Last year we ran an open call for artists aged between 18 and 25 with our partners English Heritage Shout Out Loud, with the brief of making new work that explores ‘untold heritage’ and what heritage means to young people today.

We are now excited to share the news that four artists have now been chosen to realise these special commissions this Spring!

The artists – Kemka Ajoku, Abena Appiah, Megan Mechelle Dalton and Mia Parker-Tang – will create photography commissions at a range of English Heritage sites across England, from the border with Scotland to the Cornish coasts.

Kemka Ajoku is a London based artist who will work with Wrest Park in Bedfordshire to create work reflecting on history, tradition and colonisation and which also documents Black British youth, intertwining tradition and modernity.

Megan Mechelle Dalton, meanwhile, is a Yorkshire-based photographer who plans to re-tell the narrative of the War of the Roses through a new fashion editorial inspired by Yorkshire castles, reflecting the socio-economic breakdowns during the period which are still at play in society today.

Abena Appiah, a London-based photographer and filmmaker will seek to shine a light on the role of African Romans in Emperor Hadrian’s Britain, uniting the viewer in a shared history.

Mia Parker-Tang, a British-Chinese photographer living in Cambridgeshire, will work with props and light at coastal English Heritage sites including Tintagel Castle to produce works inspired by studio portraiture

The successful commissions were chosen by a panel of judges including artist Mahtab Hussain and Stuart Lawrence of the Steven Lawrence Day Foundation as well as Shoair Mavlian and Julia Bunneman, Director and Curator, Photoworks and Dr Dominique Bouchard, Head of Learning and Interpretation, English Heritage.

Shoair Mavlian, Director, Photoworks, said, “The work of all four artists captures a mood and feeling within the younger generation which I am excited to see unfold in their new bodies of work. ”

Dr Dominique Bouchard, Head of Learning and Interpretation at English Heritage, added, “Across more than 400 of the country’s most important historic places, English Heritage’s sites have been offering inspiration to artists for more than 6,000 years. Now, we are excited to get a new perspective on these places through the lenses of these exciting young artists. I can’t wait to see how they use their creative energy to engage the next generation with the stories they have to tell.”

England’s New Lenses judge Stuart Lawrence told us, “I am honoured to be a part of this initiative. Photoworks, Shout Out Loud and the Heritage Lottery Fund are offering a great opportunity for young photographers who are starting off in their careers to secure a paid residency and exhibition opportunity. I think it is a fantastic way to help them, through knowledge gained and publicity. An opportunity like this is priceless!”

The commission also includes mentoring to help the artists to develop their practice and a portfolio of work for the commission and associated public programme. We will also be making some new films with the artists about their work and process.

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