The Eur-Asian Border Lab invites you to participate in a photo essay contest exploring the conceptual, formal, and metaphoric implications of borders and bordering.


The Eur-Asian Border Lab is a platform run by border studies scholars with a mission to introduce and foster a deeper understanding of bordering in theory and practiceMany critical issues of our time involve bordering processes at their core—migration, trade and smuggling, global pandemics, surveillance and tracking, and identity and language politics. There has been a shift in academia from studying borders as a phenomenon to studying borders as a process or method. We are making a wider call, open to academics, artists, activists, journalists, students, etc. to move borders from their putatively peripheral position at the edges or margins to the centre of our gaze—and explore issues of societal concern through the lens of borders or bordering. Why? Because bordering always has a purpose, or rather, a motive. No border is neutral. The border does not just happen. It is (socially) constructed.  

We ask that competition participants provide a title for their photo essay entry by completing the phrase “When a border is (or bordering) is… (ADD THE DESCRIPTION OF OBJECT/PROCESS).” Some examples are: When a border is a road. When bordering is in the air. When bordering is a passport. When bordering restricts wildlife trade. This approach offers endless opportunities to explore the phenomenon or issue of concern!

Call for Entries

The winning entry will be featured in the Eur-Asian Border Lab’s online gallery for two months and then archived on the website (and still viewable), as a new exhibition will be published in its place. Submission for this exhibition is FREE, and you retain full copyright. The Lab team may select more than one photo essay (to be featured separately). If so, the author’s permission will be sought. 

 The deadline for submitting entries is May 15, 2023.

STEP 1: Choose up to 15 quality JPEG images taken by you (image width or height should not be less than 2560px). 

STEP 2: Give your image file your name and number (e.g., John_Smith1)

STEP 3: Submit an entry proposal in a Word document by email to In the entry proposal, please include the following:

  1. Your name, nationality and/or where you reside, and any affiliation.
  2. A brief conceptualization of your exhibition (a short introduction or explanatory text, 200—250 words, to be included in the exhibition), including the title for your entry.
  3. A list of captions or other info to be included in the exhibition (e.g., location or date) for each photo.

STEP 4: Send us your JPEG files via WeTransfer ( or Dropbox (, using the email address Both services are free.

The core team of the Eur-Asian Border Lab will select the winning entry, based on its ability to address the Call. The photo essay will be featured on the Lab’s website from August 1 to September 30, 2023. 

The winner will be announced on June 9, and participants will be contacted individually via mail.

You can already take a look at our first photo essay entry “When a border is at the edge of the state” by Karin Dean here.