Header image: Antone Dolezal
Header image: Antone Dolezal
FORMAT25 OPEN CALL - Conflicted
FORMAT25 OPEN CALL - Conflicted
Take part in the next edition of the FORMAT International Photography Festival EXHIBITIONS / ARTISTS/ CURATORS / COLLECTIVES / PUBLICATIONS / AWARDS FOR ARTISTS

By clicking "Start Submission", you agree to be contacted by the host regarding this opportunity.

Start submission

By clicking "Start Submission", you agree to be contacted by the host regarding this opportunity.


FORMAT International Photography Festival is delighted to announce the festival theme CONFLICTED for the FORMAT25 Biennale and welcomes diverse and imaginative proposals from international photographers, curators, artists and collectives. Our eminent panel of international experts and the FORMAT Curatorial Team will view the submissions and select up to 5 outstanding projects to be exhibited at FORMAT25 in March 2025.

Invited from around the world, our Advisory Jury is:

Jean-Christophe Godet (Guernsey/France), Wang Peiquan (China), Wang Xueke Isabella (China), Clare Grafik (UK), Franek Ammer (Poland), Zoe Harrison (UK), Varun Nayar (US/India), Louise Fedotov-Clements (UK), Gemma Marmalade (UK), Peter Bonnell (UK and Poulomi Basu (India / UK).



Throughout history societies, civilizations and cultures have been subject to division and catastrophic change amidst periods of stability and peace. Recent times have borne witness to what would seem to be one monumental change and challenge after the other – a seemingly endless slew of emergencies including the Covid pandemic, a cost-of-living crisis, catastrophic wars, coupled with a sense – across the globe – that political populism is becoming the norm. Consensus, agreement and simple kindness can at times seem to be at a premium. The world is a conflicted place. Yet, photography is a medium that can have an uncanny ability to speak truth to power, to succinctly and powerfully reflect the world about us, and to make us stop, think and reset. Who better to help us through this time, to guide us and to help us understand, than the artist, the photographer; the filmmaker?

We are open to all approaches and ideas – from archives to the most contemporary and conceptual projects. We are keen to receive proposals from all the image-based genres - film, video, photographic series alongside single images; long term researched documentary; multimedia; VR; moving image; installation; publications; online; interactive; performance; participatory; mobile and interactive.

Selected entries will be given the opportunity to exhibit at FORMAT25 and a chance to receive one of the festival awards. All submissions will be seen by our FORMAT Curators and a longlist will be selected for final review by our panel of industry experts.

Comment from FORMAT Director, Peter Bonnell:

'FORMAT International Photography Festival, as I write this note, is celebrating its 20th anniversary – marking a remarkable history, progress and ethos since its inception in 2004. In these 20 years of work, FORMAT has unswervingly sought to discuss, showcase and celebrate the very best photographic and lens-based media practice from around the world.

This Open Call – to seek applications for exhibition as part of the 2025 Festival – is a crucial platform for us to be able to support artists, collectives and curators – from the local, to the national and international practitioner – to realise outstanding new projects of work. With the support of and advice of our exemplary judging panel our aim is to select work that comments on, examines further or is inspired by the 2025 Festival theme: 'Conflicted'. The term 'Conflicted' can be interpreted in multiple ways; but the fact – or facts – remain that our world is in even more of a heightened state of flux than ever before. Yet I am confident to know and excited to see the work and ideas that we will receive from artists across the globe as part of this Open Call.

Awards, Prizes & Opportunities

What Winners Will Receive

All submitting Artists/Photographers will each receive:

  • Submission review by the FORMAT Curatorial team and our diverse jury of international industry professionals

  • Opportunities for project exposure across festival materials, social media, website and press outreach.

Up-to 5 winning Artists/Photographers or Collectives will receive (all amounts in Pound Sterling):

  • Exhibition during FORMAT25 13 March – 6 April 2025

  • Artist fee of £1000

  • Reimbursement of travel costs up to £300

  • Accommodation during main opening weekend of the festival

  • Production costs for the exhibition

  • Feature in and a copy of the FORMAT25 special edition festival catalogue

  • Feature on the FORMAT25 website and social media accounts

  • 10% off tickets for selected events at FORMAT25

  • £20 reduction off the FORMAT25 International Portfolio Review fee

  • Opportunity to win one of our FORMAT25 Open Call awards

FORMAT25 Open Call Awards

  • FORMAT25 Open Call Award, £2500 exhibition production costs
  • The Spectrum Imaging Award for £1000 plus VAT in printing services and 20% discount on print finishing
  • The British Journal of Photography Award for a years full membership of BJP (both digital and a subscription) and an article about the selected artists work published on 1854.photography.
  • The Genesis Imaging Award for £1000 credit for photographic printing and finishing services.
  • Lishui Photography Festival Exhibition Award for a selected artist to attend and exhibit at the next festival in Lishui, China.

Application Fees and Deadlines

Application fee, Early Bird 22 EUR (Until 1 June 2024, 11:59pm BST)

Application fee, Standard 27 EUR (after 2 June 2024, 00:00am BST)

Images of previous winners
Antone Dolezal
Antone Dolezal
Part of Fortune and Part of Spirit
Claudia Amatruda
Claudia Amatruda
When you hear hoofbeats think of horses- not zebras
Craig Ames
Craig Ames
New Topographies-Images of an Algorithmic Landscape
Joanna Vestey
Joanna Vestey
M'hammed Kilito
M'hammed Kilito
Before it's gone
Maryam Wahid
Maryam Wahid
Sheung Yiu
Sheung Yiu
Ground Truth- or How To Resurrect A Tree
Terje Abusdal
Terje Abusdal
raudan jälgeä – spor etter jern
William Lakin
William Lakin
Five Minutes After Birth
Yzza Slaouoi
Yzza Slaouoi
Sincerely- Tendrara


FORMAT International Photography Festival was established in 2004 and is the UK’s leading international contemporary festival of photography and related media. FORMAT organises a year-round programme of international commissions, open calls, residencies, conferences and collaborations in the UK and Internationally.

Previous festival editions have welcomed over 300,000 visitors from all over the world. The biennale and off year programmes celebrate the wealth of contemporary photographic practice, reflecting our love of and for photography and all its expanded fields. Our programme features everything from major conceptual works, participatory projects, documentary and all that falls between categorisation – from the mobile phone to the archive. We are concerned with what is happening right here, right now in the scene and beyond. FORMAT is the place to engage with an incredible range of new work alongside some of the best archives and established practitioners in the world.

With comprehensive professional practice programmes and an annual International Photography Portfolio Review, FORMAT is focused on developing opportunities for audiences to see, debate, develop, contribute and participate in the best of what photography is and can be.

The biennale edition incorporates a range of venues and buildings across Derby, including: QUAD, University of Derby, Derby Museum & Art Gallery, Deda, Heritage Sites, the Market Place and satellite venues in nearby cities.

FORMAT is organised by and is a partnership between QUAD and the University of Derby. The festival is supported by Arts Council England, Derby City Council and UK and international partners. The FORMAT25 Open Call is supported by our generous partners including Picter, Spectrum Photographic, Genesis Imaging, Lishui International Photography Festival and the British Journal of Photography.


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