Deptford X Fringe 2017 meeting & Social

Are you an artist based in or near Deptford? Are you interested in finding out more about the Deptford X Fringe, and maybe taking part this year?

Deptford X 2017 Fringe is an open-call programme strand for independent projects, supported – but not controlled – by Deptford X. In the past we’ve had art occupying shop windows, libraries, roundabouts, public walls, railway arches, and pubs. No nook or cranny is left unfilled. Last year we had over 80 different exhibitions and events across 40 venues: a real celebration of local culture!

Whether or not you've heard of, or participated in, Deptford X Fringe before – the meeting is open to anyone interested in finding out more about this year's Fringe. Please join us at the Duke (125 Creek Rd, SE8 3BU) for an informal Fringe meeting, where we can update you on the plans for this year's festival. We have some exciting announcements to make, and we want to hear your feedback and answer your questions!

We are also delighted to introduce you to one of our partners, Kitmapper, who make it easier for artists to hire AV equipment from other artists at reasonable rates. Come along to hear more from founder Dave.

We'll be heading to the pub at 6pm and kicking off the meeting at 6.30, after which we invite everyone to stick around, have a drink, and meet one another.

Please sign up via eventbrite so we know to expect you!

Trustee Vacancies

Board Trustees - Deptford X

Deptford X is London’s longest running contemporary visual arts festival and has been experienced by over one million people since inception in 1998. The organisation continues to innovate and reinvent itself, and is currently building upon it’s core festival remit with other programming activities throughout the year as well as providing studios space for local artists and running the DX Gallery.

It is an exciting time for Deptford X. The curated programmes are stronger than ever, the community in the area is ever changing, providing a range of art engagement points for local residents, and the wider art world is taking notice. 

Deptford X is a charity which is run day to day by an executive team and governed by a board of trustees. We are actively seeking to develop our board capability specifically in the areas of PR & communications, finance, programme development and fundraising.

If you have a background in one or more of these areas and are passionate about helping build upon the successes of Deptford X, then please contact us with a CV and a covering letter describing how you believe you might be able to contribute

NB: This is a voluntary role, and therefore no remuneration.

The document below provides more information about Deptford X and the expectations of the roles available. 

Please send all correspondence to with 'BOARD APPLICATION' in the subject.


Deptford X Festival Blog #3 Takeshi Shiomitsu

Takeshi Shiomitsu has shared some videos that have influenced his work for his Platform 2016 commission for Deptford X. His technological installation in an empty shop unit at Norfolk House on Brookmill Road, Layout (Array), draws attention to the unfinished nature of the space, in contrast with the poised and careful arrangement of objects. Shiomitsu writes:

I find it hard to write about what I'm trying to do when I'm making art. Usually when I make something I'm trying not to talk about it. I made something for Deptford X this past weekend –it was the only time I had that I wasn't at work. I put together this list of videos last week while I was trying to figure out how to frame an artwork that I hadn't made yet. It's quite broad. It's a list of talks, sounds and images which have stuck in my head, been useful or important to the way I've been thinking in recent months. I hope, at least, that they point you in some interesting directions.

Deptford X festival blog #2: Berry Patten

Berry Patten tells us more about her Platform 2016 commission and through the roof we hit the ceiling. Patten’s process is thought-provoking and addresses directly the site that she chose for this commission. The installation will inhabit the corridor-like gallery space that looks out on to Brookmill Road.

The nature of the space presents an unusual challenge for artists and curators, but Patten was interested in the potential of the gallery. Her approach takes in imagined alternate-world situations for spaces such as these, and considers an aesthetic that is replicated so frequently across our cities that we barely even stop to register what it means. The physical work doesn’t stop with the de-installation, either – she reveals her plans for the materials afterwards, highlighting the inherent value of the components of a public art work.

Berry Patten: a cheap night in (video still) 2016

Berry Patten: a cheap night in (video still) 2016

Deptford X: Can you tell me about your practice?

