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As of November 2022, Art UK no longer accepts general pitches for new stories. Instead, Art UK invites pitches that meet the criteria outlined below. Please read the guidance carefully and specify which funding category your pitch fits into.


Stories on Art UK

With almost 5 million annual visitors, part of Art UK's mission is to tell compelling, illustrated stories through the art in UK collections – as represented in Art UK's database.

Art UK's audience includes art enthusiasts: people already knowledgeable about art. However, we also want our content to be enjoyed by people who don't think of themselves as art lovers – we have found that amazing stories can be told when art intersects with science, history, fashion or pop culture. For this reason, we like to publish stories on wider themes as well as writing that is purely about art and artists.

Art UK is always seeking pitches about diverse or underrepresented subjects, for example, stories relating to women artists, LGBTQ+ history, Black history...

While some stories are produced internally or by staff at art collections, we also commission writers on a freelance basis as part of the categories outlined below. Anyone is welcome to pitch an idea – especially writers from underrepresented backgrounds.

Pitches must:

  1. reference some of the 300,000 artworks in the Art UK database

  2. relate to one of the following funding categories:
  • Pre-19th-century European art
  • 20th- and 21st-century art
  • Drawings
  • Scotland / Scottish art and artists, by writers living in Scotland
  • Wales / Welsh art and artists, by writers living in Wales
  • Northern Ireland / Northern Irish art and artists, by writers living in Northern Ireland

Guidance

Length

Stories can be anywhere from around 800 to 1,800 words (Art UK will advise when commissioning). We believe including relevant illustrations is more important than the word count, so recommend building your pitch around the available artwork images. As a rough guide, we will want to show a relevant image approximately every 300 words.

Tone

We publish for a 'general audience', meaning our content is not academic. We do, however, expect our contributors to send us writing that is well researched, thought provoking and offers refreshing angles on visual culture. 

Time sensitivity

Think about whether your piece is:

  • reactive and topical – relates to current issues, exhibitions or publications
  • 'evergreen' – always relevant, no matter when a reader comes across it

Art UK publishes both reactive and evergreen content. Reactive content may require a strict deadline or quick turnaround.

Examples

Some of our most popular stories include:

We are not looking for...

Opinion pieces, experimental poems or prose, or stories that are completely unrelated to visual culture more broadly.

Please also consider that some artistic mediums are more difficult to illustrate, e.g. video art, live performance.

How to pitch

Send your pitch to pitches@artuk.org.

Please include:

  • a brief statement (no more than 250 words) outlining your idea
  • the funding category your pitch fits into
  • a brief note about you and whether you've published any cultural writing online before (not essential)
  • links to some of the relevant artworks/artists on Art UK

Flag if the story is time sensitive.

We prefer pitches but will consider submissions: contributors may send unsolicited finished pieces if they wish, but it is recommended writers submit a brief initially. This is because we may think something is unsuitable or want to suggest a slightly different angle.

If a pitch is accepted, an Art UK editor will negotiate a copy deadline, specify the fee and provide editorial guidelines.