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Forum Freelance Fund Bursaries

The 2018 Forum Freelance Fund competition for hostile environment training bursaries is now closed.  

Applications by qualified freelancers had to be submitted online before midnight Eastern time on Thursday April 19

  • FFF bursaries are worth $2,500 CAD each 
  • Freelancers must have sufficient field experience to apply.
  • Applicants must be Canadian or show a considerable body of work for Canadian media.
  • Priority is given to those whose work puts them in greatest need. 

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These are intended to help Canadian freelancers working abroad, and freelancers of other nationalities with a considerable body of work for at least one Canadian media client, attend hostile environment training courses offered by our approved providers. We expect to award 3 to 5 of these bursaries each year, depending on the availability of funds and the quality of applications.

Courses are currently available in Canada, the United States, Britain, Kenya and Afghanistan. Course providers may add locations from time to time. These are the same kind of courses many staffers now get before they are deployed into potentially dangerous situations. We don’t encourage freelancers - especially inexperienced ones - to place themselves in danger. It is vital that freelancers have a firm grasp of their craft before attempting to work where dangerous conditions will increase the demands on them. Through these bursaries, we try to ensure that freelancers know how to evaluate, reduce or avoid risks and how to handle a range of dangers that now befall journalists in many situations abroad. Courses include appropriate field first aid. 

The regular FFF competition is held in cooperation with Rory Peck Trust (RPT) which may, in its sole discretion, grant additional bursaries to successful candidates. FFF applications are assessed by an independent panel, including a representative of RPT.The Forum and the Rory Peck Trust are both members of the ACOS Alliance, an international group of organizations concerned with the safety of freelance journalists around the world. For further details of the 2018 competition click here. #FFF2018


This bursary was introduced in 2015 and is sponsored by acclaimed filmmaker Giselle Portenier, a member of the Forum's board. It is open to freelance journalists or independent documentary makers with projects focusing on human rights abuses. The competition recognizes that such work can place practitioners in danger equal to that found in many conflict zones.   

The sole winner each year will receive up to $3,000 CAD for hostile environment training by one of our approved course providers, as listed below. The competition is open to people of any nationality, with no requirement for a Canadian connection. The bursary is for safety training and associated travel only, not general production costs. The 2017 competition is now closed. Watch for details of the 2018 competition in mid-May. #portenierbursary


AKE, Blue Mountain GroupDart Centre at Columbia Journalism School1st Options SecurityGlobal Journalist Security, Pilgrims GroupRemote Trauma, SEPAR International or Tundra GroupThese courses typically run 3 to 5 days. The list of course providers is reviewed from time to time. 



For a selection of comments from previous winners and course providers, click here



For a full list of all previous FFF and Portenier bursary winners, click here.