Call for Applications: 2022 Photographic Arts Diploma Program and Artist Residency


Apply Now to the only 2 year Photographic Arts Diploma in Canada and a unique 6-month long Residency!

The School of the Photographic Arts: Ottawa (SPAO) is Now Accepting Applications for the Full-Time Diploma Program

Application Deadline: March 4, 2022, 11:59pm EST
Apply Now:

The SPAO Centre is one of the most unique spaces of its kind, housing the only 2 year Photographic Arts Diploma in Canada, a 6-month Artist Residency focused on growth through mentorship, and the only gallery in the region dedicated to lens-based art.

The Photographic Arts and Production Diploma Program is an incredibly rare opportunity to acquire comprehensive analogue and digital photography skills, develop a broad understanding of photographic theory, cultivate individual vision and hone your craft.

The Diploma Program is an intensive, hands-on, community-oriented and collaborative learning experience. Small class sizes means students get ample one-on-one attention and a personalized learning experience. SPAO has one of the most well-appointed darkrooms in the region, providing students with access to rare equipment, specialized techniques and a full understanding of photographic processes. Educated and evaluated in large part through their performance, students develop a critical approach to their portfolios and create signature pieces for exhibition in The SPAO Centre Gallery.

Integrated learning topics include photographic theory, photographic history and ideas, studio and lighting techniques, printmaking techniques, digital techniques, and portfolio design and production. Students learn through lectures and practicums, critiques and advisory sessions, and regular engagements with professional photographers, curators, gallerists, academics, and critics. Graduates of the program emerge prepared for a specialized career in the photographic arts. SPAO alumni have exhibited their work around the world, and have won numerous awards and accolades for the strength and quality of their presentation.

See our open house page to see more work by current diploma program students!


Image by first year diploma student Brianna Nykilchyck


SPAO launched the Solstice Bursary in 2021 in response to the COVID 19 pandemic and the increasing barriers to arts education faced by marginalized communities. This bursary aims to close the gap to accessing quality, photographic arts education and to address systemic issues and barriers that prevent marginalized groups from fully engaging within the arts. This bursary is available to incoming diploma students who identify as racialized minorities. The monetary amount of the bursary is equivalent to one year of free college tuition.

Let us know if you’d like to be considered for this opportunity in your application! Applications for the 2022-2023 school year are due February 20, 2022 by 11:59m for classes commencing on September 12, 2022.

For details on the program or application process, visit or call 613-562-3824 or email



Image by former Artist Resident Shaelynn Tredenick

Application Deadline: March 4, 2022, 11:59pm EST

The School of the Photographic Arts: Ottawa (SPAO) invites applications for the Spring/Summer session of our Artist Residency. SPAO’s Artist Residency provides the facilities and the mentorship to help you reach the next stage of your career, culminating in a professional exhibition at the SPAO Centre Gallery paying CARFAC fees. The Residency runs for 6 months and starts either in January or July.

Apply for the Spectrum Bursary!

SPAO’s Spectrum Bursary supports artists from racialized and underrepresented communities in order to shine a light and manifest their photo-based careers through the SPAO Residency. The value of this bursary is $3000.

How to Apply

Click Here for information on eligibility, cost, funding opportunities and application requirements. For any questions email or call 613-562-3824


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