Berry Patten: My work includes drawing, print, sculpture, film, and performance. I'm interested in the navigational process and the tensions of an investigation — this often manifests in a sense of open discussion within the work. A diaristic approach keeps the work entwined with my subjective experience of society as I open up a potentially awkward, vulnerable and anxiety inducing discussion around issues of identity, gender, class and various socio-political conditions in contemporary society, most recently focusing on housing.

DX: Can you tell me a little about the location you've chosen for your work and why you chose to use that space?

BP: I was really interested in the awkwardness of the gallery dimensions, the way the space felt it shouldn't really be entered but viewed from outside and the fact that its primary viewing point was from the busy road. I wanted to explore this idea of a highly specific, architecturally imposed distance as a mode of engagement with a public audience. In Appleyard & Lynch A View From the Road they talk about the road user being a captive audience. ‘The driver seeks to find meaning in what he sees: to relate the visible objects to the stock of ideas in his mind. Would it be possible to use the highway as a means of education, a way of making the driver aware of the function, history and human values of the world.’ This made me think of how you experience the exterior of buildings when you are a a passenger on the road. I talked about this in a previous film work, being a child passenger on long journeys and the idea of racing an imagined rabbit/creature alongside the car with you. 

My installation concerns itself specifically with the range of approaches to disused properties in contemporary society, in a range of attempts to make as much money from or harness as much creative potential from the intermediary stage of a buildings usage. I hope to nudge the interest and curiosity of passing cars to question what the installation is, with its visual language so close to the everyday fabric of background architectural noise… Is a new restaurant opening? Is an old restaurant closing? What was there before? I want people to build their own narrative about this poised aesthetic of regeneration.

DX: What can you tell me about what you'll be doing for your Deptford X commission?

BP: I’m presenting a new work: and through the roof we hit the ceiling. Its a site-specific response to the space which occupies the ground floor of a large residential development. Boarding up the windows and installing fictional property guardians, I'm hoping to draw attention to the fluid and contested nature of space in London: how we use it, trade it, desire it and defend it. I got excited by the names property guardianship companies use, names such a Camelot and Dot Dot Dot… These romantic chimeras or dream like solutions seem ill at ease with the reality of what these schemes offer. The idea of Camelot originated from texts within Matter of Britain which make up a body of medieval literature and legendary material associated with Great Britain. I love the laconic language of that title… Within the context of this installation it's become a question - what's the matter with Britain? I found a campaign that was implemented by Burnley Council where they printed life like posters of vases of roses on window sills and neat painted doors to cover boarded up windows and doors of derelict properties in poor areas. It's like the fronts you get on building construction sites, proudly stating ‘We are changing the face of construction!’ I think these illusions of engineered promise are really interesting. What's behind the boarded up space of temporary living, renovation or new construction… A secret space is behind and that void allows imagined narrative, betrayal, cliche, gossip and fantasy. 

DX: In what ways will this work differ from or continue to pursue the themes and interests of your previous work up to this point?

BP: I usually build a very personal relationship to a space and think about the way it makes me feel and how I might marry those feelings with what I’ve been thinking about elsewhere at that time. My previous show was at a space where I had lived, cooked and spent time with different people in a personal way and that really directed the show in a very inwards and reflective direction, revealing intimate habits and cycles of thought.

This installation will be more about the space and location of the project allowing me to delve into an area of my work that concerns itself quite specifically with social issues. This show is about opening up the idea of cliche or hard-wired expectations, the language and visual language we have become worn down by when we think about the politics and aesthetics of regeneration. I think the way in which it carries on from my previous work is that the language I use to discuss this is the same. I'm trying to rethink an idea with instinct, curiosity, humour and absurdity. The impractical width of the space doesn't automatically allow for generosity in the sense of community or invitation within my work. Sharing, and the ongoing life of objects is an important thing to me; therefore I'm giving the boards used for the installation to Deptford X and to LARA Project Space after the show has finished, thus giving the work a future use and allowing it to become in itself a tenant or character in the story.

