Arts Calendar Gives Old Sites A New Look

Kedleston Road campus 504x257 Arts Calendar Gives Old Sites A New Look

Date posted: 11 December 2008

Historic sites and events from around the East Midlands have been given a very different look by a University of Derby photo-digital artist, in a new calendar to mark a good year for regional arts.


John Goto, Professor of Fine Art at the University, has taken images of well-known sites, such as Lincoln Cathedral and Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, and notable events in their history, and populated them with urban hip-hop and Bollywood style dancers. The project is a groundbreaking partnership between the University and Arts Council England, East Midlands.

The series of 12 images, entitled A Dance to the Muzik of Time: A journey through the East Midlands, can be seen in the regional arts organisation’s 2009 calendar. The calendar will be launched at 10.30am on Thursday 18 December at the Quad centre, Market Place, in Derby city-centre. A version of the project will also be shown over the festive season on the BBC Big Screen  in the Market Place

Copies of the limited edition calendar will be distributed by Arts Council England, East Midlands, and its partner arts organisations and the University. It will also be displayed at the East Midlands Europe, Brussels, and distributed to organisations across Europe.

Arts Council England, East Midlands, wanted something special for its calendar, to celebrate a year in which many of the new arts facilities it has invested in have opened. In 2008 the New Art Exchange in Nottingham, Derby’s QUAD centre, the First Movement LEVEL Centre in Rowsley, Derbyshire; and Curve in Leicester all opened. A fifth site, the Nottingham Contemporary art gallery, will open in 2009.

Laura Dyer, Executive Director for Arts Council England, East Midlands, said: “This is one of the most exciting periods for the arts in the region, providing world-class facilities which, together with the region’s existing attractions and strong cultural scene, will put us firmly on the cultural and tourism map of England.

“We wanted to celebrate this success in a unique and special way and commissioned internationally recognised photo-digital artist John Goto to produce A Dance to the Muzik of Time.”

The calendar features 12 outstanding images which John has created, featuring professional dancers in iconic regional locations, which already attract great numbers of visitors.

The images, representing different counties, include:

  • Derbyshire – Chatsworth House and Cromford Mill
  • Lincolnshire – Lincoln Cathedral and All Saints Church at Great Sturton
  • Nottinghamshire – Southwell Minster and Newstead Abbey
  • Leicestershire – BelvoirCastle and Curve, Leicester
  • Rutland– NormantonChurch
  • Northamptonshire – Northampton Market Square and Althorp House.

John based the look of his images on that of toy theatres created by Victorian artist John Redington and old postcards of regional sites. He also read architectural historian Sir Nikolaus Pevsner’s guides to the counties’ buildings.

He came up with the idea of a route through the East Midlands, which would act as a timeline, charting historical events. This also echoes the development of the medieval pilgrimage into the 18th century Grand Tour, and then modern tourism.

John said: “One of the great things about the present day East Midlands is its vibrant diversity of cultures.

“I worked with breakdancing troupe Groundhogs, North Indian Kathak classical dancers Manushi and Bollywood dancers Desi Masti. The costumes they are wearing in the images are deliberately anachronistic, mixing period costumes with contemporary street and club fashions.

“It’s been tremendous fun making this series – working with great dancers and visiting marvellous locations – and I hope this comes across. The pictures also deal with weighty subjects such as time, history and shifting ideas of culture.”

John’s work has also been exhibited at Tate Britain, the National Portrait Gallery and The Photographers’ Gallery in London, and shown widely in Europe. More of his work can be seen at website:


For further information about John Goto please contact University of Derby Press and PR Officer Sean Kirby on 01332 591891 or 07876 476103, or email:

For media information about the calendar, or an invite to the launch event, please contact David Storer, Communications Officer at the Arts Council England, East Midlands, on telephone: 0115 989 7580 or email:

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