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Inviting Applicants for the 2024 Photographer in Residence

An exciting new opportunity for photographers

Tuesday, 17 October 2023
Image of Glendalough

Glendalough, Co.Wicklow. Tilbrook Collection. (TIL 539)

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) / National Library of Ireland (NLI) Photographer in Residence

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the EPA has sponsored the National Library of Ireland (NLI) to create a residency for a photographer to creatively engage with, and produce original digital work which will become part of the photographic collections in the National Library of Ireland.

Commencing in 2024 and working over a period of four consecutive seasons (Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter), producing no less than 120 digital images (minimum 30 digital images capturing each season) the photographer in residence will capture a snapshot in time of the human experience of the Irish environment. The photographer will be resident on the island of Ireland for the twelve month period. The successful applicant will have access to the expertise of the Environmental Protection Agency, and will be supported with access to data and specialist knowledge on the environment.

The primary function of the project is to create a documentary record of the state of the environment in the Republic of Ireland through an engaging collection of photographs. There will be a focus on exploring the richness and diversity of the environment, as well as the challenges facing our environment.  The photographs should explore the human experience, including challenge and opportunity, throughout the year and in different environments and locations. One key output will be an online exhibition hosted on the NLI website (www.nli.ie) to disseminate key environmental messages to a national audience. It is our ambition that this project will help to spark a national dialogue on key environmental messages.

This collaboration will create a permanent photographic record of different aspects of the impact of human interaction with the environment in both positive and negative ways. The commissioned body of digital photographic images created will become part of the photographic collections of the NLI and the subject of an online exhibition hosted by the NLI.

About the EPA
The EPA is an independent regulatory body established in 1992. Its purpose is “to protect, improve and restore our environment through regulation, scientific knowledge and working with others”. The EPA has a broad environmental remit and plays a key role in environmental regulation, provision of knowledge and advocacy for the environment. Further information in relation to the EPA is available on our website www.epa.ie.

Please see further information here: EPA-strategic-plan-2022-2026


About the National Library of Ireland
The National Library of Ireland is the library of record for Ireland; our collections are permanent, and accessible by all at our historic buildings in Dublin and online via our website www.nli.ie. Established in 1877, our mission is to collect, protect and share the material that comprises Ireland’s literary and documentary heritage, in whatever form it takes. We care for more than 12 million items on behalf of the State for the people of Ireland.

Key NLI photographic collections:
The National Library of Ireland houses over 5 million photographs of Ireland from the 1840s to the present day. The Library holds the world’s largest Irish-related photographic collection, covering the period from the beginning of photography in the mid-1800s to the early 21st century.

The Photographer in Residence can explore and respond to NLI archival photographs through the online catalogue (https://catalogue.nli.ie/) and juxtapose/examine changes in the environment over the last 30 years and longer.

Suggested online historic photographic collections may be of interest including the Lawrence Collection (https://catalogue.nli.ie/Collection/vtls000313414), the Lawrence Photographic Project Collection (https://catalogue.nli.ie/Collection/vtls000313217), and the Morgan Collection (https://catalogue.nli.ie/Collection/vtls000033928). For further information, please see here: https://www.nli.ie/collections/our-collections/photographs

Many newspaper articles have featured environmental related stories as reported on over many decades. The Photographer in Residence may want to explore our online collections which have been digitised or by appointment with reading room staff in the NLI reading rooms. Please see more information here: https://www.nli.ie/collections/our-collections/newspapers

Use of material in the National Library’s collections as part of the work will be by agreement with the National Library of Ireland, and it is recommended that out of copyright material is used where possible. It will be the responsibility of the photographer in residence to obtain copyright permission for the use of any material in copyright.

NLI collection policy:
The National Library of Ireland is mandated to “conserve, restore, maintain and enlarge [its]… collection…for the benefit of the public and to establish and maintain a record of library material (including material relating to the Irish language) in relation to Ireland and to contribute to the provision of access by members of the public to material relating to other countries”.