Deptford X festival blog #1: Joey Holder

Deptford X Festival is almost upon us, and with this in mind we will be keeping a blog introducing you to the key elements of the 2016 festival.

Platform 2016 is a new commissions programme, which replaces the ‘lead artist’ of the past few years with five emerging artists, each nominated by a panel of art-world professionals, and chosen by Deptford X Director Patrick Henry.

In the first blog post of this series, Deptford X spoke to Joey Holder, to find out more about the work that she will be showing in the festival. You may have seen her work before, as she took part in last year’s festival under the name ‘Dark Creatures’, showing at local gallery Res. for their Deptford X 2015 show Exta

Holder was nominated for Deptford X by David Mabb, Programme Leader of MFA Fine Art at Goldsmiths College, University of London. He nominated Holder on the basis that her many-layered explorations of artificial and organic forms create a hybrid world in which painterly and digitised forms exist in parallel.

Holder’s film Ophiux will premiere at the Deptford X festival on Friday 23 September at the St Nicholas’ Church Crypt.

Joey Holder, Ophiux, 2016. Courtesy the artist.

Joey Holder, Ophiux, 2016. Courtesy the artist.

Deptford X: Can you tell me about your practice?

Joey Holder: I am interested in the structures and hierarchies of the technological and natural world and how these systems are constantly abstracted. Mixing elements of biology, nanotechnology and natural history against computer program interfaces, screen savers and measuring devices, I see no object or substance in any fixed state or with any permanent definition, identity or order; everything is transforming and morphing into something else; everything is a mutant and a hybrid.

Connecting forms which have emerged through our human taste, culture and industrial processes I investigate complex systems that dissolve notions of the ‘natural’ and the ‘artificial’. GM products, virtual biology and aquatic creatures are incorporated into an extended web; challenging our perception of evolution, adaptation and change. By contrasting so-called ‘organic’ and ‘man-made’ substances and surfaces through a series of abstractions, I create a world of manifold layers, none more unified or natural than the next. These hybridities may suggest a particular function or natural form but remain elusive through their odd displacement.


DX: What does Deptford mean to you?

JH: I lived in the area for 6 years, and have only just recently moved. I regularly come back to Deptford to visit friends, or go to the market – it still feels like home. 


DX: Can you tell me a little about the location you've chosen for your work and why you chose to use that space?

JH: In 2008 I began my MFA studies at Goldsmiths and that year I volunteered to help at the Deptford X festival. One of the most memorable things I saw there was a video work situated in the crypt underneath St Nicholas' Church. The space was completely enveloping – enclosed and hidden down an uneven stairway, with incredible acoustics. When I heard this space was available I jumped at the chance. 


DX: What can you tell me about what you'll be doing for your Deptford X commission?

JH: The commission is part of a large scale project called 'Ophiux' which consists of a physical exhibition, showing across two sites: Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge and ANDOR Gallery, London, as well as an online platform and stand-alone film. The film is co-commissioned by Deptford X and will premier at the festival.

The ideas for Ophiux started out on a residency at Wysing Arts Centre in the spring of 2015 for their programme titled 'The Multiverse'. Rather than thinking about the multiverse as something outside of our own worldview, something that lies beyond, in outer-space or elsewhere, I wanted to focus our own environment. Much of the world’s natural life remains undiscovered, for all our technologies we still don’t know most of the bacterial life that exists on the palm of our own hand. We frequently hear about scientific discoveries that dispel our preconceptions of life-forms that have evolved to deal with intense conditions and hostile environments. 

One of the most perplexing is the existence of complex communities of creatures in deep volcanic ocean trenches that survive in extreme heat without light or oxygen. To us, they are inhabitable ‘alien universes’ and have the potential to change our preconceptions and theories. They are not part of speculation or science fiction and indeed are much stranger: these ‘alternate universes’ exist here on Earth. 

