phonar nation FAQ


What is Phonar Nation?

Phonar Nation is a free online photography class, open to anyone in the world. Phonar is short for photography and narrative. The name for the class comes from a university course — #Phonar — created by award-winning British photographer Jonathan Worth. He also created Phonar Nation, which he calls “the sum of all us storytellers all over the world.”

How do I sign up for the class?
Go to, and click on any lesson that interests you. If you want to earn a digital badge or enter to enter to win weekly prizes, go to, create an account and take the Phonar Nation classes on that website. Cities of Learning participants (Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Los Angeles, Pittsburg, Washington D.C), join the challenge through the city website. More info here.

What will I learn?
The goal is for you to begin to read and understand pictures, and then to use them to tell powerful stories.

What equipment will I need?
A smart mobile device, such as a phone with a camera and Internet connection, or a digital camera and computer for uploading photos and connecting online.

Scissors, glue, sticky-tape and old magazines/newspapers are helpful for some of the tasks, though not strictly necessary. For optional tasks, such as the book-making challenge, some additional craft materials are helpful.

What if I have a question or get stuck on a lesson?
Phonar Nation is all about problem solving. Often, there isn’t just one right answer — this isn’t school. Feel free to adapt the challenges to suit your interests. If you’re really stuck, then head over to the calendar page to see when the next live online hangout is and you can ask Jonathan directly. In a rush? Post questions to the Phonar Nation network via twitter @phonarnation or use the #Phonarnation hashtag on social media.

Why is this class free?
Because we believe access to education is everyone’s right, not a privilege.

How are you able to offer this course for free?
Phonar Nation is made possible by the efforts of individuals like Amanda, Claudia, Crystle, David, James, Jamieson, Jonathan, Maritess, Mimi, Mizuko, Miss Phelan and Tara, and through the support of institutions like the University of California Humanities Research Institute, Digital Media and Learning Research Hub, Connected Learning Alliance, MacArthur Foundation, Digital Youth Network, World Press Photo, OgilvyOne and the International Center of Photography.