FORMAT23 ‘What Photography Can Be’

FORMAT23 ‘What Photography Can Be’

FORMAT International Photography Festival

27 exhibitions over 15 venues taking place across Derby over 30 days

17 March – 9 April 2023

FORMAT International Photography Festival returns to Derby from 17 March to 9 April 2023 for the very best photography and lens-based media being produced today.

The biennale festival incorporates QUAD, University of Derby, Museum of Making, Déda, Dubrek, Artcore, City Lab, The Smallprint Company, Derbion shopping centre, Banks Mill, Derby Cathedral and an outdoor exhibition in Derby’s high streets.  The festival also includes satellite venues such as The Wireworks Project in Ambergate and LCB Depot in Leicester. The festival was established by QUAD in 2004 and is the UK’s leading festival of photography and related media, organised by QUAD and CCIRC, (Creative and Cultural Industries Research Centre) of the University of Derby.

Exhibitions include:

QUAD Gallery

Radical Souls 17 March to 2 July 2023

Artists: Cecilia Bengolia (Argentina), Dele Adeyemo (UK), Luciana Demichelis (Argentina) and Volta Yang (China) whose work traverses dance genres and styles, fed through emotion, culture, sounds and in some cases, rebellion.

QUAD’s Extra Gallery Spaces

17 March to 2 July 2023

FORMAT23 OPEN Call presents the work of selected international photographers and artists.

Young FORMAT; including work by students from: Pear Tree Juniors, Derby Moore Academy, Horizons 6th Form, Burton and South Derbyshire Colleges; QUAD Young Advocates, QUAD Young Creatives and CYAN CITY.

Gestures of Resistance part of FORMAT’s UK/China residency in partnership with 501 Xu Artspace in China.

Museum of Making

Oliver Frank Chanarin, A Perfect Sentence 17 March – 3 September 2023

Oliver Frank Chanarin’s first solo exhibition of new work which explores the drive for attention, the complexity of being seen and the anxiety of being overlooked, in the shifting terrain of

documentary photography. Commissioned and produced by Forma in collaboration with eight UK organisations throughout 2022, different iterations of the project comprises over a thousand negatives, 300 analogue prints, accompanied by written accounts that offer reflections on the mercurial nature of identity in Britain.


We Danced in Derby 17 March - 9 April 2023

Delving into the social history of Derby city in the 1960s and ‘70s, through the prism of ballrooms, discos and clubs, this nostalgic exhibition celebrates how the 1960s changed the way people danced, foregrounding the music that inspired this transformation. Created in collaboration with Roger Smith, a local writer and heritage researcher, it features images of the popular Derby social venues of the time, alongside visual, written and oral history of memories.

FORMAT23 OPEN Call presents the work of selected international photographers and artists.


QUAD, City Lab, Déda & University of Derby, Markeaton Street

FORMAT23 OPEN Call 17 March - 9 April 2023

FORMAT23 OPEN Call presents the work of selected international photographers and artists. The FORMAT23 OPEN Call received 979 submissions and nearly 15,000 images from 72 countries, the 26 projects include themes such as how environmental and climate changes are affecting communities across the world; the realities of how our food production might look in our not so distance future, examinations of new belief-systems inspired by folk law, secret military programs and the appropriation of indigenous spiritual practices. 

Selected OPEN Call Artists: Antone Dolezal (US); Too Many Pictures (France); Terje Abusdal (Norway); Alex Davenport (UK); Crystal Bennes (UK); Sheung Yiu (Hong Kong/Finland); Joanna Vestey (UK); William Lakin (UK); Md Fazla Rabbi Fatiq (Bangladesh); Wai Hang Siu (Hong Kong/UK); M'hammed Kilito (Morocco); exsample (Germany); An Su (China/UK); Joshua Phillips & Benjamin McDonnell (UK); Maryam Wahid (UK); The Sustainable Photobook Publishing (SPP) network (UK); Ngadi Smart (Sierra Leone); Curator: Peggy Sue Amison

