Derby photography festival is UK’s largest

The theme of FORMAT17, the UK’s largest photography festival being staged in Derby in March is Habitat.

It is a showcase for emerging talent alongside established artists, and will encompass 30 exhibitions, a photo book market, portfolio reviews and a series of innovative events and performances.

Work by more than 200 international artists and photographers will explore landscape, environment, mobility, migration, digital worlds, ideas of home and displacement, conflict and regeneration.

Rapid changes in the environment caused by industry, technology, conflict, migration and climate are accelerating at such unprecedented rates that the human impact on the Earth has pushed us into a new cultural geographical epoch or era known as the Anthropocene.

Louise Clements the artistic director of QUAD and the festival, said: “I felt the idea of the Anthropocene would be timely. It’s a concept that’s important not just in art or photography, but more generally in terms of how we start to understand and come to terms with what is important in the world around us and our relation to it.”

Ahead Still Lies Our Future will be the key exhibition of FORMAT17, featuring the work of ten international artists who encourage the viewer to speculate on imagined futures on a global scale.

The artworks in the exhibition range from Ester Vonplon’s requiem for the melting glaciers in her native Switzerland, to a monumental video installation by Lida Abdul made in her homeland of Afghanistan, and Islands is Islands, and an immersive VR installation by Japanese trans-media artist Kenta Cobayashi.

The exhibition is curated by Louise Clements and Hester Keijser and also includes work by Lisa Barnard, Ursula Biemann, Hannah Darabi, Sohrab Hura, Zhang Jungang, Wanuri Kahiu, and Sadie Wechsler.

More than 50 projects, selected by a panel of judges from the FORMAT17 Open Call will be exhibited across Derby for the duration of the festival.

Entries were received from 68 countries, with more 50 than per cent coming from outside the UK.

The successful entries range from a study of Basildon by CJ Clarke and Christopher Smith; to the interior landscapes of the European Space Agency by Edgar Martins; concerns over the breakup of Yugoslavia by Borko Vukasov and Poulomi Basu’s A Ritual of Exile documenting women exiled during menstruation in Nepal.

It also includes Modern Ornithologies, a group show curated by Rodrigo Orrantia highlighting stories of unusual bird-related activities including work by Stephen Gill and Martin Parr, and Balkan Trails, an exhibition spearheaded by photographer Ciril Jazbec retelling stories of migration in the Balkans.

The festival runs from March 24-April 23 with launch days from March 23-26. It is being staged at venues across Derby including QUAD and the Museum and Art Gallery. For more details go to