Collaborative Photography in Prison

Monday, February 17, 2020 - 10:00

Open Eye Gallery is working in collaboration with Novus to deliver its first pilot collaborative photography project with learners and in-house IMedia staff at HMP Risley. The project will also seek to engage with family members of the learners, where sessions will be based both at HMP during family days and off-site at Open Eye Gallery.

Novus is the market leader in the provision of skills, employability and learning support to offenders and other ‘hard to reach’ individuals. With 23 years of experience of delivering in a custodial setting, we currently deliver from 53 prisons, 4 Young Offender Institutions and a Secure Training Centre. NOVUS believes creative expression can build confidence and enhance lives, as well as developing skills related to employment. Prisons can be quite insula and with restrictions on access to equipment and modern technology and; social media platforms - including the internet, - it can be very challenging to prepare our learners for the real world.

NOVUS recognise creative/professional use of photography offers many advantages – for example, most goods and services are promoted via photography online, and most people share their lives and advertise themselves by using photography and film on social media. Working with relevant arts professionals who work in this field will bring credibility and up to date knowledge, experience and skills into the classroom. Through the partnership with professional cultural partners, we can provide creative experiences for our learners and; improve their access to employment and; subsequently reduce their chances of reoffending. NOVUS hopes that this opportunity, although focused on photography, can develops wider skills, like responding to a brief, time management and other transferable skills that could be of benefit moving forwards more broadly.

The opportunity to question and work alongside an operating professional in any field gives learners a fresh insight into the real working world but also support in-staff to refresh their own standard skills and techniques. We see this as a development opportunity for staff, which in turn may have positive impact on future learners.

NOVUS and Open Eye Gallery understand the benefits of collaborating with high quality critically engaged photographic artists, and see this pilot as an opportunity for evaluating potential for future partnerships on socially engaged arts projects within HMP settings, and for developing arts as a tool for rehabilitation.


The Photographer will be expected to:

  • Deliver up to 12 half-day photography based sessions within the HMP setting. Please note these sessions with be in the morning (AM).
  • Attend an additional 2-3 show and tell and family days.
  • Deliver up to 10 half day sessions with family members based between the HMP setting and some sessions at Open Eye Gallery
  • To attend up to 3 internal review and reflection meetings (to be negotiated between the community and Head of Engagement for dates).
  • Attend up to 2 wider artist sharing labs during the projects duration to share feedback and peer review of other current projects being delivered within the Paul Hamlyn funded programmes.
  • Attend initial site visit and training sessions for working within a HMP setting if appropriate.
  • To work with the Open Eye Gallery’s Head of Engagement, HMP and Novus delivery team and project participants to discuss the selection and preparation of their work for a physical and digital exhibition if participants which to showcase work produced (please note this may be within the HMP setting and / or gallery setting).
  • Contribute to the monitoring data and evaluation reporting
  • Contribute up 1-2 written reflective blogs about the project, for Open Eye Gallery’s website and associated Socially engaged photography network (SEPN)


Artist fee (based on an estimated 27 half day sessions @ £200 allowing room for contingency if sessions are changed/ cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances) - £5400

Materials for workshops and delivery - £1000

Artist travel - £650

*There is an additional budget for participant access costs, marketing and exhibition production costs, which will be discussed and finalised with the successful candidate.


Deadline for submission of interest: Monday 17th February, 10am


-       Please submit up to 2 A4 sides describing why you are interesting in the role, what skills you can bring to the project and the potential lines of enquiries / approaches to delivering you would take when working with a) the HMP based learners and b) the family groups. Please note we envisage family groups to initially include work with Children as well as partners/ parents but this may shifts as the project develops and based on the focus from the family members involved.

-       Please consider Open Eye Gallery’s approach to co-authoring photography as a model of practice and NOVUS’s focus on supporting their learners to increase self-expression, and find new modes new creativity through this project.

-       A current CV including a website link if you have one.

-       Up to 8 images / video links exemplifying your work which you feel is most relevant to this project.


For more information on this comission and to apply go to Open Eye's website.



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