Hester Keijser

An embodied guess of what the future holds.


Hester Keijser will offer a spoken walkthrough of the selections for the lead exhibition Ahead still lies our future. The Exhibition explores voices from all corners of the world raising concern for our joint future in an epoch of manmade climate-change that may lead to extinction of life on Earth as we know it. What makes it so difficult to conceive of a future, is that it is impossible to see beyond the horizon of the demise of our species as foretold in almost all the tales spun around the Anthropocene – that popular, overused and contested name for our age.

She will explore how the current generation is challenged with finding a foothold to develop a viable ethics that navigate through our earthly habitat and high-tech society. In short Ahead still lies our future is an assemblage of possible departure points from where we can meet these challenges. Because they are focused not on showing what is, but on imagining a future presence, the selected bodies of work move beyond the documentary principle, into the realm of the poetic. They are, as Ursula Biemann’s protagonists declare, an “embodied guess of what the future holds”, grown from a desire to see, rather than to know. As such they are an embrace of incertitude, of speculative roads into a new terra incognita, experiments for a future that lies ahead.


Hester Keijser Biography

Based in The Hague, Hester Keijser (1967, NL) is an independent curator and author specialising in contemporary photography, with a special interest in emerging photographic practices from the MENASA region.

Currently she is advisor for the Mondriaan Fund and affiliated curator of the Noorderlicht Foundation in the Netherlands. Between 2009-2013, she developed exhibitions for two commercial photography galleries in Dubai, UAE. In addition, she has acted as jury member and nominator for the Foam Paul Huf Award, Plat(t)form Fotomuseum Winterthur, Tokyo International Photography Festival, Joop Swart Masterclass, Magnum Foundation Fund, Portfolio Reviews Düsseldorf, Self-Publish Riga and Prix Pictet. 

As an author, she has published articles in several international magazines and online publications, such as Camera Austria, Fotocolectania Correspondences (with Urs Stahel), After Image, Tribe Magazine, Photoforum Pasquart, and has contributed to monographs on Jungjin Lee and Ron van der Ende.

Before being active as a blogger and curator, she worked as a conceptual visual artist as on multi-media installations, community arts projects and photography. She holds an MA in contemporary philosophy and the history of logic from Leiden University.Since 2006, she has kept an online journal on photography. As co-founder with Joerg Colberg, she also manages The Independent Photo Book blog. In partnership with LhGWR, a Dutch photography gallery, she organizes and leads the Book Case Study, a lecture and workshop program on the making and publishing of photo books.



Flâneur – New Urban Narratives

Documentary Film

What can change the photographers’ creative process when it is associated to the concept of ‘Flâneur’? How can a ‘Flânerie’ narrative be created? How do the photographers explore relationships with the community and the territory where they are drifting? Will the relation artist-public change when the artistic work is exhibited on a street or a square, instead of the sheltered walls of a museum or a gallery?

In this documentary film we hear the perspectives of the participants for the project Flâneur – New Urban Narratives, that will take place in several European cities between 2015 and 2017.

Flâneur is a network project based on an international partnership of some 20 organisations from 11 different countries. Its main purpose is to carry out artistic interventions in public spaces through contemporary photography. The Project encourages artists to create new interpretations of the urban terrain, taking the concept of flâneur as a starting point and considering the physical context of the city as a social kaleidoscope in constant evolution. Besides the art projects and interventions in the public space, Flâneur is comprised of several other dimensions brought to light in workshops, masterclasses, artistic residences, creative camps and conferences – initiatives intended to foster a critical analysis of contemporary photography and contribute to a discussion about the public space as a social territory.

During its two-year span, Flâneur was represented in the 13 cities. The artwork is created by photographers invited to pursue artistic residences in each city, as well as local photographers, thus mixing outside and inside point of view, and is further complemented by the artwork produced in studios open to local residents. The work created in all these cities is presented in photo exhibitions in public spaces, bringing to the squares, parks and streets pieces of artwork that would normally be enclosed in museums and galleries. It is, at the same time, a process of deconstruction and democratisation of art enjoyment, sharing it with a heterogeneous audience. The display itself becomes a replication of the city, open and accessible 24 hours a day.

Flâneur generates a transversal overview of the different social dynamics that are the fabric of urban territories. The peculiarity of this particular ‘portrait’ is the fact that it is produced by a broad and diverse group of creators, who, with a common theme, take a fresh look at the plurality of realities that define each urban space. Flâneur shares with the public these contemporary and plural views, inviting you to engage in your own flânerie around your own city and rediscovering.


