The Masterclasses 2022: expert-led online sessions on travel writing and photography

The National Geographic Traveller (UK) team is bringing its popular travel writing and photography sessions into your home once again from 24-26 January 2022.

By National Geographic Traveller (UK)
Published 1 Dec 2021, 15:13 GMT, Updated 2 Feb 2022, 11:56 GMT
The Masterclasses returns from 24-26 January 2022.

The Masterclasses returns from 24-26 January 2022.

Photograph by National Geographic Traveller

This event has now passed, but for a limited time only, recordings of the six sessions are available for £10 per class or £50 for all six. Recordings are available until 23 February 2022.


After the success of the first digital event in 2021, where the popular travel writing and photography sessions brought a wealth of knowledge and inspiration into your homes, National Geographic Traveller (UK)'s The Masterclasses returns from 24-26 January 2022 with a series of new online courses.

The three days of in-depth courses, led by the magazine’s senior editors and renowned contributors, provides stimulating workshops and lectures that illuminate the art of written and visual storytelling. For the curious travel writer and avid photographer, this is an opportunity to immerse yourself in inspiration and practical instruction from some of the industry’s leading experts.

Sessions are £10 each or £50 for all six, if booked together.



Appealing to budding writers hoping to break into the industry, as well as those of intermediate level, three one-hour classes will cover everything from how to get published, self-editing and perfecting a range of different styles. Experts from the National Geographic Traveller (UK) team will lead each masterclass.

1. How to write an award-winning travel feature
From beginning and endings to quotes and structure, our panel will discuss how they put together their best features and how you can apply their tried-and-tested techniques to your own writing.
This session takes place from 18.00 to 19.00 on Monday 24 January, 2022

2. On assignment
Turning a trip into a feature is an art. In this session, our panel will guide you through what to do when you’re out in the field and give you pointers on how to get the best information and speak to the right people to make your story work.
This session takes place from 18.00 to 19.00 on Tuesday 25 January, 2022

3. How to get published
You’ve got the perfect idea, but how to get it in print or online? The panel will discuss their top strategies for getting editors to notice your pitch and how to write that pitch in the first place.
This session takes place from 18.00 to 19.00 on Wednesday 26 January, 2022


The three one-hour classes are aimed at beginner- and intermediate-level travel photographers, providing invaluable advice on all aspects of the craft, from pitching and publication to selecting the right kit. An established photographer will lead each masterclass.

1. How to create an award-winning travel feature
Our expert photographers will reveal their tips, tricks and insider knowledge on how they got the shots for their best features, and how you can use those techniques in your own photography.
This session takes place from 19.15 to 20.15 on Monday 24 January, 2022

2. On assignment
Find out how to select the right kit, approach the best subjects and get those perfect shots when you’re on location — from street photography and portraits to landscapes and nature.
This session takes place from 19.15 to 20.15 on Tuesday 25 January, 2022

3. How to get published
You’ve got the story, you’ve captured the images — what next? Our panel will tell you how to get your work noticed by the right people.
This session takes place from 19.15 to 20.15 on Wednesday 26 January, 2022

Sessions are £10 each or £50 for all six, if booked together.


How to write an award-winning travel feature

Adrian Phillips (moderator): Adrian runs Bradt Travel Guides, the world’s largest independent guidebook publisher, as well as writing/broadcasting for outlets including National Geographic Traveller (UK), The Telegraph, The Times, BBC, ITV and Sky. He covers everything from city breaks to excursions into the rainforest, and spends much of his time lost and uncomfortable. Awards for his work include Travel Writer of the Year (BGTW Awards, AITO Awards), Consumer Writer of the Year (Travel Media Awards), Magazine Writer of the Year (LATA Awards) and Broadcaster of the Year (BGTW Awards). 

Pól Ó Conghaile: Pól is a regular contributor to National Geographic Traveller (UK), and travel editor with the Irish Independent. He has been named Travel Writer of the Year in both the UK and Ireland, features regularly on TV and radio, and is the author of Secret Dublin: An Unusual Guide (Jonglez). He has worked as a mentor for the British Guild of Travel Writers, and has participated in several National Geographic Traveller masterclasses. He’s a father of two, husband of one, and you can follow him on Twitter at @poloconghaile.