(Germany) with Artists: Adrian L Burrell (US), Rana Young (US), Tanya Habjouqa (Jordan/US), Matthew Thorn (Australia), Derik Lynch (Australia), Pádraig Spillane (Ireland), Aideen Barry (Ireland), Arko Datto (India) and Katrin Koenning (Germany/Australia); Theo Ellison (UK); Philippe Braquenier & David De Beyter (Belgium); Claudia Amatruda (Italy); Phillipa Klaiber & Michael Swann (UK); Yzza Slaoui (Morocco); Craig Ames (UK); Pratya Jankong & Olga Fedorova (US); Curator: Helen Starr (UK) with Artist: Kinnari Saraiya (UK).

Derby Cathedral

Louise Beer, Gathering Light 17 March – 21 May 2023

Derby Cathedral and QUAD/FORMAT co-commission for site-specific installation work taking inspiration from the Christian observance and celebrations of Lent; considering themes of spirituality, sacrifice, release, isolation, rising/ rebirth, temptation, confession, forgiveness, and community.

Outdoor exhibition - Various locations in Derby

#PicturingDerby – Art in the Streets 17 March – 10 April 2023

FORMAT/QUAD in partnership with Historic England and Photoworks. Picturing High Streets is a three-year project to create a contemporary picture of England’s high streets. The project has two parts: a socially engaged photographer in residence programme and a public call-out to create an unofficial photographic archive of the English high street via Instagram. A national outdoor exhibition showcasing work submitted by the public will go on display throughout England from Spring 2024. FORMAT has selected submissions to feature on an outdoor exhibition displayed in multiple sites around Derby City Centre. Participants have responded to the theme #PicturingDerby by sending us the photos that celebrate Derby and Derbyshire in all its forms.

University of Derby, Banks Mill

FORMAT23: FORMAT Graduates Award, 17 March - 9 April 2023

Artists Alisha Bourne, Erin Swinford-Howe, Georgia Gadsby and Thomas Craven, from BA (Hons) Photography Graduating Class of 2022, University of Derby have been selected for a FORMAT Graduate Award.

Alisha Bourne, Eulogy for the Potter is an exploration of the rise and fall of the pottery industry in Stoke on Trent.

Erin Swinford-Howe, Spatial Matters Spatial Matters is a chronological and sequential order of images that represents time continuum and spatial nothingness.

Georgia Gadsby Salt Curing, the body of artwork reflects upon a time of health trauma, representing the emotions experienced; such as panic, anxiety, depression, and the process of my own recovery.

Thomas Craven, Living Room domestic photographs are a snapshot of a time that once was, used to reminisce on times with family.

University Of Derby, Markeaton Street Campus

How Love Lives In Two Places,17 March - 9 April 2023

Multi trans-disciplinary exhibition describes the experimental boundaries of both photography and place. A visual dialogue between artists, including students and faculty of the University of Derby School of Arts together with Nevada State College Office for the Arts, USA.

Artists Aaron Bien, Abbie Sunter, Abel Montes de Oca, Adriana Chavez, Alasdair Openshaw, Alexandra Totterdell, Amy Morgan, Angela M. Brommel, Anna Hoess, Archie Terrington, Char Harmer, Danielle Bouchon, Elisha Mae Gascoigne, Ell Hammond, Emily Lawrence, Erick Masih, Erin Swinford-Howe, Fiona Middleton, James Stanford, Jerome B. Romero, Jesse Hudson, Gabrielle Distin, Gemma Marmalade, Glenda Perez-Islas, Haash Ahmad, Keeva Lough, Lance L. Smith, Liam White, Noah Mcclelland, Paige Tighe, Phil Searle, Robbie Liddle, Myron Hensel, Tanya Mansell, Veronica Gutierrez and Violet Burgess.

Philip M Harris, UKraine Lives,17 March - 9 April 2023

At the time of the opening of FORMAT23 the Russian invasion of Ukraine will have raged for 385 days. This project examines the personal impact on some of the people who fled their homeland for the United Kingdom.

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