Tom Hunter


The ancient landscape which includes parts of the medieval Sherwood Forest to the East and borders

the Peak District to the West is home to more than 400,000 people across scores of towns and villages which pepper this land. The myths and legends that have grown out of this region have resonated through the centuries and around the world. Its tales of the green man and outlaws hiding out in the heaths and woodlands, living by their own codes and defying authority, go hand in hand with the mining communities that have latterly come to define this area of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. The banding together of people to extract a living from the subterranean underworld has not only shaped the landscape but the people above and their camaraderie and community. With the disappearance of the mining industry the spoils of the slagheaps have been regenerated into plantations and the green fingers of the forest rise up once again. I have criss-crossed a diverse landscape of villages, towns, moors, heathlands and woodlands. The images I have created are my response to this area and the people I encountered. The young woman standing outside the cave dwelling with its bricked-up windows and doors tells the tale of her great-grandfather and the troglodyte community who once inhabited these spaces. Carved into the sandstone of the Mansfield escarpment they are now hidden from public view and have fallen back into the hands of nature.

This seems to symbolise much of the human and industrial heritage of the area which is constantly being abandoned, reclaimed and reborn. Likewise, the image of the young boy with the ‘No Frack’ placard, in the woods takes on some of the exuberant defiance of the ancient forest outlaws or the striking miners, who throughout the centuries have stood up for their beliefs against authoritarian dictates. All the images in this project mix together the people with the mysterious landscape to create a picture of the present intertwined with its layers of rich history.


Tom Hunter Biography

Tom Hunter’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally in major solo and group shows, recently: Life and Death in Hackney, National Gallery Washing D.C. USA; Seduced by Art, National Gallery, UK; A Palace for Us, Serpentine Gallery, UK; Another Story, Photography from the Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden. He has published five books including Le Crowbar (Here press 2013) The Way Home (Hatje Cantz, 2012).

Tom has earned several awards during his career, including an Honorary Doctorate of the Arts from the University of East London (2011) and an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society in 2010. He is a Professor of Photography Research at the London College of Communication, University of the Arts London.

Tom graduated from the London College of Printing in 1994 with his work ‘The Ghetto’, which is now on permanent display at the Museum of London. He studied for his MA at the Royal College of Art, where, in 1996, he was awarded the Photography Prize by Fujifilm for his series ‘Travellers’. In 1998 ‘Woman Reading a Possession Order’ from his series ‘Persons Unknown’, won the Photographic Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery.

In 2006 Tom became the only artist to have a solo photography show at the National Gallery for his series ‘Living in Hell and Other Stories’. Tom has been commissioned by the Serpentine Gallery London, The Victoria and Albert Museum, the Museum of London and The Royal Shakespeare Company. His works are in many collections around the world including; MOMA, New York, The V&A, London, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Smithsonian, Washington, National Gallery, Washington, National Gallery, London and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.





Strata is a reflection on the history of mine workers in East Midlands seen through the lens of the landscape, understood both as witness and record of their presence and legacy.

The work combines landscape pictures taken by Discipula with archival materials from Mansfield Coal Authority and details taken from banners representing local lodges of Miners’ Trade Union. Each of these different visual sources embody specific points of view on the East Midlands. If Discipula’s original images represent an imaginary point of departure as the spontaneous response of strangers discovering an unknown territory, the ones selected from the Coal Authority archive and the Trade Unions’ banners taken into account more specific aspects of the relationship between the land, its resources and the role that mining played on it. More specifically, while the Coal Authority provides an institutional and therefore formal view on mining industry as a whole, the graphic illustrations of the banners reveal the core principles and values of the working class as well as its strong connection with the land and its history.    

Along with an original textual contribution from Discipula, the interaction between these multifaceted sources creates an open dialogue through which to reassess, in a time of dramatic political and economic reconfiguration, the legacy of the mine workers while questioning at the same time the notion and meaning of landscape itself.


About Discipula

Discipula is collaborative platform operating in the field of contemporary visual research founded in 2013 by MFG Paltrinieri, Mirko Smerdel and Tommaso Tanini.

Working across a range of practices varying from art production to publishing and education, Discipula focuses on the exploration of the role and uses of images in the contemporary mediascape. The collective refers to images as political and economic tools, means of power and control whose ambiguous nature can be controlled to determine shifts in the perception of reality. With regards to this, Discipula pays particular attention to the role of the viewer as well as to the act of looking as a form of political conscience.

Discipula's work have been exhibited internationally at Unseen Photo Fair - Amsterdam, Photo 50 - London Art Fair, Matildenhohe Darmstadt, FORMAT Festival - Derby, Kunsthalle Budapest, Tokyo Institute of Photography and more.

Discipula is the recipient of various awards including Premio Fabbri for Contemporary Art 2016 and Les Rencontres d’Arles Author Book Award 2015.



Liz Hingley

Breathing Brass

For the Flanueur commission Liz Hingley explored the intimate relationship between brass instruments and players from the ex-mining area of Bolsover. The dedicated and diverse members of Bolsover’s Brass Bands today include accountants, professors, entrepreneurs, music students and sometimes whole families.