On the residency I was introduced to two scientists working in Cambridge, one of which was a Biologist specialising in these creatures which live in the deep Antarctic Ocean. The other was a computational biologist working at the whose specialism was in genetics. I began to think about how different species of animal and plant life is sampled in science and utilised for our own means. Within most scientific practice it seems as if everything has become a branch of computer science, even our own bodies probed, imaged, modelled and mapped: re-drawn as digital information. I began to imagine a future in which every single life-form, human and animal had been discovered and used as ‘data'. This is where the idea for 'Ophiux' began.

I imagined an automated futuristic medical room, being fed information from a diverse data bank sampled from the furthest regions of the natural world. Within the film there are virtual models of an MRI scanner, C-Arm X-ray machine and genetic sequencing machines all governed and produced by a speculative pharmaceutical company named 'Ophiux'.


DX: In what ways will this work differ from or continue to pursue the themes and interests of your previous work up to this point?

JH: The work will continue themes from previous exhibitions including 'BioSTAT.'  and 'P R O T E U S'. It is my largest scale project to date, and something that I have been developing for the past year and a half. I am excited about the project finally coming together and the film premiering at the festival.

Holder received her BA from Kingston University and her MFA from Goldsmiths in 2010. She was a finalist for the Dazed Emerging Artist Award (2013) and is nominated for the forthcoming Vordemberge-Gildewart Award (2016). 

Read an interview with Joey Holder by AQNB here

Deptford X announces new visual identity for the 2016 festival

Deptford X are thrilled to introduce you to the new graphic visual identity for the 2016 festival, designed by Josie Tucker and Richard Ashton. The designs have been printed as double-sided A3 posters and will be distributed at the beginning of August, and will be implemented across our websites and a printed map, released at the beginning of September. 

Each poster represents the two programme strands that have come to define Deptford X. The designs riff on our historic logo – the X that marks the spot. The X on the Platform 2016 creates depth with a 3D element that hints at the platform it represents, and the X on the Fringe poster is expanded into a map-like formation that represents the active seeking-out of fringe projects as you find your way around Deptford during the festival.

Gillian Best Powell 1955-2016

Last week we were shocked and saddened to learn that Gillian Best Powell, a trustee of Deptford X since 2014, had passed away.

Gillian was an artist who trained in the US and her native Uruguay before moving to London where she was a co-founder of Cor Blimey Arts and Core Gallery. Gillian had a studio at APT and since 2012 had worked with Nolia Devlin to organise and curate exhibitions. She made a huge contribution to the local art scene over many years, was an active member of South London Women Artists, and brought her charm and positive outlook to everyone she encountered - she was much loved and respected. We will miss her very much.

Deptford X Announces 2016 Programme


The programme for Deptford X 2016, the longest-running contemporary art festival in London, running from 23rd September to 2nd October, was announced today by Patrick Henry, Director of the festival.

For the eighteenth edition of Deptford X, a new programme structure has been introduced, that reimagines the festival whilst building on its strengths and legacy. The core programme will be a commissions platform for substantial works by five emerging artists. This is a focused programme that offers the chosen artists an exciting commission and development support, and provides the art world and the public with a talent showcase and ambitious new work that responds to the festival’s unique context.

The Platform 2016 artists are Johann Arens, Joey Holder, Manuel Mathieu, Berry Patten, and Takeshi Shiomitsu. These five artists have been selected from a shortlist of nominations by a panel of art world experts. These are Rózsa Farkas, David Mabb, Ellen Mara De Wachter, Fatos Üstek and George Vasey.

The ten-day festival will see these ambitious visual arts projects installed in a diverse range of sites and venues across Deptford, South East London. They form the core programme of the festival, named ‘Platform 2016’, which sits alongside the parallel Fringe festival.

