Far beyond initial expectations, Make History turned out to be a milestone project.
Although featuring real stories in people’s own words and images really did build that much sought-after bond with Lee’s user base, nobody had any idea of the proportions that the project would take on.
The campaign effectively spawned a new channel of communication, attracting and involving users of all ages and from all walks of life, and engaging them in a shared dialogue within its community. And even though the entries ranged between a great number of different cultures and the themes addressed were wildly diverse, there was a collective feel to the campaign that fostered a sense of unity and belonging, an arena in which different stories could play off each other, thus turning it into something far greater than the sum of its parts.
Make History officially went live in January 2007 and over the following two years, no fewer than 16,109 entries were submitted (from some 90 different countries around the world), of which 1,915 were featured online and 173 in print, published in many of the most prestigious magazines across Europe.
By the end of December 2008, the very best 101 picture stories had been shortlisted. The choice of one overall winner was made on February 25 2009 by the panel of judges: Veronique Kolasa (Le Book), Frank Kalero (Ojo de Pez) and Terry Jones (i-D Magazine).
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The title of the winning work is The Weak in Wonderland. The author, presented with a prize of 50.000 Euro, is Rossella Dimichina, from Ferrara, Italy. The winning work, together with the other 100 shortlisted picture stories, was showed at the Revel gallery in Milan and displayed in the Lee flagship stores in major cities across Europe.
The enthusiasm of its vast public, as well as the quantity and quality of the entries from all across the world, convinced Lee to turn Make History into an annual award.