Getty Images and Stand Together have joined forces to announce the launch of the inaugural Getty Images Photo Archive Grants for HBCUs. The partnership will grant two HBCUs a total of $500,000 towards the digitization of their libraries’ archival content.

Schools will not only be able to benefit from the historic value of the archives being placed and available for licensing in a stand-alone photo collection on the Getty Images platform, but they’ll also retain all copyright for their visual assets and receive 50% royalties on all licensed assets. The other 50% will be funneled back into impact programs to further the ongoing effort to document and preserve Black history.

“Historically Black Colleges and Universities have archives of some of the most important images related to Black Lives,” said contest judge Dr. Tukufu Zuberi, a Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. “The Getty Images Photo Archive Grants for HBCUs is a collaboration that may increase access and dissemination of these important images to the world. The Getty Images Photo Archive Grants for HBCUs also stands as a model of how to leverage resources and organizational structure to remove barriers to the diversity of content and purpose.”

Getty Images is one of the latest to invest in HBCUs as interest in the schools is on the rise, and Cassandra Illidge, the company’s Vice President of Partnerships, acknowledged that.

“We know as a company that a lot of corporations are going out there, and they’ve been approaching HBCUs, and we also know that there’s an underfunding [HBCUs] are experiencing,” she said. “It’s very important because we can see the benefit for not only the school, but the students, but also the educators and the black storytellers who need content.”

The Getty contest focuses specifically on photography, narrowing down a starting point to hopefully provide a sustainable way to expand digitization efforts. The Grants will commit $500,000 towards the digitization of two HBCUs’ photographic archives, including the digitization of up to 100,000 archival assets per Grant recipient. The proceeds from licensed content will be split up with 50% of royalties going directly to the schools, 30% going into a scholarship fund to be managed by UNICEF or the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, and the remaining 20% will be reinvested to fund the Getty Images HBCU Photo Archive Grants each year. 

The goal is to reach all 107 HBCUs.

Getty already holds some HBCU content, much of which is from Howard University and dating back to the early 1900s. The visual media company is also a sponsor in the Robert Randolph Foundation’s Juneteenth Unity Fest, where it will unveil a video about the contest.

To be considered, schools will have to submit a proposal to the nationwide contest and will be judged by a panel with a mix of judges from different fields, from academia to journalism and filmmaking. Of those judges is Aba Blankson, the Chief Marketing and Communications Officer for the NAACP.

“Black history is American history. While some of that history is known, too much is still hidden. Our HBCUs hold precious and treasured experiences, stories, images, and artifacts. We are excited to participate in this important initiative to preserve and strengthen the ability to amplify our collective story,” Blankson said.

Illidge said this inaugural contest was years and many iterations in the making.

“HBCUs have always been institutions that we’ve wanted to work with,” Illidge said. They went around to individual institutions over the years to assess their libraries and archival material, but that proved to be ineffective and did not reach every school.

“What we found out was, there were a couple of areas where it’s always been a struggle for any institution to even think about digitizing their library and monetizing it, and also partnering on making the content accessible globally,” she said. The biggest challenge was resources.

So, they created a contest that would be accessible to all schools and give a chance to assess the amount of content they hold.

HBCUs have until Thursday, September 30, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. to apply. Click here to submit an application.

This content was originally published here.

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