The Deptford X Fringe will return to its original form as an open programme strand for independent projects, facilitated and supported – but not curated – by Deptford X. We are currently inviting artists to propose projects for the fringe, and will be accepting proposals from 20th June – 30th August 2016. The submission criteria are available via the website,

We are delighted that the 2016 festival is supported by Anthology as our lead sponsor, as well as receiving funding from Arts Council England and Lewisham Council. Our premises, gallery, event space and studios are generously provided by Galliard Homes.

Helen Goodier, Chair of Trustees of Deptford X said: “We are excited to welcome Patrick Henry as Director of Deptford X and to launch Deptford X's new platform for emerging artists. In doing so we aim to provide an important new opportunity for artists at a difficult stage in their careers, and to open up Deptford X to new audiences.”

Ben Allen, Project Director of the Anthology Deptford Foundry development said: “As a new property developer, Anthology is committed to doing things differently, ensuring that the communities which we develop seamlessly fit within the fabric of the existing neighbourhoods. Deptford X is about celebrating the creative hub at the heart of this thriving community and we are pleased to be a part of such a cherished festival.”

Notes for editors

 1.   About the ‘Platform 2016’ artist nominations

         Each of the 5 nominators provided Deptford X with a shortlist of 3 artists, accompanied by a supporting statement, and Deptford X has selected the final 5, one from each list, through an internal curatorial process.

         — Rózsa Farkas is Founder, Curator & Editor of Arcadia Missa, an independent research and curatorial project based in Peckham, South East London. She nominated Takeshi Shiomitsu, a Chelsea graduate who has shown at AND/OR, Block Universe, MOT Project Space, and Arcadia Missa.

      — David Mabb is Programme Leader of MFA Fine Art (Studio Practice) at Goldsmiths College, University of London. He nominated Joey Holder, who graduated from the MFA Fine Art Programme at Goldsmiths. Her recent exhibitions include Lament for Ur, with Viktor Timofeev at Karst, Plymouth and The Multiverse, with Lis Rhodes, Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge.

      — Ellen Mara De Wachter is an independent writer and curator based in London. She nominated Berry Patten, whose solo show at the Zabludowicz Collection in 2013 has been followed by exhibitions in Newcastle, Antwerp, Leeds and London.

      — Fatos Üstek is an independent curator and writer based in London. She nominated Manuel Mathieu, a Haitian-born artist graduating this year from an MFA in Fine Arts at Goldsmiths. He installed the penultimate show at Fig-2 at the ICA in 2015, and has been included in exhibitions at the Grand Palais in Paris, and MAC in Montreal.

      — George Vasey is an independent curator and writer who since 2014 has also been Curator of the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art in Sunderland. He nominated Johann Arens, a recent graduate of the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam, whose work has been included in ‘Emotional Resources’, Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art (2014) and ‘A Small Hiccup,’ Grand Union (2013). 

2.   About Deptford X: London’s Contemporary Arts Festival

Deptford X supports and offers development opportunities to artists, enabling them to produce ambitious new work for a wide range of contexts and audiences.

Deptford X is London’s longest running contemporary visual arts festival and has been experienced by over one million people since its inception in 1998, presenting more than 360 established and emerging artists across ten days of site-specific installations, group exhibitions, open studios, tours, workshops, one-off performances and events. The festival brings together around 50 diverse venues across Deptford, South East London including galleries, studios, pubs, historic churches, high street shops, cafes, libraries, the cells of an old police station, and even phone boxes.

Deptford X’s new contemporary art gallery and events space is located within the newly developed site of the old Seager Distillery: 9 Brookmill Road, Deptford SE8 4HL. The gallery and event space opened on 25th September 2015.

3.   This year’s Deptford X festival, takes place from 23 September to 2 October 2016

4.   The deadline for submissions for the Festival Fringe is 30th August 2016 (6pm). The application forms can be accessed from from the 20th June. The fringe programme will be available online at the beginning of September.