Our collecting focus is Ireland, meaning the island of Ireland and the Irish experience elsewhere. We collect material relating to places, personalities, individuals, groups, organisations, events, activities, experiences or themes of significant national or international relevance to Ireland, or the experience of living in Ireland. For further information, please see our Collection Development Policy: NLI Collections Development Policy

Deposit for long term preservation & access:
The photographic work produced under this residency will be deposited with the National Library of Ireland at the end of the Residency under a NLI Deposit Agreement co-signed by the photographer and a representative of the National Library of Ireland. The digital images will be transferred to the National Library for long term preservation and access.

Technical requirements:
The commissioned photographer will work closely with the National Library of Ireland’s Digital Collections team to identify the optimal file format and descriptive metadata needed (eg. title, location, brief description) for long term preservation and access to the digital photographs deposited with the NLI as part of this residency. It is the sole responsibility of the commissioned photographer to create and deliver the descriptive metadata agreed with the NLI.

Intellectual property and Licensing:
The commissioned photographer will apply a Creative Commons CC-BY or CC-BY-ND licence to all digital photographic work deposited with the National Library of Ireland as part of this residency. Creative Commons licences give the photographer a standardised way to grant public permission to use their work under copyright law and provide clarity for the public on how the digital photographs can be re-used. The specific CC-BY or CC-ND licences to be applied to work commissioned for this collaborative project and produced during the residency will provide free use of these digital photographs by re-users including, but not limited to, members of the public, the Environmental Protection Agency and National Library of Ireland, under the terms of either licence.

Location: The Photographer in Residence must be resident in the island of Ireland, and will respond to the brief by selecting locations and subjects of interest from throughout the Republic of Ireland. Expert input, suggestions, and site visits (where applicable and possible) can be facilitated by the EPA. The photographer can also select other sites around the country, for example rural, urban, coastal, lakes and rivers. Research into the NLI collections can be undertaken remotely through our online catalogue. The Photographer in Residence is also welcome to apply for a Reader’s Ticket and access archive material through the main reading rooms.

Format of the project:
It is envisaged that the project will span 12 months, from January/February 2024-January/February 2025. The Photographer in Residence will submit a minimum of 30 digital images to NLI/EPA capturing each season. This residency requires an overall minimum of 120 digital images photographed and submitted over four consecutive seasons.

Throughout their residency, the photographer will work remotely on relevant NLI online collections, and onsite with EPA staff by appointment, to create a series of digital photographs (no photographic prints required) and will have the opportunity to participate in a small number of in-person and online public engagement activities. Please note the photographer will use their own equipment and studio space during this residency. An online exhibition of selected photographs will be launched by the NLI once the body of digital work has been deposited and transferred into the NLI for preservation and access as part of the national collection.

Maximum budget for the successful candidate:
€24,500 to include all vat (if relevant), fees, materials, travel, subsistence and accommodation. As part of the submission process we will invite each photographer to give us a proposal on how this budget will be deployed across a range of activity and to include the number of days they expect to be on site nationwide. Please see attached Photographer in Residence application form.

Before this residency is awarded, the successful photographer will be required to produce a valid and current Tax Clearance Certificate.

Proposed timeline:

  • Press Release / Call for Submissions: Oct 2023
  • Submission deadline: November 2023
  • Select photographer in residence: January 2024
  • Onboarding & project commencement (including identifying / testing file format and metadata):  Q1/Q2 2024
  • Photographic submissions per season (minimum 30 digital images capturing each season per quarter submitted to NLI/EPA for review): Q2/3 2024, Q3/4 2024, Q1/2 2025
  • Project completed: Q1/Q2 2025
  • Deposit, transfer and cataloguing of photographic collection: Q3 2025 – Q4 2025

The deadline for receipt of applications is 17:00 (GMT) on 22 November 2023.

Please see below for application form: 


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