Arts Derbyshire


FORMAT23 Events

FORMAT23 Events
Get ready for more artist talks, workshops, and other events!

Defining the Promittocene:
In Conversation: Thomas Wynne and Dr Paula McCloskey

Tuesday 28 March, 18:00 – 19:00, online

Join artist Thomas Wynne in conversation with Dr Paula McCloskey to define the Promittocene.

In this online talk, Thomas will delve into the makings of the exhibition Into The Promittocene, and his experiences during his residency at The Wireworks Project. This project aims to expand upon his practice which revolves around the conceptualisation and examination of a post-Earth epoch, The Promittocene. By interrogating representations of fictional futures through photography, installation and sculpture, Wynne’s work seeks to question the human condition and humanity’s position within the greater world ecosystem. This residency has been supported by a Develop Your Creative Practice Grant from Arts Council England.

Thomas will be joined by Dr Paula McCloskey, an artist, artistic researcher and teacher, School of Arts, University of Derby, UK. Her transdisciplinary, collaborative research in contemporary art practice, critical theory and social engagement sits at the intersections of art, geopolitics/climate and maternity/kinship.

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Ballroom to Boogaloo:
An evening of social dance

Tuesday 28 March, 19:30 – 21:00, Déda, 19 Chapel Street, Derby, DE1 3GU

Club Night/Dance Participation

Explore an exhibition of Derby’s social dance history, and be a part of it! This is an opportunity to take part in a social dance class led by a professional salsa tutor, and to peek into Derby’s rich history of social dance, no partner needed and free refreshments are provided. This event is part of the FORMAT23 Biennale festival programme.

QUAD and Déda are working in collaboration as part of this year’s FORMAT International Photography Festival, happening from 17 March- 9 April. As one of the festival venues, Deda is hosting a nostalgic exhibition that captures the experience of Derby ballroom and nightclub culture in the 1960s, inspired by Roger Smith’s book ‘We Danced In Derby’. This project is supported by Arts Council England, Unite the Union, and The National Lottery Heritage Fund, thanks to National Lottery players.


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FORMAT23/501 Xu Space Exhibition:
Gestures of Resistance

Exhibition opening in Chongqing, China


501 Xu Art Space, Room 1008, 2nd Floor, 501 Base, Huangjueping Street, Chongqing, China, 25 March – 7 April, 2023 

QUAD/FORMAT has a long history of cooperating with 501 Xu exhibition space in Chongqing. We are excited to continue the programme for emerging artists and curators in China and the UK.

Amidst the aftermath of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the movement of people continues to be determined and restricted by shifting policies. These policies differ depending on region, with a particular disparity in the present conditions of the UK and China.

Contemplating the body’s relationship to power and control, the exhibition Gestures of Resistance, curated by Aisling Ward and Star Zhang, questions psychological freedom through a presentation of work by four interdisciplinary artists – Georgia Gardner, Jiayi Hu, Jinling Dong and Liliana Zaharia. All four artists embrace active embodiment – ranging from choreographed, to improvised, social intention to habit – to resist, heal and connect in times of crisis.

Gestures of Resistance contemplates the significance of the socially-constructed body, to uncover the political momentum that the body can generate in contemporary society, and to establish a reflective context for our cultures that bears witness to the contingency of performing in a pandemic.

There will be an opening reception for the exhibition at Xu Space in Chongqing on 25 March at 7pm (GMT+8). Click on the link below to see full exhibition information on our website.

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Exhibition Highlight:
Before it’s gone

University of Derby, 17 March – 9 April  2023

Located in arid and semi-arid regions and considered an ecological bulwark against desertification and an important refuge for biodiversity, oases constitute an original ecosystem, based on the right balance of three elements – the abundance of water, the quality of the soil, and the presence of date palms.

Before it’s gone is an ongoing long-term project that highlights the complex and multidimensional issues of oasis degradation in Morocco and its impact on its inhabitants.

Over the past few years, M’hammed Kilito has visited many oases, where he has made strong connections with its inhabitants. He was able to understand this rich environment but also its glaring realities. He realized that desertification, recurrent droughts and fires, changes in agricultural practices, overexploitation of natural resources, rural exodus, and the sharp drop in the water table are all imminent threats to the existence of oases.

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Exhibition Highlight:
Dark Garden

Déda, 17 March – 29 April  2023

In the middle of the nineteenth century, during the colonial period when the tea plantation started in the Sylhet region of Bangladesh, a larger part of the plantation was occupied by the British merchants.

People from different parts of greater India including Bihar, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, were brought as workers to the tea garden. Today in Bangladesh there are nearly 167 tea plantations and about 4,40,843 workers and family members in Bangladesh.

Tea workers started protesting about the inhuman working conditions and abuse by the tea planters. On May 20, 1921, thousands of tea workers set off for their homeland leaving their workplaces, with the slogan of ‘Mulluk Cholo’ meaning ‘return to homeland’.

As the protest march reached Meghna ghat in Chandpur, police opened fire, killing many workers. As the rest of the protesters fled, they were caught, tortured and sent back to work. They never got back home.

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Exhibition Highlight:

University of Derby, 17 March – 9 April  2023


Image by Maryam Wahid

In 2019, Maryam Wahid embarked on a journey to Pakistan that redefined her identity as a second generational British Pakistani. With this being her first trip to her motherland, she was curious to find out about her late grandparents, maternal family and what her alternate life could have looked like had her mother not married her father.

Zaibunnisa, meaning ‘the beauty of women’ refers to her mother’s birth name prior to emigrating from Pakistan to the UK in 1982 for an arranged marriage. When moving to the UK, her mother in law changed her name ‘Zaibunnisa’ to ‘Nargis’ as Zaibunnisa would be a hard name to pronounce in England. Maryam wondered what else was taken away from her when migrating to the UK.

This work not only tells Maryam’s story, but tells the story of the 1.17 million Pakistanis living in the UK (according to the 2011 consensus). The Pakistani community is the largest BME group in Derby, making up 5.9% of the population. By sharing this project, Maryam would like to connect with this part of the community as well as create understanding and build bridges with other communities, as she has done in Birmingham.


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