Marking FORMAT’s 20th Anniversary, FORMAT24 presented six exhibitions across Derby and the East Midlands. 

In Derby’s Cultural Hub QUAD, we welcomed curator Peggy Sue Amison’s exciting exhibition Future Tense – Living the Future Now. Awarded the FORMAT23 FORMAT OPEN Call award, this exhibition drew on the varied experiences of ten international artists to engage audiences in a space of frequencies that collectively communicate different channels of contemplation, considering new understandings of time, but also how image surface can be interpreted as communal space to be questioned and dissected.   

In QUAD’s Gallery Two we saw Jubilee City: Derby Punk in the 1970s. Drawing on the archive of local artist Aaron Williamson, whilst also incorporating ephemera and documents arising from a call-out to individuals who were active on Derby’s punk scene between 1976 – 1979. Also in QUAD’s Extra Gallery Spaces, we presented the work of three UK based artists, selected from the FUTURE NOW open call-in partnership with LCB Depot, Leicester. 

At The Orangery in Derby’s Arboretum Park, we presented Supnaa: Dreams of Our Fathers, an exhibition by Photographer Anand Chhabra which told the story of his parent’s and their migration from India to the UK c1960s–to present day, and their hopes of a ‘new life’ together with early Punjabi migrants who arrived ‘en masse’ to the UK. This is a subject that remains largely untold photographically.

In Leicester at the LCB Depot, local and international artists selected from the FUTURE NOW open call showcased their works and on Leicester’s famous Granby Street we conveyed the portraits of local city residents created by artist Khatun as a culmination of the Picturing High Streets Leicester’s Residency.  

Image: Arko Datto

FORMAT International Photography Festival returned in March 2023. Emerging from the days of the global pandemic with renewed purpose, FORMAT transformed the historic city of Derby into a vibrant showcase of the very best photography and lens-based media.

FORMAT23: What Photography Can Be – featured exhibitions in key Derby cultural organisations such as QUAD, Déda, Artcore and the Museum of Making, alongside revitalising repurposed buildings and public places, celebrating work by a worldwide community of artists. Notable exhibition projects as part of the festival included Radical Souls at QUAD that focused on global dance genres and notions of self-identity, and a new body of work by award-winning photographer Oliver Frank Chanarin at the Museum of Making that explored ‘the drive for attention, the complexity of being seen and the anxiety of being overlooked, in the shifting terrain of documentary photography’.

Open to discussion, to debate, FORMAT23 invited the audience to shape the photography of present towards a future of what photography can be. Across 12 venues more than 200 artists from 55 countries presented works that examined contemporary social themes of water scarcity and future food provision; migration; questions of what identity is, and the implications of climate change. FORMAT23 featured the return of the international Conference and two Portfolio Review days alongside the FORMAT Photobook Market.

Image by Antone Dolezal

The 10th edition of the FORMAT International Photography Festival was on the theme of Control. In this video we consider how culture has become almost exclusively political and an area in which artists attempt, in different ways, to exert control. From the recent Turner Prize announcement that it is only shortlisting artists who “inspire change” to Eastenders “tackling schizophrenia stigma” it seems all culture is trying to improve us. We ask whether or not this is a good thing.

Watch a video review featuring (in order of appearance): Louise Fedotov-Clements (Artistic Director of QUAD & Director & Co-founder of FORMAT), Gordon MacDonald (Artist, Editor & one half of the artistic partnership MacdonaldStrand, UK), Juliana Huxtable (Artist, Writer, Performer & DJ, USA), Skinder Hundal (Director of Arts, British Council, UK), Yan Wang Preston (Artist & Lecturer, China/UK), Heather Agyepong (Artist & Performer, UK), George Selley (Photographer & Filmmaker, UK), Cemre Yeşil Gönenli (Photographer & Lecturer, Turkey/UK), Azu Nwagbogu (Founder & Director of African Artists’ Foundation (AAF), a non- profit organisation based in Lagos, Nigeria).

A Troika Photos video for FORMAT

View a PDF version of the FORMAT19 catalogue:








The 2019 Format International Photography Festival, Forever//Now, looked at the current interest in fictionalising photography, either by constructing and manipulating images in some way or by using inference and visual association to tell impossible-to-photograph, or un-witnessed, stories.

Watch a video review exploring what this might mean for truth and story-telling for both photojournalists and artists. Featuring interviews with Karin Andreasson, Camilla Brown, Zelda Cheatle, Tim Clark, Louise Fedotov-Clements, W. M. Hunt, Gemma Marmalade & Marc Prüst:

A Troika Photos video for FORMAT

View a PDF version of the FORMAT19 catalogue:

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FORMAT17 was on the theme of Habitat in the age of the Anthropocene, the modern era in which human activity is considered the dominant influence on climate and the environment. The keynote exhibition Ahead Still Lies Our Future was co-curated by Hester Keijser and Louise Clements.

Watch a video review featuring interviews with Lisa Barnard, Louise Clements, Hester Keijser, John McLean, Claudius Schulze, Jon Tonks & Rodrigo Orrantia:

A Troika Photos video for FORMAT

View a PDF version of the FORMAT17 catalogue:

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The theme of FORMAT15 took its cue from the legendary body of work Evidence by Larry Sultan and Mike Mandel from 1977. The keynote exhibition Beyond Evidence: An Incomplete Narratology of Photographic Truths was curated by Lars Willumeit and looked at the creation of photographic narratives and the question of truth in photography.

Watch a video review of Beyond Evidence: An Incomplete Narratology of Photographic Truths:

A Troika Photos video for FORMAT


View a PDF version of the FORMAT15 catalogue:

Buy a physical copy here:

Appropriately for Derby as the birthplace of mass production, the theme for the sixth edition of our biennial was “Factory“.

“The theme offers festival visitors a dynamic and poignant view on the phenomenon of the factory and its impact on our lives internationally or at home. Mechanised production en masse, although an inevitable part of progress, was one of the factors responsible for the emergence of a working class, consumerism and for our timed working lives. It also sparked the movement towards socialism, unions and workers rights.

Artists throughout time have reacted to the fast pace of change; if you look at futurism and constructivism, as the pace of change began to accelerate, artists at that time had something polar to work in reaction to. Today changes are running on at an imperceptible rate and automation is no longer confined to manufacturing industries but has seeped into every aspect of our daily living. A factory is still a space for production, of exploitation or even exhibition. Art and society don’t merely examine this change, they are an essential part of it. Photography is produced and consumed en masse, it is also product of the market…”

Louise Clements: Artisitc Director & Curator

Watch Critic, writer and broadcaster Sue Steward introduce the highlights of the FORMAT International Photography Festival 2013:

A Troika Photos video for FORMAT

View a PDF version of the FORMAT13 catalogue:


Right Here, Right Now – Exposures from the public realm, the fifth edition of FORMAT, explored street photography. Presenting the work of photographers noted for their candid and out of the ordinary depictions of everyday life from all around the world.

View a PDF version of the FORMAT11 catalogue: