Our Arts research

The Digital and Material Artistic Research Centre (DMARC) is the academic research centre for our School of Arts. Our focus for DMARC is to increase understanding of the shifting boundaries and new relationships within artistic research practice and theory.


DMARC is the home to artistic research from the disciplines of Performing Arts, Music, Media, Art and Design within the School of Arts. Among other forms, our researchers explore the potential of hybrid art forms made possible by using digitalisation alongside the traditional arts, collaboration and working across disciplines. We share our research through our practice, exhibitions and published text.

We are active in many national and international research events and activities, such as the FORMAT International Film and Photography Festival held in Derby and the Heritage Lottery-funded DerwentWISE project. 

An exhibition of the artistic research of our academics celebrates the uniqueness of artistic research and its possibilities. Books, films, objects, drawings and prints are among the creative artefacts included to show the diversity of artistic delivery that is possible. We held our Arts Research Exhibition 2018 at our Markeaton Street site in Derby.

Angela Bartram dogs and owners

Our research groups

Our DMARC research is based around six research groups.


Animal is a term used widely to name any living creature other than the human. We use it to describe physiological, behavioural or psychological difference. And it designates the non-human in a manner that is often pejorative.

The interdisciplinary field of animal studies has, as a consequence, grown in significance in recent years. It has scholars and artists dedicated to challenging anthropocentrism (centred on humans) and exploring what it is to be animal in its many forms.

The researchers in our group contribute to this debate, as they interrogate what it is to be beyond the human. We look at microbes, mammals, political action, marginalisation, extremity, resistance and beastly behaviour.

This group offers thoughtful and provocative readings of this world of difference through practical and theoretical acts of research and dissemination. It is led by Ang Bartram and Steve Baker.

Commercial cultures

We aim to produce meaningful outcomes by changing the ways we view and create commercial work. The group is led by Mark Hall.


We will explore disability and inclusiveness in a project that will include two feature-length films, articles and exhibitions. The group is led by Christine Templeton-Parker.


BOOK explores the form and purpose of the book format through the prism of the artists’ book. The research group investigates the constructed nature of the form and meaning of the artists’ book. It looks at how a book can be a found or a made object. That is understood as:

Our research focuses on the accidental and the found as chance encounters in the making and meaning of the artists' book. We look at the temporal or ephemeral status of the book and its potential for a multiplicity of readings, constructed by the reader as much as the author. The form allows for an open and enquiring examination of the reader-author relationship. The group is led by Tim Shore and Tracy Tomlinson.


This research group considers the work of artists, photographers and filmmakers in both an historical and contemporary context. We will also investigate the issues of creating spaces for work to be shown or disseminated. There is a particular interest in the work of women artists who are under-represented in terms of visibility and exhibition space. The group will also consider different ways to curate, exhibit, and display work in order to enhance circulation, visibility and critique. The focus of Spaces/Places will emerge via discussion and participants’ research interests.

Spaces/Places is partly inspired by the work of Agnès Varda. She included art, photography and filmmaking within her work and challenged ideas about representation and inclusion. We are interested in the ways in which women’s art and other work has often been marginalised and the extent to which visibility and access can create further discourse and dialogue. The spaces explored may be physical or digital, traditional or alternative and will place artists and their work within a wider critical dialogue. Spaces/Places welcomes members who are within and external to the University and collaboration is a significant aspect of our approach. The group is led by Teresa Forde.

Alice Marshall dance performance
Robert Burstow Sculpture in the Home Exhibition

Your PhD - study with us

We welcome applications for PhD artistic research study in practice and theory. We can offer you an intellectually stimulating environment through the subject clusters of Media, Performing Arts, Art and Design. Our PhD programme gives you a freedom to pursue new and innovative ideas within and beyond these areas, guided by experienced and leading academics in the field and sector.

Interdisciplinary and cross-school research projects are considered, such as those that straddle Arts and Health and Arts and Humanities. We are open to discussing proposals that stimulate and engage through creative exploration and invite you to enquire about ways we can support your PhD study.

If you would like to discuss your project proposal with us, then please contact Dr Angela Bartram, Head of Arts Research and DMARC, at a.bartram@derby.ac.uk and Dr Robert Burstow, Post-Graduate Research Lead for the School of Arts, at r.burstow@derby.ac.uk.

Sadie Wechsler's Takeoff of a rocket heading through the clouds

FORMAT International Photography Festival

FORMAT is the UK’s leading biennial festival of contemporary photography and is organised in Derby by QUAD and our Digital and Material Artistic Research Centre (DMARC).

Find out more about FORMATFind out more about FORMAT

Our objectives

The objectives of DMARC are to:

Marc Bosward Untitled Work in Progress collage

Our events

We hold our regular Arts Talk series with guest speakers. 


Paul Hurley

5-6pm Wednesday 28 November

Room MS146 School of Arts,
Markeaton Street,

Michael Schwab

5-6pm Wednesday 14 November

Room MS023 School of Arts,
Markeaton Street,

Steve Baker
Between theory and practice: art and the question of contemporaneity

5-6pm Wednesday 31 October

Room MS146 School of Arts,
Markeaton Street,

Dr Michael Lent

5-6pm Wednesday 17 October

Room MS146 School of Arts,
Markeaton Street,

Tim Etchells  5-6pm Wednesday 26 September Room MS146 School of Arts,
Markeaton Street,
Confetti falling at S.H.E.D

S.H.E.D (Social Higher Education Depot)

S.H.E.D is our mobile arts commissioning venue and public space. Transformed from an old garden shed, it is now a place for conversation and an alternative site for artistic practice.

Find out how you can use S.H.E.D to engage your audienceFind out how you can use S.H.E.D to engage your audience