Clearing the lungs of coal miners was one of the initial functions of many brass bands. Liz became especially interested in the way that a player’s breath moves around an instrument to create sound. To capture this Liz used an Infrared optical gas imagining camera, which is normally employed in heavy industry to pinpoint gas leaks.

As breath passes through a brass instrument the player leaves a trace of their DNA and tarnishes the metal. The instrument and player permanently alter each other. Liz photographed the markings engraved onto instruments throughout their lives and players who range from 5 -80 years old.  


Liz Hingley Biography

Liz Hingleyis British photographer and anthropologist. Migration, home and urban religion are ongoing themes in her diverse practice.  She is currently Artist in resident at The University of Birmingham and previously held posts at Fudan University in Shanghai, The University of Texas and University College London.  Liz also spent two years on a scholarship at FABRICA communication department in Italy. Her publications include Under Gods, stories from Soho Road (2010), Shanghai, Portraits De Villes (2013) and Home Made in Smethwick (2016). Liz’s most recent book Shanghai Sacred will be in 2017.  Her work has received numerous awards including The Photophilanthropy Award, Prix Virginia and the Getty Editorial Grant.


Anne Bourgeois-Vignon

Where do photographs 'live' in the digital realm, what 'spaces' do they inhabit? Where do we save and share our visual lives, and what does this mean for our visual literacy and memory? Exploring these themes and storytelling online through Magnum's new digital publishing platform, Anne Bourgeois-Vignon reflects on the role of photography today.


Anne Bourgeois-Vignon Biography

Anne Bourgeois-Vignon is the Global Digital Director of Magnum Photos. Her interests lie at the intersection of visual culture and media, with specific interest in the relationship between digital and physical experience. She concepts, commissions, and produces storytelling projects in multiple formats and outputs. Previously Anne has held roles as Creative Content Director of Nowness and Picture Director of Forward Publishing. She writes and talks about photography and has participated in numerous juries and reviews, including Arles, TIME Photobook of the Year, Lensculture, Format, the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, amongst others.



Poulomi Basu

A Ritual of Exile: Blood Speaks 

Blood Speaks. Red. The colour of love, marriage and purity but, also the colour of sin A Ritual of Exile investigates the causes and the consequences of normalized violence against women in Nepal and India. Perpetrated under the guise of Hindu tradition, the route cause of this violence is the impurity of a women’s menstrual blood. Hidden, under reported and unresolved, these women are untouchable and, as a result, this violence takes the form of ‘exiles’ which keeps menstruation shrouded in mystery and taboo, a weapon to shame women into subservience. In a world that is ravaged by war, the media is often full of images of those affected by conflict, but I have witnessed how, for many, the war begins at home.

These exiles are presented within a immersive multidisciplinary framework designed to instill a sense of urgency and activism into my audience and crack open the veil of silence and shame around women whose lives are shattered by such gender based violence and link these issues to wider conversations concerning genuine equality. 

My talk will detail my process to push beyond the boundaries of conventional storytelling to create a transmedia activism project. I will show how I have devised this project to be shown across multiple platforms in order to reach the most geographically wide audience. I will focus how I have used new technologies, such as virtual reality, to create a piece of immersive journalism and beyond traditional frameworks.


Poulomi Basu Biography

Poulomi Basu is an Indian storyteller, artist and activist. She was born and raised by her mother in Calcutta. Although no exposure to photography growing up, she found early inspiration in the city’s rich cinematic history. After her father’s sudden death when Poulomi was 17, her mother told her to leave home, to follow her dreams and live a life of breadth and choices that was denied to her. Since then, Poulomi prefers the path less trodden. Time and again, she has found herself amongst ordinary people who quietly challenge the prevailing orthodoxies of the world in which they live: rural women in armed conflict, women forced in exile, a mother's pain for a son lost to ISIS. Poulomi is forever in awe of the resilience shown by those in extraordinary circumstance, by those who are bent but not broken. Her work has become known for documenting the role of women in isolated communities and conflict zones and more generally for advocating for the rights of women. In December 2015, she shared a platform with the parents of the Nirbhaya Delhi rape victim talking about her social activist initiative, The Rape in India Project. And, in January 2016 at the UN Young Changemakers Conclave, Poulomi spoke on the social impact of sustainable development with specific reference to her long-term project A Ritual of Exile and her collaboration with NGO Water Aid and their To Be A Girl campaign, which raised £2 million, using her work. She was invited in January 2016 to speak at the National Geographic Annual Seminar in D.C. Poulomi was featured alongside Hilary Clinton as one of the one of the 'Amazing women from around the world giving their best advice' by Refinery29. Poulomi was part of the VII Mentor Program.

