Derby exists in many of our frame of references as a hall of residence rather than a city of culture, but QUAD could be just the thing to persuade you to hop aboard a Red Arrow bus and change your mind. After some time and a lot of cash, this sleek building has sprung up in the Market Place to become home to an impressive arts and multimedia centre whose fun approach and regional focus has a pleasingly egalitarian feel.
On the ground floor you will find the BFI Mediatheque – a series of booths which each act like a kind of cinematic jukebox containing thousands of television programmes and films, a veritable treasure trove stretching back to cinema’s beginnings and out to every corner of the globe. If you can muster the will power to leave, Jane and Louise Wilson’s weirdly absorbing installation work ‘Spiteful of Dream’ beckons, an exploration of the Rolls Royce factory and its workers. It may not sound like very sexy subject matter, but something about the eerie disembodied sounds and huge suspended footage of menacing machinery had me feeling slightly hypnotised.
Returning back to the bright sunshine and coffee aromas of the café I noticed the photos which run up the stairs and into the first floor gallery. Each picture features seventeen grouped into categories like blondes, grandmothers, chefs or people named Sarah together making up a wildly miscellaneous and affirming mosaic image of the people of Derby. Maybe it’s time you came and met them…