Art UK calls for photographers for public sculpture project

03 March 2018

Society news

Art UK Members will recall reading in the RPS Journal of a project from Art UK which aimed to photograph all sculpture in UK public collections and public spaces. A pilot workshop was undertaken in Bath with several members of the Archaeology and Heritage Group, led by Keith Evans. Art UK is now ready launch this has and released the following call:


Art matters. It enriches people’s lives.

At Art UK we work with the UK’s public art collections to showcase their artworks to the world. The art that we put online is for enjoyment, learning and research.

Our work includes:

  • Photographing and digitising art collections
  • Producing stimulating content to inspire discovery and learning
  • Creating opportunities for public participation both online and offline
  • Sharing the benefits of scale and technology with all public collections
  • Enriching artwork records through crowdsourcing expertise

There are already over 200,000 artworks on Art UK. The art is from museums, universities, town halls, hospitals and even a lighthouse. It is spread over 3,250 venues from the Shetland Islands to the Isles of Scilly. Much of the art isn’t usually on display in real life and a high proportion had not been photographed before we started our work in 2003.

At the moment it’s mainly oil paintings with a small and growing number of watercolours and other works on paper that partner collections have added to the site.

We will soon be adding the nation’s sculpture collection of the last thousand years. The first of some 170,000 sculptures will join the site in early 2018.

Art UKArt UK Sculpture is an exciting, three-year, UK-wide initiative using digital and physical engagement to transform the way people access and learn about sculpture.

The project will catalogue and photograph the nation’s sculpture collections from the last 1000 years, to create the first ever comprehensive record of the UK’s publicly owned sculpture. This will be made freely available on the Art UK website for anyone and everyone to enjoy.

Alongside this we will work in partnership with local community and youth groups, schools, universities, artists and collections to run a nationwide programme of activities; over 3 years we will deliver 950 training and volunteering opportunities, 75 participation events, 125 Masterpieces in Schools events and 60 sculpture films.

Seven partners will work alongside Art UK to deliver the project: the BBC, Public Monuments and Sculpture Association, Culture Street, Factum Foundation, Royal British Society of Sculptors, Royal Photographic Society and VocalEyes.

You can find out more about Art UK at:

For the outdoor public sculpture aspect of this exciting project, we are looking for volunteers in all parts of the country to help us through a wide range of roles, including researchers, data entry people and photographers.


A workshop for photographers is being planned for early June and Art UK is initially looking for volunteer photographers in the following areas: Liverpool and Merseyside, Birmingham, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, County Durham, Cleveland, Warwickshire, Greater Manchester, Shropshire, Worcestershire, Bristol, Westminster, Chelsea and Kensington, Cheshire, Lancashire, Cumbria, Sheffield and South Yorkshire, East Sussex, West Sussex, South Wales, and Glasgow. Other areas will follow on.

If you would like to find out more, or register your interest in becoming a volunteer, please contact: Dr Anthony McIntosh, Public Sculpture Manager:

The images show Kanagawa by William Pye, in Selsey and Keith photographing in Bath during the pilot workshop. The RPS is a supporting partner with this project and we would encourage members to participate.

Dr Michael Pritchard FRPS
Chief Executive