She is the Director of Just Another Photo Festival, a traveling guerrilla visual media festival that democratizes photography by taking it to the people and forging new audiences. Her festival was shortlisted by BJP as 2015’s most ‘Cool and Noteworthy’ and in 2016 in JM Colberg’s Conscientious Photography Magazine as an alternate voice of the ‘audience’ in this rare photo land.

Poulomi’s ongoing work A Ritual Of Exile won the Magnum Emergency Fund 2016, and was a W.Eugene Smith Finalist 2016. Additionally the Magnum Foundation also awarded her the What Works 2016 Human Right Fellow grant and she was nominee for the FOAM Paul Huff award in 2015. She won the Firecracker 2nd place in 2015 for Mothers of ISIS Fighters which is due for an exhibition on Poetics of War and Secrecy in Oxford 2017. She was a Magnum Foundation Human Rights Fellow in 2012 among many others.

Poulomi’s works has been exhibited in a variety of venues such as the Bronx Documentary Centre NY, House of Commons and Palace of Westminster, St. James’ Palace, London; Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting, Geneva, Human Rights Watch Fundraising Exhibition and to even the villages and fringe communities in the streets of India.



Lars Willumeit

Unfamiliar Familiarities — Outside Views on Switzerland

Switzerland’s image has been shaped decisively by tourism. In addition to traveling amateurs who guaranteed a permanent dissemination of images of Switzerland, there were also numerous professionals whose works have contributed towards advertising the country. Through this it has been possible to market the country successfully with photographs of spectacular mountain panoramas and rural idylls.

Triggered by the 2017 centennial of Switzerland Tourism, I have been for the past two years involved as co-curator and project manager in the exhibition and publication project Unfamiliar Familiarities — Outside Views on Switzerland highlighting the connection between habitat, identity, travel and photography. The project was realized together with Peter Pfrunder, director of Fotostiftung Schweiz in Winterthur and Tatyana Franck, director of Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne.

The project is based on artist commissions by five internationally renowned photographers that have been invited to, as it were, shed light on Switzerland – unimpeded by any advertising agenda. When selecting the photographers the exhibition curators placed great emphasis on diverse perspectives, choosing positions that were distinguishable in terms of their origins, working methods and previous knowledge of Switzerland.

The artists Alinka Echeverría, Shane Lavalette, Eva Leitolf, Simon Roberts and Zhang Xiao were invited to propose a concept outline and to then realize it by traveling over the course of 2016 on multiple trips exploring contemporary Switzerland in order to develop new images ‚of‘ and potentially also ‚for‘ Switzerland. So the aim was not to show a representative image of Switzerland, but to provide an opportunity to see the familiar anew and from a subjective vantage point.

The presentation will look at these five fundamentally different travelogues about an island at the heart of Europe – a plurality of views on the habitat of Switzerland.


Lars Willumeit Biography

Lars Willumeit (born 1974) is a German social anthropologist based in Zurich, Switzerland. As an independent curator, author, and photo editor, he has been working with the medium of photography in different modes since 1993. His interests lie in photography, documentarisms, regimes of representation, and visual cultures. Since the early 2000s, Willumeit has served in the capacity of photoeditor for numerous magazines, most notably for GEO magazine, in Hamburg and New York, and as photo director, from 2008–2013, for the Zurich-based Du: Die Zeitschrift der Kultur. Between 2013 and 2015, he curated exhibitions and festival presentations for East Wing (an exhibition space and platform for photography basedin Dubai) and the FORMAT International Photography Festival in Derby; and was a contributing author to the photobook Deposit by Yann Mingard, as well as to a dictionary entitled Factory Tools, which was published within Fabrik, the catalogue of the German Pavilion (curated by Florian Ebner) at the 2015 Venice Biennale. In 2016 he was chief curator of Krakow Photomonth in Poland. 



Martin Parr


Martin Parr talks about his long career in photography, how his work has developed and his aim to produce an archive about contemporary Britain.

This event is supported by Leica Cameras.



Conference Chairs


Huw Davies has a background as a photographer, filmmaker and curator. He is currently Professor of Lens Media at the University of Derby and former Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Design and Technology. He co-founded the Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival in Northumberland in 2004, was its Artistic Director until 2009 and is currently Chair of its Board. He is a board member / trustee of several arts and cultural organisations including QUAD, Derby Theatre, UK Young Artists and has been a member of the FORMAT Steering Group / Jury Member since 2009.


Dr Philip Harris graduated with BA (Hons) Fine Art from Newcastle Polytechnic in 1992. After several years of developing projects and exhibitions he undertook MA Fine Art at Birmingham City University, graduating in 1999. Philip was awarded a PhD for his thesis Photographing Landscape: A Theory of the Experience of Making from BCU in 2011. Current research employs phenomenological and hermeneutic philosophical methods to explore theories of making and engagement with landscape environments and imagery. Philip is currently Programme Leader for BA (Hons) Photography and MA Film and Photography at the University of Derby.





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