England’s New Lenses: Commissions

New opportunity for emerging photographers between the ages of 18 and 25.

Four photographers will be selected for PAID commissions using English Heritage sites as inspiration to create new photographic work exploring alternative narratives and new voices of England.

Man sat in a cafe alone

For the second part of our England’s New Lenses programme, in partnership with Photoworks, we are seeking applications from young photographers keen to develop their skills with support from the Photoworks team and an experienced mentor.

The commissions will be completed between March and May 2021, including research, development, site visits, contact time with a mentor, and production of the artwork.

Four artists will be invited to select an English Heritage site of their choice as an opportunity to explore a place that has significance for them in some way. Using that site as inspiration, artists will create a new body of photographic work exploring alternative narratives and new voices of England, drawing out ideas about identity and its relationship to ‘Englishness’.

We want to present a diverse set of perspectives on heritage, based on the notion of heritage sites as places of significance and meaning, where the past and present interact. Photography offers a unique vantage point from which to explore this.

The four chosen photographers can challenge perceptions of what constitutes heritage, explore how and whether we all see ourselves reflected in heritage, and work to create a sense of belonging, ownership and relevance.

What the residency will entail...

Stage 1 - Research and development of a new body of artwork

You will be afforded behind the scenes access to English Heritage sites, collections, stores and offices as needed.

You will have access to site staff, historians, curators, conservators or gardeners (subject to availability/arrangement & facilitated by the Photoworks team) to support exploration of your chosen site, its history and collections.

Photoworks will match you with a mentor who will support you over two days, as well as receiving ongoing curatorial advice from the Photoworks team.

Physical access to staff and sites will depend on logistics and Covid-19 status/guidance.

Stage 2 - Production of a new body of work

The work will be inspired by, and created as a result of direct engagement with an English Heritage site (or sites) of your choice. The work must connect directly to your chosen site(s), and engage with project themes through site-specific histories and stories.

Although a list of sites where there are lesser-known stories to be explored is included below, we welcome proposals connected to any English Heritage site(s) and decisions will be based on the quality of the proposal.

Artists will not be required to live close to, or stay for extended periods at their chosen site, but will need to make repeat visits to the site. The number and duration of visits will be determined by need and budget restrictions. As such we strongly recommend taking your travel distance from a site into consideration when developing your proposal.

Stage 3 - Sharing your photography

We want to make sure your work has an audience, and that people have the opportunity to engage with your photography.

There will be an Instagram takeover of English Heritage’s Shout Out Loud account. Further use and sharing of the work by project partners, English Heritage and Photoworks, will be agreed at the beginning of the residency.

We hope to display new work created throughout England’s New Lenses to the public at one or more relevant English Heritage sites. This is yet to be confirmed.

Each artist will participate/feature in a short film about their work (to be confirmed) that will be shown at the exhibition venue and circulated on English Heritage, Shout Out Loud and Photoworks websites.

Stage 4 - Participation in a public programme

Following the creation of the work, we will be running public engagement events which may be virtual, or face to face, depending on Covid 19 restrictions.

This will include workshops with young people in 2021 (dates to be decided), where attendees will get to hear about the English Heritage site(s) you have been exploring and how you developed your response, supported by an experienced artist facilitator.

There will potentially be further opportunities to attend launches and other events where you may be asked to talk about your experience.

Kenilworth castle seen through a tree


We have highlighted a selection of English Heritage properties where we know there are fascinating and lesser told stories to explore. However, don’t feel you have to stick to the list, at this stage we are open to proposals relating to any English Heritage site(s).

North of England

Belsay Hall & Castle
Bolsover Castle
Brodsworth Hall & Gardens
Furness Abbey
Hadrian’s Wall
Mount Grace Priory
Richmond Castle
Rievaulx Abbey
Tynemouth Priory
Warkworth Castle
Wharram Percy Deserted Medieval Village

South of England

Audley End House and Gardens
Battle Abbey
Carisbrooke Castle
Dover Castle
Eltham Palace
Framlingham Castle
Kenwood House
Kirby Hall
Marble Hill House
Osborne House
Portchester Castle
Richborough Roman Fort
St Augustine’s Abbey
Tilbury Fort
Walmer Castle
Wrest Park

West of England

Ashby de la Zouch Castle
Beeston Castle
Derwentcote Steel Furnace
Hailes Abbey
Iron Bridge
Kenilworth Castle
Maiden Castle
Stott Park Bobbin Mill
Tintagel Castle
Witley Court and Gardens
Wroxeter Roman City

rocks on a beach
Child playing in a bluebell forest

Photoworks champions photography for everyone. Global in reach, we have been providing opportunities for artists and audiences since 1995. We don’t have a physical venue, but our online channels are always open. Our programme, which includes the Photoworks Festival – one of the UK’s longest-running photography festivals, brings new experiences to audiences and opens up new ways to encounter photography. Photoworks is committed to supporting young artists, helping to develop practice and support career progression.

Both organisations are committed to promoting inclusion and diversity.

The commissions are part of England’s New Lenses, a broader partnership between Photoworks and English Heritage, forming part of Shout Out Loud, English Heritage’s national youth engagement programme. England’s New Lenses is supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Youth Accelerator Fund.