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Manchester China Institute 曼彻斯特中国研究院

Photo being taken of Chinese people. Image credit: Chen Jiayi.

International Photography Competition

Use your smartphone to take a picture and write a maximum of 100 words to show us what friendship means to you.


We are glad to announce winners of our International Photography Competition:

Best Photo taken in China: Zewei Li 

Best Photo taken in the UK: Fan He

People's Choice AwardChoen Yin Chan

The Awards Ceremony will be held in the Samuel Alexander Building's South Foyer on Wednesday 5th June at 2pm 


The Manchester China Institute (MCI), in partnership with Creative Manchester, launches the first International photo competition at the University of Manchester.

The competition is themed around 'What Does Friendship Mean to You?' and takes place between Monday 18 March and Monday 6 May in 2019.


The theme of the competition is 'What does friendship mean to you?'.

Use your smartphone camera to capture the essence of what friendship means to you and send it to us with a caption of maximum 100 words (or 100 Chinese characters), describing the image and your approach.


Any person resident in the UK or in China can participate in the competition.

Each participant will be allowed only one submission.

How to submit

All submissions to be made to, with the subject line ‘What does friendship mean to you?’

Email should include:

  • A photo in its original format (set your smartphone camera to its highest resolution). If the file is too big to send via email, let us know and we can provide an alternative method of submission.
  • An accompanying narrative caption of maximum 100 words (or 100 Chinese characters) describing the image and your approach.
  • Your name and country of residence (either UK or China).

All successfully received submissions will receive a confirmation email. Without a confirmation email, you should assume that your submission has not been received (and let us know if this is the case).

By entering this competition, an entrant is indicating their agreement to enable the University of Manchester to use the photo in marketing and/or communications, in connection with this competition or its future editions only. 


Official languages of the text that accompanies photos are English and Chinese.


Submissions will be accepted from Monday 18 March until Monday 6 May at 11.59pm GMT.


  • Top 30 photos selected as finalists will be printed and exhibited at the University of Manchester for the People’s Choice Award from 21 May to 4 June 2019.
  • The winners will be announced by 5pm GMT on 4 June 2019.
  • An award ceremony will be held on Wednesday 5 June 2019.


  • Best UK Submission: £1,000 + photo book of the competition
  • Best China Submission: RMB8,888 + photo book of the competition
  • People’s Choice: £500


Submissions will be independently assessed by the judges below against the following criteria: 

  • Concept: how effective is the submission in capturing the essence of friendship?
  • Creativity: does the submission capture the essence of friendship in a unique and surprising way?
  • Composition: how technically competent is the submission? Have composition, lighting, contrast and mood been considered?

Digital editing should be kept at a minimum. The emotional impact of the photo will outweigh the technical quality.

Judging panel

Submissions will be judged by the following panel:

  • Zoe Dunbar, Director, Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art
  • Dr Ros Holmes, Presidential Academic Fellow in the History of Chinese Art
  • Prof Andrew Irving, Professor of Social Anthropology 
  • Dr Christopher Payne, Lecturer in Chinese Studies
  • Prof Michael Wood, Historian, Broadcaster, Professor of Public History at The University of Manchester