Submitting InstitutionUniversity of Derby
Unit of AssessmentArt and Design: History, Practice and Theory
Summary Impact TypeCultural
Research Subject Area(s)
Studies In Creative Arts and Writing: Film, Television and Digital Media
Language, Communication and Culture: Cultural Studies
History and Archaeology: Historical Studies
Summary of the impact
This case study describes the impact of the FORMAT International Festival
of Photography which is a collaboration between the QUAD Independent
Cinema & Media Arts Centre and the University of Derby. The Festival
has developed from high-level creative practice, which advances the
development of the photographic medium, creating a legacy resource and
contributing to public understanding and engagement. FORMAT confirms Derby
as a major centre for photography in the UK with an international reach,
and reflects the reputation and heritage of the University of Derby in the
area of photographic research and education over five decades.
The underpinning research is evidenced through the medium of exhibition,
publishing, public debate, conference and commissioning of new work. The
research explores the contemporary landscape of photography, and more
latterly, film and art installations that are based within lens-media.
The Festival was established in 2004 with the key objectives of
disseminating research and practice in photography. Each edition of the
festival is curated and programmed in response to a theme, reflecting
current debates and issues. The sixth Festival took place in March 2013,
under the theme of the `Factory' and explored the notion of mass
production. Previous themes have examined the relationship between
photography and cinema (2009) and street photography and working in the
public realm (2011).
At its inception FORMAT was created as a partnership between Q Arts (the
forerunner of QUAD), Derby City Council and the University of Derby. Since
2012 the Festival has operated as an independent company, with QUAD and
the University of Derby as the key stakeholders having corporate
representation on the Board.
The Festival is sub-divided into a number of main programme elements:
- `Focus' — a curated selection of newly commissioned and retrospective
- `Exposure' — a juried exhibition showcasing contemporary work selected
from open submissions.
- Conference — a one-day event disseminating research from a range of
contributors and speakers — academics, writers, curators and
- Mob Format — a web-based juried exhibition based on open submissions.
- Industry participation — juried exhibitions and events organised by
agencies and photo-collectives, which includes portfolio reviews
professionals including, publishers, commissioners and picture editors.
- Workshops and Events — a programme of invited speakers, workshops and
Professor Huw Davies, Professor of Lens Media (2008-present).
Professor John Goto, Professor of Fine Art (2007-present).
Dr Jane Fletcher, Senior Lecturer in Photography (2008-present).
Heike Lowenstein, Senior Lecturer in Photography (2011 - 2012).
Sophie Rickett, University Reader (2004 - 2009).
Dr Philip Harris, Senior Lecturer in Photography (2013 — present).
Dr Martino Nicoletti, Senior Lecturer in Photography (2013 — present).
Visiting Professors in Photography include Pavel Banka and Brian Griffin.
Key Research Activities:
i) Public Exhibition Banka (2005), Goto (2005), Rickett (2009) and
ii) Commissioning of new work to challenge, innovate and provide
legacy through the archive Germain (2007), Ivanissevich (2009), Larson and
Shindelman (2011), Gilden (2011), Griffin (2013).
iii) Curatorship and programing — Selection of work through Focus
and Exposure strands. This has included: Membership of Exposure and Mob
Format Jury (Davies, Griffin). Membership / Chair of Board of Directors
(Davies). Membership of Festival Steering Group: (Davies, Fletcher,
iv) Conference / symposia — `Photo Cinema' (2009) Conference Chair
(Davies), Conference Chair (Davies). `Right Here Right Now' (2011)
Conference Chair (Davies), `The Factory' (2013) Conference Chair
v) Publication and Critical Writing — associated publications,
including catalogue essays, Campbell (2011) and books, Davies, Fletcher
References to the research
1. H.Davies. N. Campbell, Right Here, Right Now. 2011. QUAD
Publishing. Published output 120 page catalogue: Essay, Exposure
Introduction (Huw Davies). ISBN 978-0-9553538-4-0.
2. H.Davies, Making Connections, J. Fletcher, Stillness and
Time, in `PhotoCinema — Working at the creative edges of
photography and film'. (Eds.) N. Campbell, A. Cramerotti. 2012.
Intellect. ISBN 978-1-84150-562-6.
3. H.Davies. Transitions / Working Lives. 2013. Exhibition of
photographic work as part of `Focus' programme strand. FORMAT 2013, The
Factory, 8th March-7th April 2013. www.formatfestival.com.
4. S.Rickett. Auditorium. 2009. Two channel digital video shown
as part of `Exposure' programme strand. FORMAT 2009, Photo Cinema, 6th
March — 5th April 2009. www.formatfestival.com.
