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Format Photography Festival

Format Photography Festival is almost upon us again, running from 12th March to 11th April in Derby and online. This year, OCA Photography tutors Derek Trillo and Jayne Taylor (that’s me) will be co-hosting a virtual ‘festival visit’, with a view to enabling those valuable shared discussions that form such a key part of the traditional study event. The festival launches this Friday 12th March, with a full day Format21 conference (co-organised by BA (Hons) Photography External Examiner Dr. Gemma Marmalade).

Free places are now allocated. To be added to the waitlist email:

We’re excited to see the Format festival presented in virtual form, and our discussions will likely centre around how well the virtual format can support (a) the creative works themselves (b) audience engagement. This is how the festival organisers describe this year’s new mode(s) of presentation:-


Undefeated by the pandemic and lockdown FORMAT have been busy finding a way to present FORMAT21 as a digital festival. Director Louise Fedotov-Clements is delighted to announce FORMAT’s collaboration with California based virtual gallery, New Art City, on the creation of a multiplayer, online space for art as the new digital venue for FORMAT21.

FORMAT’s collaboration with New Art City enables the festival to push the boundaries of its work, to develop new programmes online in a truly innovative way.

The new space will present exhibitions, events and participation for FORMAT21. The exhibitions include over 160 international artists alongside a selection of the 40,000 images submitted from over 90 countries from the #massisolationFORMAT archive created during the Covid-19 pandemic, presented in collaboration with The People’s Picture, PARC and London College of Communication.

New Art City is a toolkit and community for online exhibitions. Every show is a 3D multiplayer environment, in which visitors can see each other and chat while exploring the exhibitions.

Popular shows support hundreds of visitors at the same time from all over the world to access shows on any desktop or mobile device and web browser, without registering, downloading or configuring anything.


What do these emerging formats mean for students, graduates and emerging practitioners in the creative arts? How might these technological shifts effect control over how work is exhibited? Who has the authority/power? What is different when we view creative works online? Is the online mode necessarily more democratic?  See also Helen Warburton’s blog post on online exhibiting, A practice of possibility’: exhibiting art in a mid-pandemic world, “what do artists need to be critical of (or embrace) in terms of presenting non-digital works online?

We hope to see as many of you as possible at all or some of the following events. Full sign-up/access details will be made available on the Study Events section of the student Discuss forum. 


Featured Image: FORMAT21 Opening Night Format Festival, image by Frederico Estol
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Posted by author: Dan Robinson
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