Academic Photography Course, Cape Town

Learn about NGO photography and support social development projects

Participate in faculty-led program that explores the role of photography in development work, and use the power of photography to make a difference in the life of South African youth. Based in the stunning and fascinating city of Cape Town, this academic photography program offers students unique ways of studying the impact visual media can have on social impact projects in developing countries – and the opportunity to put this into practice yourself. As a participant, you’ll learn how NGO photography can support social initiatives, and you’ll help facilitate photovoice workshops with a group of young students from an underprivileged community. The program can be tailor-made according to the group’s academic focus and desired learning outcomes.


  • Gain valuable knowledge of the role visual media can play in social development
  • Contribute to photovoice programs that benefit underprivileged South African youth
  • Get professional academic support and work towards valuable learning outcomes
  • Live in Cape Town, one of the most stunning and interesting cities of the world
  • Experience some of the many travel highlights Cape Town has to offer

Quick Facts

  • Where Cape Town, South Africa
  • When Can be facilitated all year round
  • Focus NGO Photography
  • Length Tailor-made to each group's needs
  • Price Please request a quote
  • Suitable for Students of Photography, Visual Anthropology, or Media Studies

Destination Description

Cape Town is arguably one the most stunning cities in the world. Framed between oceans and mountains, it’s surrounded by incredible natural beauty, with Table Mountain, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, an absolute highlight. Cape Town is also a place of huge diversity, lively cultures, and a vibrant nightlife. Living here is dynamic and interesting, and weekends will give you a huge variety of exciting activities. You can, for instance, venture to the top of Table Mountain, visit the historic Robben Island, drive to the iconic Cape Point, or hang out on some of the many beaches. If you’re into food and design, you can also choose to visit some of the trendy markets for some culinary treats and locally designed goods. Moreover, once you venture outside of Cape Town, you’ll find gorgeous winelands and stunning National Parks that are well worth a good road trip.


  • Induction We'll start this course with an induction program that will include an introduction to Cape Town and the presentation of a framework of your course.
  • Course Structure This program will be a combination of theory-based learning and practical projects that will allow students to implement their classroom learnings on the ground. The theory/practice balance depends on the desired learning outcomes and focus areas of each individual group.

    The lectures and workshops will be given by local professors and field experts. Examples of lecture topics are:
    - The role of visual media in development work
    - The role of photography in a historic South African context
    - How to produce visual work informed by
    - Photovoice as an empowering methodology
    - Ethics in photography
    - Visual literacy and image dialogue

    Students will be able to use their new knowledge during practical workshops and projects. Depending on the group's focus, students can get involved in one of the following:
    - Facilitating photovoice projects with groups of young photographers in Cape Town's townships
    - Photographing development projects run by local grassroots NGOs
    - Participating in research projects

    To ensure maximum professional development, you’ll enjoy a well-structured program that incorporates both a variety of lectures and on-the-ground projects, and you’ll be guided by an academic adviser along the way.
  • Final Project or Paper The course will be completed by students presenting their work in an exhibition, and/or presenting findings of research.

This course can be facilitated any time of the year.

Course Fee: This faculty-led trip is tailor-made according to the required focus areas and learning outcomes of each group, so we will put individual proposals and quotes together. The course is fully facilitated and will include:

  • Accommodation in Cape Town
  • All meals
  • Full-time coordination by one of our team members
  • All lectures, workshops, and projects
  • Airport transfers
  • All transport on the ground
  • An exhibition with produced work
  • If required, we can facilitate optional weekend activities and excursions

The program is fully tailor-made and will be adjusted according to your group’s specific academic focus and desired learning outcomes. Overall, the program presents the following opportunities:

1. Studying Photography’s Role in Social Development
Photography is a powerful tool of narrating social, political, and cultural landscapes. Images carry far and across different cultures, communicate strong messages, and have the potential to define events. They also have potential to influence societies in a positive way by contributing to social development. Through a series of lectures and workshops, you’ll have the opportunity to study the role photography plays in the development space in general, and social development in Cape Town specifically. With its turbulent recent history, its huge economic and social disparity, and its wealth of development initiatives, South Africa presents a particularly interesting case for studying photography’s role.

2. Supporting NGO Work Through Photography
Students will have the opportunity to put their knowledge of photography’s role in social development into practice by photographing a non profit organisation working in one of Cape Town’s townships. Guided by professional photographers, each student will have a specific assignment that will emphasise story-telling methods to create the most powerful impact for the non profit initiative. All produced work will be used to promote the work in the most effective ways.

3. Facilitating a Photovoice Workshop
Students can help facilitate a workshop for young aspiring photographers in underprivileged communities of Cape Town. These workshop are based on the notion that photography has the power to equip people with not just practical skills with job-creation potential, but also with vital skills in areas such as confidence, self-expression, collaboration, and persistence. The aim of the program is to provide people a strong communication platform to raise awareness about important issues that affect their lives.

The workshops use creative learning and inquiry-based learning methods to equip young participants with the following:
– Basic to advanced technical photography skills
– Creative self-expression and story-telling skills
– The confidence to voice an opinion and encourage activism
– Basic entrepreneurial skills

Students will be involved in preparing and hosting the workshops. During the workshops, each student will be paired with a participant, and work together on a practical assignment, which will involve documenting a specific social issue in Khayelitsha, Cape Town’s largest township. The workshop can end with an exhibition of the produced work.

Your Photography Workshops

The program is fully tailor-made and will be adjusted according to your group’s specific academic focus. It can be tailored to students of Photography, Media Studies, or Visual Anthropology – or it can have an interdisciplinary approach. Overall, it provides the following learning outcomes:

  • A thorough understanding of the role photography and/or other media can play in international development
  • Knowledge of social development space in South Africa, and specifically Cape Town
  • An understanding of visual anthropology in an NGO context
  • Practical experience of using photography to support social development projects
  • A good understanding of the photovoice method
  • Workshop facilitation skills

This program is designed and facilitated in collaboration with African Impact, a facilitator of volunteer programs, and Penda Trust, a photography focused NGO.

Recommended Equipment

To join this workshop, you don’t have to be a professional photographer, though ideally you will have basic technical skills and a desire to learn. There are no specific equipment requirements.

Program Support

During this program, all lectures and workshops will be given by local academics and field experts. To ensure maximum professional development, you’ll be guided by an academic adviser along the way. All logistics will be taken care off too, so that the group can focus fully on getting the most out of the experience.

We'd love to hear from you! Leave a message, and we'll get back to you shortly to help organise your perfect photographic holiday or photography workshop. | 1-855-370-5504