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Read about our strategic partnership with the University of Derby

By - 10 May 2023 - 16:26pm

The University of Derby and Derby Book Festival have signed a strategic partnership to further strengthen their commitment to arts and culture in Derby.

The University was instrumental in helping to establish the first Derby Book Festival in 2015, and has since provided annual funding and in-kind sponsorship, as well as event support and opportunities to collaborate with staff and students.

The strategic partnership formalises this commitment and will see the two organisations working to develop innovative and impactful projects, events and activities that provide learning experiences to students outside of curriculum opportunities.

The partnership will also look at new ways to enrich the culture of the city, promoting the city and county as a destination and as a place to study, live and enjoy leisure, as well as supporting businesses and communities in the region.

It will also mean the organisations will work together to develop funding bids by Derby Book Festival, as well as increase engagement between the Festival and academic colleagues and researchers at the University.

Professor Kathryn Mitchell CBE DL, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Derby, said:

“As one of the Festival’s founding partners, we have been delighted by its success and are excited for this new chapter which will further strengthen the partnership between our two organisations.

“Over the years, we have witnessed the Festival develop in size and shape, attracting a range of notable speakers and guests, and we look forward to seeing how we can work together further to continue to enhance the city’s diverse arts and cultural offering.

“As a Civic university, we take the culture of our city seriously and are committed to playing our part, so we are delighted to expand on this relationship.”

Over the years, students at the University have volunteered, undertaken internships and been employed by the Book Festival – either from a technical events aspect, marketing or administration. The University has supported the Festival’s Flash Fiction Competition with Art and Design students producing a set of illustrations for the winning stories, printed on the Festival bookmarks.

In addition, academic and executive colleagues have interviewed a range of authors and speakers as part of Derby Book Festival, with events being hosted at the University, including 'Meet the Author' events for schools, which are livestreamed at Derby Theatre, reaching around 10,000 children.

This new Strategic Partnership will build on the existing activity, and aligns to Derby’s Civic University Agreement, which was launched in 2022. Investing in culture as a driver for change is one of the key principles of the Agreement.

Liz Fothergill CBE, Chair of Derby Book Festival, who is also a University of Derby honorand, Court Member and former Governor, said:

“Since the concept of Derby Book Festival was first suggested, the University of Derby has been a committed and passionate partner, offering endless support, guidance and enthusiasm.

"The partnership has continued to develop with stronger relationships forming each year with staff, students and partner schools. By working together, we hope that our aim of bringing books to life and sharing the joy that reading brings to our lives can continue to be extended and enhanced.”

Derby Book Festival has two major Festivals each year – a summer and autumn edition. The Festival is organised in partnership with all the city's major arts and cultural partners, including the University, QUAD, Déda, Derby Museums, Derby LIVE, Derby Theatre, Derby College, Waterstones, Artcore and Marketing Derby.

Find out more about Derby Book Festival.

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