Resilient Heritage

2018 - 2022

Supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund


A project to increase access to, and ensure robust care of, Autograph's collection of photography


To secure Autograph's collection into the future and preserve the knowledge it contains


At our gallery in London, online and loans from the collection to exhibitions in the UK and abroad

about the project

Since its foundation in 1988, Autograph has collected photographic material which reflects our mission: to use photography to explore questions of cultural identity, race, representation, human rights and social justice. Our unique photography collection charts the contributions of diverse cultures in Britain over two centuries, a living archive of thousands of prints, negatives and slides; archive film; and digital and analogue contact sheets plus related ephemera.

Resilient Heritage builds on the success of three previous National Lottery Heritage Fund grants to support collection development projects which have enabled Autograph to significantly extend its collection and engage a wide public and professional audience. The project has allowed Autograph to catalogue and care for our collection, and share it online and physically.

At the heart of Resilient Heritage is consolidation: ensuring Autograph's collection is secured into the future by improving our collection standards and systems, as well as ensuring knowledge about the collection is preserved. 

what we've accomplished

4,500 artworks catalogued

We've input thousands of text entries into our collection database

897 loans to exhibitions

From our collection to exhibitions in the UK and abroad

200+ works shared online

On Autograph's website from our collection

19,000+ pageviews

Of webpages sharing work from Autograph's collection

79 attendees

At our online panel event about commissioning artists and diversifying collections


collection display

A new outdoor display on Autograph's building will launch 5 January 2023


collection care 

The Collection has been re-sleeved and re-boxed to improve standards of care and conservation


new collection database

As part of the project, we have implemented a new collections management system

collection Display at autograph


Recent Acquisition:
Journeys to Hope

A free outdoor display showcasing photographs that share the journeys of the Windrush generation. Launches 5 January 2023 at Autograph.

Read more

View online gallery

Online event


Through A Different Lens: Commissioning Artists, Diversifying Collections

Considering how we can work together towards diversifying our national collections and support artists in the making, and placing, of new works.

Watch back

The project In pictures

Design for Journeys to Hope collection display at Autograph

Works by Ingrid Pollard in Autograph's collection discussed at our online event Through A Different Lens


Works by Mahtab Hussain on display at Gallery Oldham, UK


Works by Omar Victor Diop on loan to Fotografiska, Sweden


Collection storage at Autograph


Works by Rotimi Fani-Kayode on loan to the Barbican, UK


An Autograph commission by Zanele Muholi on loan to Spelman College, USA


Works by Rotimi Fani-Kayode on loan to Georgetown University, USA


Cataloguing works in the new collection content management system


Works by Aida Silvestri on loan to the Museum of Sex, USA


Works by Raphael Albert toured to MAC Birmingham, UK


40+ works by James Barnor were loaned to Serpentine Galleries, UK

Caring for the collection at Autograph

Works from Autograph's collection by Lina Iris Viktor on loan at Fotografiska, Estonia


 Ten artist commissions from Autograph's collection on tour to Impressions Gallery, UK


Our collection discussed at the Through A Different Lens online event

Making the collection more visible online

On our website, Autograph has been sharing more of our collection. View a selection of artist commissions and online galleries from the collection below.


During Resilient Heritage, Autograph lent many artworks from our collection to institutions in the UK and abroad. Browse highlights from our collections loan programme below.


The entire team at Autograph worked on Resilient Heritage, and without each staff member's work and input this project would not have been possible. Special thanks to collections consultant Yunsun Choi.

supported by

With thanks to National Lottery players

Image credits:

Collection display at Autograph: Some of the thousands disembarking from the liner Begona at Southampton shortly before the Commonwealth Immigration Act came into force. 2nd July 1962 [detail]. Courtesy TopFoto.

Online event: Zanele Muholi, Bayephi III, Constitution Hill, Johannesburg, 2017 [detail]. Commissioned by Autograph © and courtesy Zanele Muholi.

The Project in Pictures: 1) Installation image from Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail The Dark Lioness, Spelman College, Atlanta. 2018. Photograph by Mike Jensen. Courtesy Spelman College Museum of Fine Art. 2) Installation image from James Barnor: Accra/London - A Retrospective, Serpentine Galleries, UK. 2021. Photograph by Zoë Maxwell. Courtesy Serpentine. 3) Installation image from Mahtab Hussain: YOU GET ME?, Gallery Oldham, Manchester. 2019. Courtesy Gallery Oldham. 4) Installation image from Rotimi Fani-Kayode (1955-1989), Georgetown University, Washington. 2022. Courtesy Georgetown University. 5) Installation image from Omar Victor Diop, Fotografiska, Sweden. 2022-2023. Courtesy Fotografiska. 6) Installation image from Lina Iris Viktor: Dark Testament, Fotografiska, Estonia. 2020. Courtesy Fotografiska. 7) Installation image from Reclaiming & Making: Art, Desire, Violence, Museum of Sex, New York. 2021-2022. Courtesy Museum of Sex. 8) Installation image from Masculinities: Liberation Through Photography, Barbican Art Gallery, London. 2020. Courtesy Barbican Art Gallery. 9) Installation image from Raphael Albert: Miss Black and Beautiful, Midlands Art Cenre, Birmingham. 2018. Courtesy Midlands Art Centre.

Making the Collection More Visible Online: Please click into each page to view the full commission

Collection on Loan: Please click into each page to view the full commission