Creative Competition „Estonian Beacons of Memory“ 2023

Estonian Institute of Historical Memory, 13. June 2023

The Estonian Institute of Historical Memory invites everyone interested in photography and videography to capture memorial sites across Estonia that can be associated with Soviet repressions committed in Estonia. The prizes consist of more than 3000€ worth of gift cards for a major electronics retailer in Estonia.

Remembering the past helps us understand of the value of freedom and humanity. Unfortunately, the aggression against Ukraine and the mass crimes committed there show that this is no longer just a past memory; rather, Soviet history of violence has once again cast a shadow over Europe.

The patron of the competition is Prime Minister of Estonia Kaja Kallas.

Submissions are accepted until 1 August 2023.

2021 competition entries can be seen here and the winners of last year’s competition here.

The idea of the competition

14 June 2023 marks the passing of 82 years from the tragic June deportation, during which Soviet authorities forcibly deported more than 10,000 Estonians to Siberia, of whom only a few returned. This day is a national day of mourning, when we commemorate the victims of the deportation and the totalitarian regime.

The aim of the competition is to value freedom, show the essence of tyranny, and find symbols that connect these places to the fates of people that were repressed and our people’s experience in 1940–1991.

Various memorial sites across the country represent the difficult experience of our recent past and are linked to foreign regime’s repressions. We must remember that the benefits of a free society we enjoy today may be rapidly destroyed if totalitarian ideas are allowed to come to power and our historical memory fails us. Memorial sites do not allow us to forget the brutality of totalitarian ideologies and the regimes that stemmed from them; they invite us to preserve humanity.

Competition prizes

The prizes consist of more than 3000€ worth of gift cards for a major electronics retailer in Estonia. The jury may divide the prize between no more than top five participants.

The Estonian Institute of Historical Memory will also organise an e-exhibition featuring the best photos and videos.

Competition Assignment

Each participant may submit one video with the lenght of up to 3 minutes and/or up to 6 photos. The deadline for submissions is 1 August 2023.

Participants are invited to photograph or film places connected to Soviet repressions in Estonia (railway stations, memorials etc).

We ask all participants to attach a short description (up to 500 characters with spaces) to each photo series or video that explains how the submitted work carries the idea of the competition and the author’s thoughts.

Sound, speech and storytelling are allowed in the video.

The authors of the best entries are invited to a reception in Stenbock House, Tallinn, hosted in August by the Prime Minister.

Technical requirements

Each participant is expected to enter one photo series (up tp 6 photos) and/or a video to the competition.


Framing, digitally stitched panoramas, high dynamic range (HDR), image sharpening, and full or partial correction and focusing of brightness, contrast, and colour are allowed.

Adding of removing objects (including the author’s name) is not permitted, with the exception of sensor dust. When editing photos, best practices as well as truthful and natural presentation must be kept in mind.

The photos must have a resolution of at least 3,000 pixels on the long side.


The video’s full length may be up to 180 seconds. Music and speech are allowed. The use of subtitles or captions is not permitted, with the exception of the title.

The video is required to have at least HD quality.

Entry submission

All entries must be submitted electronically via WeTransfer, using the following link for uploading:

1.      Click “Add your files”

2.      Select your entry and a text document (further information below)

3.      Enter your email address

4.      Add your first and last name to the message field

5.      Click “Transfer” and wait for all your files to finish uploading

6.      Enter the confirmation code you receive via email after sending the files on WeTransfer.

If the transfer was a success, you will receive a confirmation of your email from WeTransfer.

All file names of the entries must be in the following format: NAME_SURNAME_NUMBER (the first and last name of the author; each file must be given a number from 1 to 7).

The deadline for submissions is 1 August 2023 23:59 (GMT+2) at the latest.

In addition to the competition entries, each participant must submit a Word document via WeTransfer with the following information: the first and last name of the author, phone number, email, profession/organisation/field of work and an explanation about the photos/video of up to 500 characters (with spaces); adding the title of the entry is optional. The text document must have the author’s first and last name in the file name (e.g. John Smith). Please also add the Word file if you send us a link with your entries.

The Jury

Riho Västrik (director, producer, Associate Professor of Documentary Film at Tallinn University)

Marko Poolamets (photographer and operator of the CollectOurStory oral history portal)

Martin Andreller (Member of Board of the Estonian Institute of Historical Memory, Project Manager of Patarei Museum).

Evaluation criteria

  • The entry is in accordance with the competition idea;
  • The level of artistic expression and execution;
  • Well thought-out message and symbolism;
  • Compliance with technical requirements.

Additional conditions

  • By submitting the entry, the participant allows their work to be used by the Estonian Institute of Historical Memory for free. The Institute may also edit the entries in connection with the competition, provided that the authorship is visibly mentioned.
  • The award will be issued on the basis of an agreement that will be signed with the authors of the awarded entries. All rights to the submitted work will be transferred to the Estonian Institute of Historical Memory.
  • One competition entry may have several authors, in which case the award of said entry will be divided between the authors.
  • Entries that disregard the technical requirements stated above will be automatically disqualified.
  • In case of copyright infringement, all works submitted by the author will be disqualified.

If you have any questions, please contact the Estonian Institute of Historical Memory:

+ 372 53 35 96 39

Useful links:

Estonian Institute of Historical Memory:

Patarei Prison Museum:

Oral history portal Collect Our Story:

Electronic memorial and home page of Estonia’s Memorial to the Victims of Communism:

International portal on the crimes of communism: