The Grange Prize, the publicly voted $50,000 Canadian photography honour, is casting a wider, more international net and also hoping to shape the next generation of photo artists.

The revamped prize, which recognizes a living and active photographer, is being renamed the Aimia | AGO Photography Prize, organizers revealed on Monday in Toronto.

"The prize will honour the core mission of the original Grange Prize, which is to engage the public in a dialogue about contemporary photography by connecting people with extraordinary Canadian and international talent, allowing the public to choose the winner," AGO director Matthew Teitelbaum said in a statement.

The Art Gallery of Ontario and the Aeroplan loyalty program firm established the Grange Prize to shine a light on contemporary photography. It has been open to Canadians and photographers from a different international region each year.

Aimia — Aeroplan's parent company — has decided to increase its role in the annual artistic honour. As part of the changes, the renamed prize will now be open to candidates from around the globe every year.

Moving forward, eight leading photography critics, curators and artists — both Canadians as well as international experts — chosen by organizers will each nominate two artists for the prize. These semi-finalists will form a long list of contenders.

A judging panel of three experts, led by a curator-juror from the Toronto-based AGO, will then whittle these candidates down to a short list. The finalists will always include one Canadian.

Finally, as before, the public will determine each year's winner via online vote.

Past winners have included Winnipeg's Sarah Anne Johnson, Mexico photojournalist Marco Antonio Cruz, Toronto-based Kristan Horton and British photographer Jo Longhurst.

Student-targeted scholarship

The organizers have also increased the overall prize money to accommodate a new scholarship program to recognize student photographers "whose artwork displays extraordinary potential in the field of photography," said Aimia CEO Vince Timpano.

For the first edition, Ryerson University, the Emily Carr University of Art & Design and six other respected Canadian schools will each select a representative to compete for the Aimia | AGO Photography Prize Scholarship. Both Canadian or international students studying in Canada and entering his or her final year of a bachelor's degree of fine arts in photography are eligible. 

A jury will determine three winners. The prize includes payment of the winners' final year's tuition. Each school will also receive an honorarium of $1,000. Eventually, the goal is also to expand the number of participating schools.

The first long list for the revamped prize will be unveiled in July.