Emma Thomson: Emma is a multi-award-winning travel journalist and regular contributor to National Geographic Traveller (UK). She often covers countries recovering from natural disaster or political upheaval to help travellers regain trust in these places. An experienced speaker and regular travel-writing panellist, she has featured on BBC Radio 4’s From Our Own Correspondent and presented for TV. 

On assignment

Glen Mutel (moderator): Glen is executive editor of National Geographic Traveller (UK) and has been the editor of its quarterly spin-off Food title since its launch in spring 2018.

Sarah Barrell: Senior editor at National Geographic Traveller (UK) and a regular contributor to UK newspapers and magazines, Sarah’s been a travel journalist for over 25 years. Author of two books From the Source: Italy, and How to Pack for Any Trip for Lonely Planet, she has also contributed to several other titles for the travel imprint. A regular contributor to the travel pages of BBC Good Food Magazine, Sarah’s work has appeared The Independent and Independent on Sunday, The Telegraph, The Times and Sunday Times, The Guardian, along with The Evening Standard, and magazines including Wanderlust, Marie Claire, Olive and ABTA. She has also contributed travel stories for BBC Radio Scotland, and teaches travel journalism, including National Geographic Traveller's annual Masterclasses.

Delle Chan: Delle is a London-based writer and editor who has contributed to titles including National Geographic Traveller Food, The Guardian, CNN Travel, WIRED UK, South China Morning Post and Afar, as well as a host of inflight magazines. She has explored — and written about — diverse destinations ranging from Kathmandu to Kutaisi. 

David Whitley: David has written about travel for publications on five continents, regularly contributing to titles including National Geographic Traveller (UK), The Telegraph and The Sydney Morning Herald. He specialises in Australia, but has built a reputation for reliable city guides and spotting quirky stories while out on the road. David runs Australia advice site Australia Travel Questions and has spent the past two decades forming elaborate travel writing systems involving multi-coloured pens, tiny notepads and ferociously annotated Google maps.

How to get published

Farida Zeynalova (moderator): Farida is project editor at National Geographic Traveller (UK) and assistant editor of its sister title, National Geographic Traveller Food. Originally from Baku, Azerbaijan, her passions include documentaries, city breaks, Eurovision and Ricky Martin. During a trip to Kenya in 2018, she had breakfast with the giraffes at Giraffe Manor in Nairobi and caught a glimpse of the rare white rhino in the fabled Maasai Mara. 

Jamie Lafferty: Jamie is a freelance writer and photographer from Glasgow. He did not go to Oxford or Cambridge; he did get expelled from his mediocre state school. His words and photographs have since been published by The New York Times, BBC and The Sunday Times. He’s a regular contributor to National Geographic Traveller (UK).

Hannah Summers: Hannah is an award-winning travel journalist and writes for publications including National Geographic Traveller (UK) and National Geographic Traveller Food, the Times and Telegraph. Her writing career began with her blog, Burgers and Bruce (about burgers and Bruce Springsteen, of course). When she’s not following Springsteen around on tour you’ll find her checking out a city’s street-food scene, walking her dog on the beach in Hastings or running her Springsteen-dedicated club night, Hungry Heart.

Jonathan Thompson: Jonathan  is a former British Travel Writer of the Year who currently works as the US travel correspondent for The Times and The Sunday Times. A regular freelance contributor to publications including Travel + Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler and Mr. Porter, he’s also the host of new travel TV show Adventure Cities, to be broadcast on the Discovery Channel in Spring 2022.  


How to create an award-winning travel feature

Becky Redman (moderator): Becky Redman is the Art Director of the award-winning National Geographic Traveller (UK) and National Geographic Traveller Food titles. Previously, she was Time Out London's Senior Designer and a regular freelancer at NME magazine. Becky has been in London for almost 16 years and hasn’t lost one bit of her American accent. She also loves to grow vegetables in her garden.

Lola Akinmade Åkerström: Lola is an award-winning visual storyteller, international bestselling author and travel entrepreneur. She has dispatched from more than 70 countries and her work has been featured in National Geographic, The New York Times, The Guardian, BBC, CNN, Travel Channel, Travel + Leisure, Lonely Planet, Forbes and many more. She has collaborated with commercial brands such as Dove, Mercedes Benz, Intrepid Travel, Electrolux and National Geographic Channel, to name a few. As a storyteller, Lola was the 2018 Bill Muster Travel Photographer of the Year. Her book, Due North, received the Lowell Thomas Gold Award for Best Travel Book, and she is also the author of international bestselling LAGOM: The Swedish Secret of Living Well available in 18 foreign language editions. Her latest novel, In Every Mirror She's Black, was published as a lead hardcover around the world.

