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Young Writer in Residence

Open Call | October 2023

Following our inaugural young writer residency in 2022, we’re now looking for our Young Writer in Residence 2024.

Aged 18-24 and interested in writing and contemporary art? Whether you see yourself as an artist, as a writer, or as someone experimenting with the written form, our Young Writer in Residence scheme offers one young creative the opportunity to work on their writing practice in the context of a contemporary art gallery.

How to apply?

We’re inviting submissions for original pieces of writing that respond to the artworks on display as part of our Autumn 2023 Season of exhibitions.  This might be a poem, essay, article, review, piece of experimental prose or something else entirely. The winning entry will be invited to take up the residency which will run from Late January – April 2024.

The deadline for entries is 4 December, 9am. Please complete this application form to enter.

Submissions should be no longer than 800 words and must be original and unpublished. 

We aim to provide short feedback for all submissions; however, in the case of an unprecedented number of entries, this may not be possible.

The winner, and runners up, will be announced in January 2023.

Runner ups will receive a £50 voucher to spend at Whitechapel Gallery’s Koenig Bookshop, and their piece will be featured on the Whitechapel Gallery website alongside the winning submission.

Who can apply?

Those aged 18-24 living or working in London, with an interest or background in contemporary art may apply.

We are particularly interested in receiving submissions from those who are residents of Tower Hamlets, Newham, and Barking & Dagenham, and are from backgrounds currently underrepresented in the arts.

Please note you must have right to work in the UK.

What is a Young Writer in Residence?  

Since 2009, Whitechapel Gallery has invited writers and artists to take up the position of Writer in Residence. The Young Writer in Residence sister programme offers early career creatives with writing as a key part of their practice to take part in a season long residency to support them to develop their craft.

The Young Writer in Residence receives:

  • A residency fee of £500
  • A commission to create a new short piece of writing to be published on the Whitechapel Gallery website (and in a partner publication, where agreed)
  • The opportunity to programme an event at the Gallery, as part of our Young Creatives Night strand
  • Complimentary tickets to exhibitions and public programme events during their residency season
  • Meetings with Whitechapel Gallery staff and relevant programme partners to support the Young Writer in Residence’s career development



What should my submission be about? Your submission should in some way relate to Autumn 2023 Season of exhibitions at Whitechapel Gallery, comprising of Nicole Eisenmann: What Happened*,  Anna Mendelssohn: Speak, Poetess, Johanna Billing: Each Moment Presents What Happens, It All Starts With a Thread. We expect this might relate to your encounter with a specific artwork or theme within one of these exhibitions, but are very open to submissions which also relate to your experience within the gallery environment more generally.

*Please note Nicole Eisenmann: What Happened is a ticketed exhibition. Free entry is available to this exhibition on Thursday evenings from 6pm-9pm.

A limited number of free tickets for this exhibition are also available for alternative time slots each week for conducting research for a Young Writer in Residence submission. Please email tickets@whitechapelgallery.org to enquire about these.

Can I apply as part of a pair or collective? Yes. You would need to be individually eligible for the opportunity, and submit each of your details via the submission form. The position and a single fee would be awarded to the collective.

Is studio space part of this residency? This is not an in-person residency at Whitechapel Gallery. However, access to working space at the gallery on occasion during the residency period can be discussed and provided subject to availability.

What is the time commitment? This residency is designed to work around the resident’s other commitments, and it is up to the Young Writer in Residence’s discretion (in dialogue the Curator: Youth Programmes) to determine how much time they would like to spend on their residency.

What would the new piece of writing produced during the residency need to be about? The residency is your opportunity to explore what it is you’d like to write about, and dedicate time to writing it. The piece is expected to relate in some way to the Spring 2024 of exhibitions at Whitechapel Gallery, and could relate closely or more broadly to a particular artwork, theme, or experience present in any of the exhibitions or in the Gallery environment more broadly.

If you have any further questions please contact: