedia products. The photographer's name is always credited when using the photos. The winning photographers also give permission to display the competition photos in any UArctic or ASAD exhibitions. The organizer has the right to publish the names of the winners in the competition-related communications.

Additionally, other photos that have been submitted to the competition may be considered for licensing by UArctic. The image rights to these photos will be purchased at a fixed rate of €200.