THRIVE: Connect Photo Contest and Exhibition

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  • 2017•11•02     Kuala Lumpur


    The future of our world is deeply connected to how we build, manage, and live in our cities. Cities contribute to the environmental threats we face as a planet – climate change, pollution, biodiversity loss, and more – and sometimes aggravate poverty, inequity, ill health and social exclusion. But they also have the power, innovation, resources and drive to solve these problems and help the world thrive.

    The United Nations (UN), working with all the world’s governments, has charted a pathway for addressing global challenges. The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) address 17 areas critical to sustainable development – there’s even one for cities (SDG 11). The countries of the world, including Malaysia, have committed to achieving these goals by 2030.

    The SDGs address many different issues, but the goals are strongly interconnected, in ways that may be obvious or subtle. Real-world problems often relate to more than one goal, and acting for one goal can make reaching another easier or harder. Some connections between SDGs are well-understood, but others are barely recognized. Getting the full picture will depend on inputs not just from governments and policy-makers, but also from scientists, entrepreneurs, members of civil society, and regular citizens.

    The SCHEMA/Think City THRIVE: Connect photo contest asks you to find and capture SDG linkages in Malaysian cities. We’re looking for photographs of high aesthetic quality in terms of both image composition and in the use of the medium that highlight connections between SDG 11 on sustainable cities and communities and any other SDG. For example, your picture might show the links between urbanization and clean food or water, decent work, or climate change in Malaysian cities.

    We will use your photos to tell a story about how critical connections are to healthy, sustainable communities, and how recognizing them will help us achieve the SDGs. Ten winning pictures will be featured in a new publication, THRIVE: Connect, a follow-up to THRIVE: 2 and THRIVE: Global, which used art to show new perspectives on urban health. Winning photos will also be featured at the 9th World Urban Forum, the major United Nations event focusing on cities, which will be held in Kuala Lumpur in February 2018, and at an exclusive Think City exhibition at RUANG. Submitted photos will also be highlighted on social media and on the

    This contest is open to photographers of all ages and backgrounds. Photographs will be judged on aesthetic quality and the extent to which the Contest brief has been meet. Help us see the connections you see between SDG 11 and the other SDGs.  Take a look at the SDGs here, and get snapping!


    You can submit your photo directly to or using this submission form. The deadline for submissions is December 31st. Each entrant may submit up to three photos.

    If submitting by e-mail, please include the following information:

    Attached photo(s): Submitted photos must be in in high resolution digital format (JPEG), and between 2000 and 6000 pixels in the longest dimension. Please limit images to a maximum file size of 20MB.

    For each photograph entered, please supply:
    Title: [give each photo a relevant title]
    SDGs: [tell us which Sustainable Development Goal(s) your photo to which your photograph refers]
    Caption: [tell us how your photo captures an SDG connection in 50 words or fewer]
    City: [In what city was your photo taken?]
    Your Name:
    Age: [for those under 18, please include parent’s name and sign and attach the separate consent form]
    Phone #:
    E-mail address:
    Social media handles: [optional] [we’ll use these to promote your photo(s)]

    I attest that this image meets all of the eligibility criteria for submission to the Thrive: Connect UNU-IIGH SCHEMA/ThinkCity Photo Contest. I understand and agree to the terms and conditions. I hereby grant the United Nations and Think City, and their agencies, funds, programmes and sponsors full usage rights in perpetuity for all photos entered in the contest.


    This contest is open to photographers of all ages, backgrounds and experience levels. All photographs must be taken in a Malaysian city.

    The deadline for submissions is December 31st, 2017.

    Submissions will be judged in two categories: “Open” and “Young Photographer.” “Young Photographer” submissions are for entrants under 18 years of age, and must be accompanied by a parental consent form. Ten finalists will be selected, including first and second place photos in each category. All finalists will be featured in the Thrive: Connect book and at associated exhibitions.

    There is no entry fee for submissions.

    Submissions must be original, unpublished work by the photographer and must not infringe upon any copyright laws. The submitter must be the sole author of all entries and hold full rights to them.

    Photos that have won awards in other competitions or that have been previously published are not eligible for submission.

    Entering the contest constitutes consent to the use of submitted photos in United Nations and Think City promotional material and publications.

    The organizers reserve the right to disqualify photos which may cause offence or are otherwise unsuitable or inappropriate.

    Where subjects in submitted photographs are recognizable, the photographer must have received their permission for the use of their image. Photos that violate the rights of those depicted or put people at risk will not be considered by the judges.

    The organizers take no responsibility for incorrectly submitted or incomplete entries.

    Only contest winners will be contacted. Results will be announced on 15 January 2018 on


    A panel of representatives appointed by Think City and UNU-IIGH will judge all submissions in two categories: “Open” and “Young Photographer.” Judging criteria will include:

    a) Relevance: Do the picture and caption effectively illustrate a linkage between SDG11 and another SDG in a Malaysian city?
    b) Creativity/aesthetics: Is the theme expressed in an insightful way? Do the photo and caption capture an interesting viewpoint, demonstrate originality, or have unique aesthetic merit?

    The decision of the organizers and judges on all matters relating to the contest will be final.


    By entering the contest, the entrant accepts all terms and conditions. The entrant agrees to grant the UN and Think City, and their agencies, funds, programmes and sponsors full usage rights in perpetuity for all photos entered in the contest, whether selected as winners or otherwise. The UN and Think City reserve the right to use the photos in not-for-profit advocacy and promotional materials such as social media, multimedia packages, television, billboards, and printed materials etc., both online and offline. Submitted photos may be added to United Nations entities’ online photo galleries, Facebook pages, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, and made available to any party the United Nations deems suitable, subject to appropriate crediting. When and where photos are used, credit will be given to the entrant. Use of submitted photos does not otherwise entitle the entrant to any monetary payments, royalties, or other remuneration.