Divine Locale graduate-led arts festival begins in Derby

Divine Locale, a graduate-led arts festival, is beginning at venues across Derby city centre from today (18 August 2017).

The contemporary arts festival is a grassroots and graduate-led programme taking place across a fortnight and  consisting of a group exhibition, workshops, artist talks and film screenings. Making use of venues in the city centre including The Spot, St Werburgh’s Church and in public spaces this year’s event is curated around the theme Locality by Divine Locale founders and University of Derby Fine Art graduates Jennifer Birch and Jade Foster.

An open call invited artists to submit work which invited recent graduates and emerging artists to, “explore, re-imagine and create work in response to their local environment and community.”

A launch event will be held on 18 August at The Spot to begin the two-week programme. It will include the start of a  live performance from Derby Emerging Artist Pierce Starre who has focused his piece of work around the phonetic sound for ‘hear’ and ‘here’. The performance is inspired by the artist’s parents being deaf and growing up in two worlds with two languages, one visual and one audible. Over the entire duration of the exhibition, the artist will be positioned on a chair in the gallery space with a blindfold over his eyes. He will remain completely silent as he listens intently. Surrendering eyesight and renouncing visual and verbal responses as well as remaining completely still and present in the space.

Birch and Foster began Divine Locale to provide a platform for graduate artists and developing artists to exhibit within a professional context and came from their own concerns as graduates about the lack of opportunities, project and exhibition space for emerging artists in smaller cities such as Derby.

Speaking to Derby News Birch said, “The aim of Divine locale is to exhibit the work of emerging and graduate artists in Derby; a city with a growing art community. We are showcasing 25 artists in total from all round the UK, making space and opportunities for creatives and bringing that diverse skill set to the city.

“This project has been a great opportunity for many; to work on our professional practice and develop our skills post graduating. Having graduated just a month ago, we have turned this festival round in a short space of time, to create an interesting and sustainable festival suitable for all, we hope to make it part of Derby’s annual art calendar.”

Divine Locale is the first beneficiary of the new Derby News Community Grant. Set up by editor Russell Pollard in memory of his parents the fund is open to applications from individuals and groups for important projects, aiming to support, “people who have great ideas, and are trying to do good, but need some modest support, can be helped.”

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