The LightHouse for the Blind in San Francisco is calling for submissions for the 2018 Holman Prize, a global $25,000 award for blind adventurers and creators. Applications for the prize don’t open until January 16th, 2018 at 5 PM PST, but Blind Motherhood is helping to spread the word to give potential applicants extra planning time to get those creative juices flowing!
Now in its second year, the Holman Prize was launched by the LightHouse for the Blind in San Francisco as a means of enabling legally blind people from around the world to make their dreams a reality, and to demonstrate to the public at large that in an accessible world, blind people are capable of doing anything that their sighted peers can do.
Who Is James Holman?
The prize is named for James Holman, a 19th-century British navy lieutenant who lost his sight at age 25. During that era, military men who lost their sight were often sent to a convent or church, expected to spend the remainder of their days praying for their comrades. Ironically, Holman waged his own version of mutiny against societal views on vision loss. Instead of living the expected pious existence, he began to travel, going as far as Siberia. Holman became the most traveled blind person of the 19th century.
An Overwhelming Response Last Year:
In its first year, over 200 applications from more than two dozen countries were received, and the three winners, chosen by a panel of blind judges, represent a wide spectrum of ambition and ingenuity. Ahmet Ustunel is training to kayak Turkey’s Bosphorus Strait, completely solo; Penny Melville-Brown is taking her YouTube baking show to six continents, and Ojok Simon is teaching his fellow Ugandans to become self-sustaining beekeepers.
90 Second YouTube Video:
The initial application is a quirky one: each applicant is asked to submit a 90-second YouTube video explaining, briefly, how they would put the prize money to use. Here are some tips from the Holman Prize FAQ’s Page.
How do you make my pitch video compelling? Be yourself. Rehearse your pitch before recording it. Be funny. Be memorable. Feel free to use props, friends, sound effects, costumes. Make the Committee laugh. Make them cry. Describe who you are, but focus on your Holman project.
Try to record videos in landscape view (sideways) rather than portrait view. Face toward windows and light sources instead of away from them. Don’t hide your face!
The Holman Committee suggests that you take a few seconds at the beginning of your video to describe where the video is taking place, and what you are doing; don’t forget, our judges are blind and want to have as much information about you as possible.
Remember, the Committee is judging applicants on the strength of their ideas, not on the production quality of their videos. So, if you hire a Hollywood film crew to make your video, don’t assume that you’re guaranteed a spot in the semifinalist round. Even if Beyonce makes an appearance. For some inspiration, check out the videos from the 2017 Holman Finalists HERE.
Will my video be eliminated if I don’t describe what is happening in the video itself?
No, but the Committee strongly recommends that you do so.
How do I submit a YouTube video? You can upload YouTube videos via your web browser or mobile device. The easiest way Holman recommends for blind users is to use an iPhone with VoiceOver on.
1. Record your video in the Camera app (we recommend turning Speech off – by using a three-finger triple tap – for this portion because it will interfere with the quality of your recording).
2. Tap the “Share” button.
3. Tap “Upload to YouTube.”
4. Enter your YouTube account information.
5. Give your project a catchy name and use it as the title of your YouTube video.
6. Be sure to tag your video with the #holmanprize hashtag.
7. Once the video is uploaded, copy the URL. You will need to paste it into your application.
What if you go over time on my 90-second pitch?
You will be eliminated from the competition.
What kinds of projects does the Holman Prize fund or “NOT” fund?
– The Prize funds projects that take a full year to complete (including planning, training, and documentation).
– The Holman Prize must constitute at least 75% of the total funding for your project
– The Prize funds projects that demonstrate ambition; winners are “NOT” required to travel to parts unknown but should be doing something that takes them out of their comfort zone.
– The Prize does “NOT” fund any type of tuition.
– The Prize does “NOT” fund projects in which the applicant is traveling or working primarily with a group of sighted people.
Within a week of receiving each qualifying application, the Lighthouse will create an individual blog post on the Holman Prize website with a link to the candidate’s video. Then, semifinalists will be announced in mid-March; they will complete an extensive written proposal that includes a budget, tentative itinerary, references and more. The proposals will be due in April. In May, a select group of semifinalists will be selected as finalists for the Holman Prize. Prizewinners will be announced in July 2018.
Did you make a video for the Holman prize on your Christmas vacation? Comment below I’ll share it on Blind Motherhood!