5. PhotoCinema. 2009. QUAD Publishing. Published output 176 page
catalogue: ISBN: 03538-2-3-955
6. Factory. 2013. QUAD Publishing. Published output 128 page
catalogue: ISBN 978-0- 9553538-7-1
Details of the impact
Research contribution to impact:
The involvement and participation of the photography research team in this
high profile international event with an established lineage and heritage
has enabled research through curatorship, exhibition and critical writing.
The nature and significance of this has focussed on processes of
dissemination and the evaluation of the Festival and its cultural value.
The research has inspired new ways of generating and influencing creative
practice and exhibition in photography. The Festival has contributed to
the cultural life of the city and the attendant economic and social
benefits this brings.
FORMAT 11 hosted exhibitions in other areas of the region (namely at
Burton-on-Trent and through the New Art Exchange in Nottingham). This was
continued in 2013 with the use of 18 venues including the Beetroot Tree in
South Derbyshire, the New Art Exchange, Nottingham and John Smedley's
factory in Lea Green near Matlock, Derbyshire. The Festival also made use
of the Chocolate Factory, an empty warehouse which was used as a temporary
exhibition space in the City. As in 2011, the festival had a press launch
in London at St. Pancras International, with support from Marketing Derby,
Derby City Council.
The launch event for FORMAT 13 featured a performance of Elemental Force,
which is an Arts Council England funded series of free spectacular
large-scale outdoor events that put historic buildings centre stage and
use light, sound and film to celebrate the rich heritage of Derbyshire and
Nottinghamshire. The research team broadened the use of online platforms
with the EyeEM mobile phone app and the Exhibition Explorer App. This
experimented with an enhanced use of social media in order that the work
of photographers across the globe could be submitted in real-time. In
total over 7,000 images were submitted to the festival via MobFORMAT.
- FORMAT 2011 attracted an estimated 100,000 visitors with a cumulative
net economic impact benefit of £1.1M to the City of Derby.
- The work of over 300 artists / photographers from over 20 countries
was shown as part of 70 individual events.
- In 2013 there were 226,943 individual interactions with the FORMAT
Festival through a range of workshops, digital participation and through
visits to exhibitions, of which there were a total of 213,910 individual
- Attended by over 500 leading photographers, critics, curators, and
industry professionals during the festival's opening weekend.
- In 2011 40% of festival visitors surveyed were from outside the East
Midlands region, with over 2% of visitors from overseas; in 2013 50% of
festival visitors surveyed were from outside the East Midlands with 4%
of visitors from overseas. (For comparison, the Edinburgh Festival has a
reported 15% of non-UK visitors, the SO Festival in Skegness recorded
0.3% of overseas visitors in an established tourist resort.)
- Coverage of FORMAT was in a broad range of international print media
including the New York Times, Observer, Financial Times, Elle Men and
the Guardian. The print and web coverage achieved for FORMAT13 had an
estimated Advertising Value Equivalent (AVE) of £1.5m. This figure has
been calculated based on advertising rates for print publications.
- The cumulative net economic impact of the FORMAT Festival to Derby in
2013 was £955,178.
Critiques or citations:
- Attracted a range of high profile media coverage which included review
in BBC Front Row, Sunday Times Magazine, The Guardian, The New York
Times and Italian Vogue as well as specialist academic and photographic
- From 2009 onwards, FORMAT has been the only UK member of the `Festival
of Light', a consortium of the 23 most prestigious photography festivals
from 20 countries worldwide.
- FORMAT contributed to the local economy — £1 million of net additional
economic value generating 3,949 overnight bed stays in the local
accommodation sector. Local businesses have recognised the contribution
of the festival and are increasingly using the festival as a platform to
win new customers and business.
- Businesses have seen FORMAT drawing new customers into the city centre
and this is giving them increased confidence in their location, most
notably businesses in the Cathedral Quarter.
- Operational budget of £250K, 40 programme partners / funders
representing the public sector (Arts Council England, East Midlands
Development Agency, Derby City Council), trusts and foundations (Esmee
Fairburn Trust), private / corporate sponsors (Trokia, Magnum Photo
Agency, Blurb Editions) and media sponsors (The Guardian, British
Journal of Photography, Photo8 and Sky Arts).
- FORMAT social networking activity — Facebook received 17,500 daily
post views and the mass participatory project MOB FORMAT received over
10,000 submissions from across the globe.
Sources to corroborate the impact
- Format 2011 Marketing report. Published by Idea Generation 2011.
- `The Economic Footprint of Format 11'. Report by S4W commissioned by
Derby City Council, 2011.
- `The Economic Footprint of FORMAT13', Derby, May 2013. Report by S4W
commissioned by Derby City Council.
- Chief Executive, Quad, Independent Cinema and Media Arts Centre.
Surveys of visitors and professional attendees have also been augmented
by a business survey of the city centre based businesses. Business surveys
were undertaken through both an online survey, active until the start of
May and a face-to-face survey conducted shortly after the end of FORMAT.