Faces of Europe: Summer Competition and More

You know them from their photo blog that was inspired by the famous ‘Humans of New York’ photo blog, but did you also know that Faces of Europe (FoE) recently had a summer competition, in which anyone could send in their pictures about unusual trips, new experiences and unexpected encounters? The AEGEEan was lucky enough to be able to interview Viola Bianchetti, manager of FoE, and ask her all about it.


Picture by Siarhei Marau

The AEGEEan: Could you tell us a bit about your team and their work?

Viola: The team of Faces of Europe is composed of four amazing and very committed members. Until now three of them, Cosmina Bisboaca, Leonie Riebesam and Tedi Martinescu, have been the coordinators of the team of reporters, and one, indeed me, has been managing the overall project and taking care of the publication. The coordinators are the ones directly in contact with our pool of reporters, which is made of 16 reporters of seven different nationalities. The reporters are the ones in charge of creating the photo blog posts, while the project team gives them feedback, suggests improvements and ensures the overall quality of the project. Right now we are thinking about changing the task division in our team in order to dedicate more energy to PR, promotion, communication and human resources, but our basic tasks won’t change.


Could you tell us a bit more about the Summer University photo contest?

The aim of the summer competition was to give people who like our project, but are not in the pool of reporters, the chance to have their story published on our page. Therefore we asked our readers to send us a photo of themselves or of someone they met during their summer travels and to tell us their story. It was really exciting to read about so many diverse experiences, each one unique in its way. It was very hard to choose the winners,  but in the end we selected nine stories to be published during the month of September on our Facebook page as well as on our website.


Picture by Eimear Phelan

How does the photo contest tie in with the vision of your project, Faces of Europe?

The aim of Faces of Europe is to make Europe more personal by exploring the human diversity of our continent. As AEGEEans we noticed that nothing is more effective in breaking stereotypes and creating solidarity than to meet people from different countries and get to know their personal stories. We thought we could try to achieve a similar effect by publishing photo blog posts, thereby spreading the stories of many Europeans coming from different backgrounds. The summer competition takes our very aim to a new level, by directly involving our readers in the development of the project. In this way, we wanted to make Europe even more personal, by giving different people the chance to tell their own story on our page,  even without the mediation of a reporter.


Why did you, specifically, decide to set up this photo contest?

We thought that the summer is the perfect time to experience something new, to discover new aspects of Europe and to gather inspiring stories which are worth spreading. Therefore launching a competition about summer stories made especially sense to us.


How did you determine the winners of the photo contest?

The members of the Faces of Europe team voted on the received photo blog posts. We took the quality of the photo, the originality of the text and its relevance to our aim into account.


Picture by Daria Belikova

What are the Faces of Europe’s future plans (will there be more photo contests)?

Many news await our readers and followers! In mid October we will launch a new round of recruitment, in order to reinforce our team of reporters. Moreover, we are working on brand new visuals and we are thinking about many ways to expand our project through partnerships, cooperation, side actions. We also want to show the work of our reporters in more exhibitions,  like the one which we organised during the Your Vision for Europe conference “Borderless Europe: Blessing or Burden?” in Cluj-Napoca. We would definitely like to have more competitions in the future, but we do not have fixed plans regarding that.


Is there anything that I haven’t asked, but that you would like to have included into the article?

If you are interested in our project, check out our Facebook page and our website, where you can also subscribe to our newsletter.
If you are interested in becoming a reporter, here is the right occasion for you! Until the 15th of November you can apply to become part of our team of photobloggers, check the open call here.


Written by Willem Laurentzen, AEGEE-Nijmegen.