Ben Roberts: Ben is a documentary and travel photographer based in the mountains just north of Madrid, Spain. Alongside his regular contributions to National Geographic Traveller (UK), Ben works on frequent commissions for The New York Times and Monocle magazine, alongside other editorial clients. In his personal practice, Ben creates work in response to socio-political occurrences, looking specifically at the way physical space is often defined by the people occupying it. He has published two photobooks with art publisher Here Press, the first of which, Occupied Spaces, was included in Phaidon’s History of the Photobook Volume 3. Ben was recognised with a Best in Book prize in the 2016 Creative Review Photography Annual, and is currently exhibiting in the Royal Photographic Society’s 163rd International Photography Exhibition.

On assignment

Nori Jemil (moderator): A regular contributor to National Geographic Traveller (UK), Nori is a photographer, writer and videographer. Author of a new book on travel photography, The Travel Photographer’s Way by Bradt Guides, and co-author of 2019’s The Rough Guide to Australia, she’s written, filmed or photographed for numerous publications, including BBC Travel, The Independent, Telegraph Travel and Lonely Planet. She’s won a few photography accolades along the way, too, most recently the British Guild of Travel Writers’ Photographer of the Year in 2017, and she was a finalist in the 2021 Travel Media Awards photography category.

Juan Arredondo: Juan is a Colombian-American documentary photographer who has chronicled human rights and conflict stories in Colombia, Venezuela and Central America. He’s a regular contributor to The New York Times and National Geographic. Since 2014, he’s been reporting on the use of child soldiers by illegal armed groups in Colombia, the peace agreement between the Colombian Government and FARC, and most recently the demobilisation and reintegration of former fighters into Colombian society, for which he was given a World Press Photo award in 2018. Juan was a 2019 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. He’s an adjunct professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where he teaches photojournalism and documentary filmmaking. 

Greg Funnell: Greg is an award-winning travel and adventure photographer who has worked across the globe for a number of high-end editorial and commercial clients for the past 15 years. He is a graduate of King’s College London and a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society.

Karolina Wiercigroch: Karolina is a London based food and travel photographer, specialising in culinary storytelling. Her work has appeared in a variety of magazines including National Geographic Traveller (UK), National Geographic Traveller Food, The Sunday Times, VOGUE, British GQ, Whetstone and Suitcase.

How to get published

Olly Puglisi (moderator): Olly has more than a decade of experience in photo editing, having worked at a range of publications including Time Out, Vogue, GQ and High Life before finding his home at National Geographic Traveller (UK). He works with photographers around the world to illustrate cover stories, city guides and photo-led features for print and online.

Yulia Denisyuk: Travel photographer and writer Yulia was born in Kazakhstan and grew up in Estonia. She embarked on a career in travel journalism after working for over a decade in the US military and for Fortune 500 companies. Her work has appeared in Lonely PlanetAfar and Condé Nast Traveller, among others. Yulia is based in Chicago, but is rarely there.

Bella Falk: Bella is a documentary producer-director, travel photographer and content creator based in London. She writes the multi-award-winning travel blog Passport & Pixels. She won the Best Photography award at the Travel Media Awards 2020. Her images and articles have been published by BBC Travel, Lonely Planet, The Telegraph and Paris Match among others. Her particular passions are wildlife, nature and taking portraits of colourful local characters. The most exciting place she’s ever wielded a camera is South Georgia, and the animal she’d most like to point her lens at next is a polar bear.

Brian Siambi: Travel and fashion photographer and graphic designer Brian is based wherever his creativity takes him. Brian worked for Kenya’s leading travel publication as creative lead, photographing and designing the publication. His work centres around documenting travel in its entirety, focusing on playing with light and how it lifts up a space. He particularly loves learning more about sustainable practices and how best to tell these stories. Over the years he has contributed to a number of global publications such as Condé Nast Traveller, National Geographic Traveller, Off and Atmos.

*External link. This event is organised by APL Media Limited, publishers of National Geographic Traveller (UK). Any personal data submitted will be processed in accordance with APL Media Limited's privacy policy, available here.

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