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About – History – FAQ

Photo of first Documentary Arts Asia workshop in Dec 2008 – Laiza -Kachin State – Burma


Documentary Arts Asia is a non-profit organization which works primarily in photography and film, but also audio and narrative writing, to tell the stories from Asia that need to be heard.

Our Documentary Arts Center in Chiang Mai, Thailand, supports documentary artists through the provision of training and library resources, grants and promotion.  We also strive to gain recognition for the importance of high-quality, independent and objective documentary practice through our own agency, magazine and documentary arts festival.

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See where Documentary Arts Asia Works and our various programs on our interactive map.


Since 2008 Documentary Arts Asia has been serving aspiring documentary photographers from all parts of Asia with workshops, grants, gear loans and organizing exhibitions.

In the first 3 years DAA learned a lot through experimenting and research we refine our teaching methods and decided to add many more services that were needed transform our students into world-class photographers, such as a photobook library,Theater, Artist in residency, Specialized and advanced workshops, Long-term mentoring, Training of Trainers and a physical center and gallery to exhibit long term documentary projects.

In 2011 DAA won the Howard Chapnick Grant, from the prestigious W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund. The Chanpnick grant played a vital role in the initial expansion of our services and gave a  morale boost to our organization to continue working hard in pursuit of our goals and vision.

Just a month after opening the beautiful gallery / cinema to an impressive crowd of people hungry for quality long-term documentary photo and film projects, DAA launched a new major program. The Chiang Mai Documentary Arts Festival which was one of, if not the first event of its kind to combine documentary photo festival with a documentary film festival.

Six months after opening the center DAA was graced by the presence of many top photojournalists while hosting the Foundry Photojournalism Workshops which was attended by 160 incredible aspiring documentary photographers from Asia and beyond.

For the next year DAA kept a very active program of events, workshops, exhibitions and films at it’s Chiang Mai center while continuing to make regular trips to Laiza, Kachin State Burma.   Finally feeling that Laiza students were ready for their own center,  with the help of Internews, DAA opened its second center.


Q – How is DAA funded?

A – DAA is an not for profit organization and we received limited funding to start the physical center/gallery.

In addition to grants DAA strives to make much of it’s own funding.  This gives us more independence and also assures we are working at a professional levels and making sure our services are valued.

As of now we have no further external funding and it limits us to mostly things the market will support.  We want a balanced approach, to do activities the market will support in the market, but also have grant money to tap into for activities the market will not support.

Q – If i donate to DAA where will the money go?

A – Directly into our low cost activities.   Our 4-6 person team total, not per person, receives 200USD a month and our other overhead is very low.

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