Call for your photographs! Contribute to a new AI based artwork #SalfordDataSet

August 2020


We’re pleased to be working with artist and researcher Anna Ridler on a new commission that combines art, nature, technology and photography – and we’re calling for your photographs to help make this happen!

You can read more about the project background here, and more about Anna’s practice here.

Get involved and:
– Enjoy a local walk/explore nature nearby
– Be part of an exciting new artwork
– Contribute to innovative tech research
– Help tackle local pollution
– (and beat a bit of lockdown boredom!)

Deadline for your photos: Friday 30th October 2020

Call for photographs:

Anna requires thousands of images in order to ‘train’ an Artificial Intelligence computer programme – which will work to try and ‘understand’ the data. In response, it will then generate new images of its own, which will be exhibited as an artwork in 2021! (You can read more about how it all works here).

We’re looking for images of human-made (e.g. pollution) and natural specimens that you find in your local environment – such as your garden, street, or on a local walk, ideally in the Salford area, or the North West of England. You’ll need to photo them on a light or white background (see tips below).

The work will build up a fascinating picture of our local environments during lockdown. (Has nature thrived? has pollution reduced?) as well as considering our relationships with images, nature, science and technology (how do we understand and categorise the worlds around us?). Your photographs will be a valuable contribution to the project.

You can choose to submit your name with your photo, and we’ll make sure to credit your contribution every time we exhibit the work. The final artwork will also be acquired into our permanent collection.

How to get involved: 

It is easy to contribute – follow these steps:

1) Read our safety tips & terms!
2) On a walk around your garden or local area, carefully collect natural or human-made (pollution) specimens
(see example list below)
3) Photograph the item on a white/light background (tips below)
4) Send your photos (plus your name/location) to

1) Safety tips:

  • Be careful with anything you collect – don’t handle anything dangerous, broken, contaminated or dirty.
  • Don’t pick any plants that could sting or be poisonous.
  • We recommend gloves / a litter-picker / or other protection
  • Don’t take anything that is a single or rare plant – make sure they are plentiful nearby!
  • Only explore areas you know well (young folks – go with a family member)
  • Make sure you have permission to take the item if necessary
    (e.g. if from a garden that isn’t yours!)
  • Please follow all the latest Covid-19 guidance – do not put yourself or others at any risk. 
  • Participation is fully at your own discretion & own responsibility

2) What to photograph

We are collecting images in two categories: 

  • Natural specimens
    might include: a flower, stem, branch, a weed, or a leaf. You could collect an item that has already fallen from the plant, or carefully remove just a small piece.
  • Human-made objects
    Might include: discarded or lost items, rubbish, evidence of pollution/littering – bottles, cans, crisp packets, wrappers, papers

3) Photo tips

  • Take the photo on a plain white or very light coloured background
    (could be – a plain piece of paper or white wall. Or bring home and use a kitchen counter, floor, duvet cover etc).
  • Take in ‘portrait’ rotation (not landscape). See examples below!
  • Centre the item in the image
  • Avoid shadows on the image, and don’t include any other details / items / your hands etc.
  • You can use your phone or a camera – try and get the best quality you can
  • Take as many images as you like! The more the better for the project
  • Any image size is OK, but please avoid sending huge files to our inbox.

4) How to submit

  • By emailing you agree to the Safety Tips above, and the Consent of Use below

  • Email us at: 
  • Deadline: Friday 30th October 2020
  • If you’d like to be credited, please include your First Name, Last Name, and City/Town

That’s it!

Thanks so much for your contribution!
To find out about the project progress, find us on:

  • Socials: #SalfordDataSet
  • Facebook @UoSArts
  • Twitter @UoSArts
  • Instagram: @uos_artcollection

    After taking your photograph, we encourage you to recycle or dispose of any human-made/pollution materials that you have picked up. For plant matter – you could add to your compost pile / green waste bin where possible, press the specimen to keep, or try and root & regrow it!

Consent of Use

  • By submitting your content to us you authorise that we may store, use and edit it for our project.
  • For queries please contact or on our social media above.
  • For project updates, contact us on to opt-in to our newsletter (a monthly email about our programmes) or you can follow us on social media!
  • Your emails will be received by the project team (UOS Art Collection and artist Anna Ridler). Your email address will not be shared with third parties, and will not be used for any marketing purposes. Emails will be deleted within 12 months after use.
  • You agree that your content may be edited and otherwise altered at the sole discretion of the artist involved in the project and used in whole or in part for any and all broadcasting, non-broadcasting, audio/visual, and/or exhibition purposes in any manner or media, in perpetuity, throughout the world, royalty-free.
  • If you choose to supply your name, it will be included in an alphabetical list of all contributors alongside the artwork. This list will remain in our permanent archives along with the work. If you do not wish to be acknowledged please let us know.
  • The final artwork will likely be a series of photographs, print or video, produced through artificial intelligence. Therefore we cannot guarantee at this point exactly if/how your work will be visibly displayed in the final work.