FORMAT23 is gearing up for their first in-person festival since 2019. Their open call for submissions ends next week.
Global vs. Local
FORMAT, the UK’s leading international contemporary festival for photography, strives to stay local while also representing global artists. They encourage global diversity in submissions to their open call and seek to build on existing international partnerships. At the same time, they remain committed to showcasing new and renowned artists alike to their local Derby, UK community. According to Niamh Treacy, Coordinator for the festival, “whilst FORMAT works on an international scale it is imperative for us that we continue to nurture and build on the arts community in our home of Derby.”
For the first time since 2019, FORMAT23 will return to Derby City Center in March 2023. Although the festival is also held online in collaboration with New City Art, FORMAT23 is excited to once again celebrate photography in-person. In the past, they have asked artists to explore different themes, but this year they have decided to leave the theme open. This year, FORMAT23 has asked participants to explore the idea of “what photography can be”. With this limitless prompt, the team at FORMAT is excited to see how artists respond with their own unique vision and imagination.
When asked what they are hoping to receive in submissions this year, Niamh highlighted that the team hopes to see artists pushing the boundaries of lens-based media. While they want to see submissions that represent the state of photography as it is today, they also hope that image submissions will challenge the jury. Furthermore, they are hoping to see submissions from all image-based genres. This includes everything from traditional photography and videography to Virtual Reality to installations and interactive art. “There is so much happening in the world around us and we want to see how artists are reacting and responding,” Niamh points out.
FORMAT views their open calls as a unique opportunity to find worldwide talent to which they might otherwise not be exposed. At the same time, it is also a great way for artists to have their work seen by international juries. Niamh points out that a key component of a successful open call is using a platform designed for creative competitions. For FORMAT Picter is that solution. Picter makes the process of submitting simple and clear for artists. Additionally, she points out that Picter makes collecting and reviewing submissions simple and straightforward for the jury.
Some more tips for running a successful open call? Niahm says, make your jury exciting, eminent, and diverse. “Not all artists can be selected for every open call,” she says, “but having the chance to have your work and name seen by international professionals working across the arts can open doors in the future and is an invaluable opportunity.” She goes on to say that as an organization, they are constantly striving for diverse representation across their juries. FORMAT works constantly to ensure that all voices and viewpoints are heard and seen by their juries.