Freelance Photographer / Creative Practitioner Vacancy


Teaching Things Differently – Artist Call Out



The Forge requires two photographers/artist practitioners experienced in working within educational settings to join our team as part of an exciting new Paul Hamlyn Foundation funded Teacher Development programme – Teaching Things Differently. This new programme aims to use photography as a medium to support the teaching of reading and writing skills within schools. This project builds on The Forge’s previous Paul Hamlyn Foundation funded research work that explored the impact of a photography/creative writing intervention on the attainment of year 6 and year 7 transition children. We will harness the learning from this previous programme to create a new two-year teacher development programme in partnership with seven North East primary schools. Please note that this commission is to help us deliver the first year of the programme, however further commissions to support year two delivery may be possible.


Context for this Work

We believe that photography is an inclusive medium that offers an exciting pathway for literacy development. Creating and analysing photographs has been shown to offer students alternate ways to communicate their understanding, make meaning, and develop metacognition (Rowsell & Kendrick 2013; Ives, D, 2011, Seglem & Witt 2009). Photography uses visual cinematographic aesthetics which stimulate the brain to prompt creative responses and, as the students have no prior “rote learned” frameworks to cap their creativity, photography allows students to take risks and experiment. The use of a visual art-form to explore literacy simplifies narrative craft, making it more accessible to children who do not have a strong history of reading or writing. Photography is also an egalitarian artform – children can take and discuss their photographs easily and need little prior understanding to be able to take effective images. Since children learn to use cameras from an early age, this project builds on their existing skills (ie their “hidden literacies”); the children’s prior experience with cameras will give teachers a creative platform to build upon, using a medium children are familiar with. Visual literacy methods have been shown to be particularly successful in engaging disengaged learners.


The Artist Brief

This Continuing Professional Development and Learning programme focuses on improving the way teachers deliver literacy lessons within primary settings. This programme is informed by our belief that traditional notions of literacy, and the way we teach literacy, should be challenged and replaced by a more inclusive pedagogy that includes visual and digital literacies.

This will counter the narrow formulaic and behaviourist approach to teaching literacy through a more open-ended exploration of alternate visual literacy approaches, co-created by the two lead photographers and the participating teachers. Teacher participants will be guided to explore the importance of learning “through” photography in order to improve pupils’ literacy and creative writing skills, as well as learning “in” photography, opening up creative opportunities for communication and “meaning-making” within an alternative artform.


The Role

We are seeking two photographers who will be able to work collaboratively with primary school teaching staff, focusing on the extrinsic benefits of applying photography skills to support the literacy curriculum as well as the intrinsic benefits of photography itself.

The focus of our inquiry is to see whether visual literacies (through photography in the first instance) can broaden teachers’ toolkits of literacy strategies and improve academic outcomes. Whilst the immediate focus is to support teachers to use images and photography to support literacy (reading and writing) within the classroom, the broader aim is to influence whole school pedagogies and learning ecologies in visual and other multi-modal literacies.

Our previous Paul Hamlyn Foundation photography based pilot delivered promising results, evidencing notable impact on pupil engagement and outcomes. This new long-term, teacher-focused inquiry will test whether teachers can deliver similar outcomes if they are mentored and supported in their practice by reflective artist practitioners – photographers who are empathetic to the vision of this work and who perceive themselves as co-learners alongside the teachers involved.


Core Tasks

  • Work with The Forge team to co-design the CPDL programme
  • Contribute to six CPDL units consisting of four training sessions – training/bridging/ delivery and reflection
  • Actively engage with the broader learning aims of the project
  • Deliver group and one-to-one training with teachers
  • Provide individualised support and mentoring to the teachers throughout the programme
  • Facilitate reflective learning triangles with teachers and senior school leaders
  • Shadow and observe teachers
  • Support teachers to create literacy resources and schemes of work
  • Support the development of the in-school exhibitions
  • Present your work at launch events
  • Represent the project at external meetings
  • Contribute to evaluation and ongoing review of the programme


Key Skills – essential

Applicants for the photographer roles should demonstrate their ability and previous experience in:

  • Teaching practical photography skills to adults and children
  • Teaching editing and image manipulation using software and applications
  • Understanding the relationships between image and text – how “meaning making” can be shared across disciplines and art forms, how image-making skills can relate to creative writing development
  • Participatory/engagement skills – have a clear understanding of what makes a “good workshop” and how you might use photography to engage children and young people through a range of digital methods and platforms
  • Organising and curating exhibitions and distributing work; candidates should be able to give simple guidance to teacher practitioners on how to curate, present and share children’s work, liaise with printers
  • Good understanding of Arts Council England’s 7 Quality Principles guiding work with children and young people


Person Specification

  • Clear interest in – and understanding of educational or arts-based research
  • Interest in visual literacy
  • Knowledge of primary curriculum
  • Strong collaborative and team working skills
  • Able to work autonomously
  • Adaptability, self-reliance, sense of humour
  • Experience of coaching or mentoring
  • Commitment to improving outcomes for disadvantaged young people
  • Flexible, reflective, self-critical practitioner
  • Experience of leading a project in a formal educational setting
  • Experience of project leadership, documentation, evaluation
  • DBS checked
  • Public Liability Insurance



  • Exhibition or distribution of own work within the last three years



Deadline for applications 5pm on 17 May 2019
Interviews 10 & 11 June 2019
Planning meetings with the team w/c 24 June 2019
In school shadowing/observations September 2019
Programme delivery commences September 2019
Locations County Durham, Darlington, Northumberland
Number of days per artist 28 days
Fee per artist – year one £250 per day (£7,000)

Please note that this project will involve regular travel to schools in and across the North East and that a proportion of the fee covers these costs; no additional travel payments will be made.



If you would like to discuss the opportunity with a member of The Forge team, please email us at and we will make a telephone appointment.

To apply please email your CV with a covering letter of no more than 2 sides of A4 to by 5pm on Friday 17 May 2019.

Please put Teaching Things Differently as the subject header.

The covering letter should address the following:

  • A summary of your understanding of this brief and what it aims to achieve, alongside a description of how you can help deliver this
  • How your track record relates to this specific project
  • Any relevant web links to your work or current/past participatory programmes
  • Evidence of previous relevant schools-based work
  • Examples of any previous collaborative projects you have delivered
  • Contact details of two referees – preferably including one from a school that you have worked with

Please note that all candidates must be DBS checked and have appropriate Public Liability Insurance.


About The Forge

The Forge uses the arts to improve the life-chances of children and young people, particularly those from disadvantaged communities. We achieve this by delivering creative programmes in schools, offering children the opportunity to participate in and experience a range of different art-forms. The majority (95%) of our programme occurs in places of least cultural engagement (Active People Survey) and focuses on overcoming barriers that prevent people from accessing arts and culture. Last year, as part of our NPO remit, we worked with more than 70 schools, provided training for 171 adults and reached 11,392 children. As the region’s leading arts in education agency, we are very keen to develop further evidence of the impact of the arts and especially to show its effectiveness in supporting disadvantaged and marginalised young people. Please check out our website for more information