UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage


Enter the ISH annual photo competition on the theme of ‘Heritage through the Looking Glass’

22 June 2020

The UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage is pleased to invite UCL students and staff to enter its fourth annual photo competition.

Photo shows hands holding a camera lens, the lens reflects a view of a castle

How are you behind a lens? Do you see art in your research? Can your camera take your research to the next level?

The UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage is pleased to invite all UCL students and staff to enter our fourth annual photo competition.

This year we invite entries that capture the concept of ‘Heritage through the Looking Glass’.

Heritage through the Looking Glass

During 2020 Covid-19 pandemic, many people have found themselves at odds with their surroundings. 'Heritage through the Looking Glass' (an ode to Lewis Caroll) invites you to view heritage 'through a lens'. In a world where our daily rituals have been thrown out the window and so much of our social norms are 'backwards', the practice seems foreign to us. Maybe the ‘looking glass’ is our window, garden, front door, roof, patio or local streets, market or park. Or you could revisit old photographs and study them through the lens of our current situation...'through the looking glass', so to speak. Thus, we can reflect on our local environment and combine it with the perspective of the current global situation.  

With people forced to stay home where possible and make the most of the nearest facilities, and workplaces and cultural and heritage sites closing to avoid health risks. Our theme this year hopes to encourage entrants to showcase views of their communities or local area that may now hold a different value through the lens of the current situation.

This could be unexpected examples of heritage you hadn’t noticed before, discovered whilst taking your daily exercise closer to home. You may wish to document societal changes and how this effects our cultural heritage as we move in to what has been dubbed as the ‘new normal’. Whilst stuck at home you may even have found time to look at back at old photographs, and have reflected on how the world has changed now in light of the pandemic.


First prize – £100 e-gift card to use at ethicalshop.org or WH Smith
Joint runners-up prize – £50 e-gift card each to use at ethicalshop.org or WH Smith

Judging Panel

  • Professor May Cassar, UCL ISH Director
  • Marcel Reyez-Cortez, Visual Anthropologist and Artist
  • Ahmed Kawser, inaugural ISH photo comp winner
  • Maija Powell, BSEER Communications Manager

The judges are not eligible to take part in the competition and all entries will be judged anonymously.

How to enter

By entering you agree to the competition rules as outlined below.

Entries should be emailed to bseer-communications@ucl.ac.uk.

Each entry must include photographer’s name, department and position as well as a title and a short description to accompany your submission.

The closing date for entries is Monday 31 August 2020.

Previous winners

Browse the winning entries from previous years:

Terms & conditions

Competition rules
  • The competition is open to current and affiliated UCL staff and students only. Proof of current and affiliated staff or student id should be included with the entry.
  • Entrants can enter a maximum of three images.
  • The theme of the competition is ‘Cultural heritage through our window’.
  • This competition closes midnight 31 August 2020.
  • Entries should be emailed to bseer-communications@ucl.ac.uk. Each entry must include the title of the work, photographer’s name, UCL department and position and should not exceed 2MB.
  • Entries must be saved as JPEG files with the photographer’s email address included in the file name. Please ensure images are of maximum possible resolution and quality.
  • The images will be sent to the Judging Panel anonymously so that the decisions are impartial.
  • All entries must be the original work of the entrant. The entrants must be the sole owner of copyright of all photographs entered and must have obtained permission of anyone featured in the entries or their parents/guardians if children under 16. Entrants must not have breached any laws when taking their photographs.
  • UCL reserves the right to ask to see original files of any entries.
  • Entrants will retain copyright to the photographs that they submit. By entering the competition all entrants grant UCL royalty-free non-exclusive licence for publication and exhibition of their photographs in print, on websites or in any other media. No fees will be payable for any of the above uses. While we make every effort to credit photographers, we cannot guarantee that every use of the photographs will include photographers' name.
  • By entering, entrants will be deemed to have agreed to be bound by these rules.
  • Images that are deemed to be inappropriate or in breach of these terms will be disqualified from the competition. This includes images that may be offensive, previously published, copyrighted (by somebody other than the entrant) or otherwise contrary to the spirit of the competition.
  • UCL ISH reserves the right to amend these rules at any time.