About the Trust

The Rebecca Vassie Trust supports early-to-mid-career photographers in the UK. Through our bursary awards, we fund new work documenting lesser-known peoples and communities: human stories we seldom see.

The Trust was set up following the tragic death of the British photographer and photojournalist Rebecca Vassie, aged 30, while on assignment in Uganda in 2015. 

In 2016 we awarded the first Rebecca Vassie Memorial Award to James Arthur Allen. James spent time in Israel earlier this year documenting the little-known ethnic Circassian population. An exhibition of this work is showing until Sunday 17 December 2017 at the Tabernacle in London

Our second award has been won by Kirsty Mackay for her project exploring the ‘Glasgow Effect’ – the disparity in health and life expectancy between Glasgow and the rest of Britain.

See articles covering the launch of the Trust in The British Journal of PhotographyShutterhub, Photograd, PhotoAid and DOC! Photo Magazine.

The work of the Trust is currently funded through donations and print sales.



  • Adam Barnard. Adam is a playwright, theatre director and journalist. He was previously joint chief executive of Company of Angels (now Boundless Theatre), a UK charity which (among other things) disbursed bursary grants to up-and-coming theatremakers. As a journalist, he has written for The Times and The Guardian.
  • Ben Bird. Ben studied photography at UCA Rochester alongside Beccy. His work has been exhibited at the Turner Contemporary, Margate; Royal Collage of Art, London; and Art Language Location festival, Cambridge. Ben also works in a F.E. college as a technician and occasional photography tutor. http://www.benbirdphoto.com
  • Thorbjørn Tellefsen. Thorbjørn studied photography at UCA Rochester alongside Beccy. He was previously an Editorial Product Specialist at Getty Images, and now works as a Business Development Manager for Agence France-Presse (AFP). Thorbjørn has also been involved with the Renaissance Photography Prize for several years.
  • Janet Vassie. Beccy’s mum. Former administrator at a UK solicitors firm, and current owner of Janet Botanics and Peaceful Warrior – a yoga school and aromatherapy practice – based in Spain and the UK.
  • Kelly Vassie. Beccy’s sister. Kelly is about to embark an interdisciplinary PhD in philosophy of science and arts practice at UCL. Previously, Kelly worked in theatre as a stage designer, including  productions at the Arcola, Finborough, and BAC in London; the Minack Theatre, Cornwall and Norden Arts Centre, Surrey. She also has experience working for education charities and NGOs.