the archipelago Writing, Art & Photography Competition

the archipelago is a new magazine on migration. We were started by a group of writers who are refugees in Indonesia and Australians. We support writers and artists to create high quality creative work about migration. Read more About Us.

We are looking for exceptional writers and artists who are refugees in Indonesia, to support their creative work through this competition. Please read the guidelines on this page carefully. 

We are looking for:

  1. Creative Writing: e.g. short story or memoir (1000-2500 words)
  2. Poetry (1 poem or up to 3 pages of poetry) 
  3. Essays: e.g. personal essay or journalism (1000-2500 words)
  4. Photography and Art (1 photograph/artwork or a collection of works)


First Prize in each category receives:

  1. 3,000,000 Indonesian Rupiah 
  2. Publication in the archipelago online magazine
  3. Membership and training in the archipelago writers collective

Who can enter?

Anyone who is a refugee or asylum seeker anywhere in Indonesia, age 17 or older.

How to enter:

  • Submit your entry by filling out this Google Form: 
  • Deadline is midnight Friday October 16.

Writing Guidelines:

  • You must be the only writer of your story. 
  • Writing that has been edited by another person will be disqualified. 
  • We are not looking for perfect English.
  • You may consider focusing on one of these themes (but the competition is open to any topic): discovery, gender, identity, new experiences, language, migration, COVID-19, colonisation.
  • We are looking for your best writing. Edit your writing on your own several times before you submit it. 
  • Choose 1 category to enter. 1 person can submit 1 entry.
  • If you do not win 1st prize but we like your writing, we may offer you training to work more on your writing together.
  • Every word must be your own: copying and pasting from online or other books is not permitted.
  • The writing must never have been published before, including on social media. 
  • Writing must be in English, but you are welcome to include words, phrases and expressions from other languages too.
  • Here are 3 great examples of creative writing: The Uncalled Guest, Car Journey, The Red Sky.


Art and Photography Guidelines:

  • You may submit a collection of photographs or artworks (maximum 10).
  • The artworks and photography must never have been published in a publication or online on social media before.
  • Photography: we are looking for portraits. Portraits can be of anyone, they may be in the refugee community or Indonesian and foreign communities. Photographers must have permission from the people photographed to publish their photo BEFORE entering the competition.
  • Art: we are open to any kind of artwork – painting, drawing, sculpture, weaving, any form and medium. Please take a photo of your artwork in good lighting.
  • Here is an example of a great Art collection: Sangi Sabur.
  • Here is an example of a great Photography collection (the photographs should be connected to each other): Depicting the Daily Lives.


Any questions?

You can email: [email protected] . Please put “COMPETITION” in the email subject line.