We publish stories about health and human experience written by a wide range of storytellers. Our words and pictures make connections, provoke new thinking and share lived experiences.
Everything we commission goes through a collaborative editorial process and we pay you for your work.
What do we need to know?
If you would like to work with us, email us a short paragraph summarising the story you would like to tell. This pitch should:
- Give an outline of the story – what happened? And to whom, when, and where did it happen? What’s the bigger importance or implication?
- Say what format the story would take (see below).
- Explain why you are the right person to tell this story.
- Tell us when you can submit a first draft.
Pitches for stories should be for new work or work that has not been previously published. We like to work with you to shape stories from start to finish.
We aim to respond to emails within two months, and while we will give all pitches due consideration, we cannot reply to every email.
Who do we work with?
We work with lots of different storytellers of differing levels of experience and from varied backgrounds.
We are always looking for new writers and image creators. We are particularly interested in hearing from contributors from ethnically minoritised communities, and disabled, d/Deaf and neurodivergent writers because we are committed to publishing stories that represent the wide diversity of experiences with health. This doesn’t mean we are only keen to hear about your lived experience of, for example, being disabled; we are also interested in your distinct take on whatever topic or story really interests you.
What format will the story take?
We commission stories in the following formats, but we are always open to new ideas, particularly where the content suggests it.
- Standalone articles (like ‘A walk through other people’s expectations’), which include opinion and personal experience. These are usually about 750 words but can be longer for the right story – let us know in your pitch email how long you think your article should be.
- In pictures (like ‘Sex work through the ages’) articles tell a story primarily in pictures that can be either from our collections or original artwork, accompanied by short captions that provide narrative and context.
- Serials (like ‘The heart of homesickness’) tell an in-depth story over six instalments, each of which is around 1,000 words.
- Photo stories (like ‘Obesity and Britain’s boys’) are led by the photographs or artworks in visually relating the story. They are supported by long-form captions.
- Webcomics (like ‘Body Squabbles’) give comic artists a space to develop a series of comics on a theme or themes. These series can vary in length, but generally run between six and 12 comics, publishing one per week.
How much do we pay?
We pay writers 50p per word and publish everything under a Creative Commons licence.
We pay photographers and artists an agreed fee, based on the scope of the proposed project. We also aim to publish visual content under a Creative Commons licence but appreciate this is not always possible with visual creatives.
How will we work together?
If we are interested in your pitch, we will get in touch to discuss your ideas with you. You'll be assigned a single editor for your commission so that you can establish a working relationship that works for you in terms of access, availability and deadlines. When we are both happy about what a story will be about, we will discuss deadlines, scope and rates and send you a contract.
A rough timeline from pitching to publication is two to three months.
We will read your draft and discuss any changes with you. We will provide an edited draft before publication.
For successful visual pitches, the photography and illustration editor will work with you to shape the story and provide feedback throughout the editing and delivery stages.
We will appropriately credit you and other contributors. We will pay you in a timely manner, as agreed in your contract.
Your story will then publish, and you can share it with others. We will promote the story on our social media channels.
How we support storytellers
It is important to us that we support storytellers to work with us. Below are some examples of how we have done this before. These are not exhaustive, so if there is something that would make working with us more accessible for you, please discuss it with us.
- We set deadlines in discussion with storytellers and consider your circumstances. We will be clear about what we need and when, based on these discussions.
- We will revisit deadlines if your circumstances change and mean that original timelines will no longer work.
- We pay writers, photographers and artists for their contributions.
- Payments are usually made based on two invoices – one when we have an acceptable first draft, rough sketches or first edit, and the second when an article is ready to publish. We pay at ready-to-publish so that our schedule does not delay your payment when you have completed your work for us.
- We can discuss payment schedules with you.
- If additional research is required, or funds are necessary to make research accessible (such as transcription), we can discuss this.
- Our stories often involve storytellers writing on very emotive topics or sharing personal narratives with us. We will work with you to tell stories sensitively and in a way that feels appropriate and comfortable.
- For written articles, our photography and illustration editor will read your draft and commission images to illustrate the story. If you have ideas of suitable image-makers, you can tell us your suggestions.
- We will communicate with you in the way that is most accessible to you. For instance, some of our storytellers prefer to get feedback via email communication; others prefer the phone or a meeting. We are happy to work with or arrange BSL interpreters.
- We can discuss what method of feedback would be most accessible for you. We have a style guide and use the social model of disability. We will listen to your views on important terminology and phrasing.
Our goal at Wellcome Collection is to inspire and support everyone connected with us to create and maintain a culture that is inclusive and diverse. Nurturing different perspectives is explicit in our vision and core to our mission.
You can read more about our Access, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy here.