Queens' Arts Festival Facebook/Queens' Arts Festival

Organising the Queens’ Arts Festival has, for obvious reasons, been tricky this year. I was involved in the festival last year and so knew what a brilliant event it was, bringing together the work of students from many colleges across Cambridge. Emily Symmington (the co-director) and I had plans to extend the festival into Queens’ outdoor spaces to make it more visible and immersive. As it became clear that some form of restrictions were going to be with us for the foreseeable future, we adapted our plans with the help of our fabulous committee. Queens’ has had a ban on non-college members which meant that any work that went up in college would only be visible to Queens’ students. Given the normal scope of the festival, it seemed like a mistake to limit our audience, especially when addressing the theme of ‘Community’.

“Given the normal scope of the festival, it seemed like a mistake to limit our audience, especially when addressing the theme of “Community”.”

So, we produced several ideas about how we could present the art in an accessible, Covid-safe way. In the first national lockdown I had seen a local scheme near my house where artists displayed their work in the windows of their homes. We considered ways in which it could be applied in Cambridge, and decided that getting local cafes and businesses involved would be a brilliant way of drawing attention to the festival for those not in the know, as well as allowing us to support local businesses. We were also trying to plan an outdoor art night which would provide a space for performances. The festival as a whole was to be tied up by an app that would provide information about events and what art was where. However, as the situation changed due to tier 4 restrictions and a third national lockdown, we were forced to accept that no events in person could take place this term.

QAF2019 Launch Event: Drink and CreateFACEBOOK/QUEENS' ARTS FESTIVAL

This was hard given that so much of the joy of art is seeing it in person, and the joy of organising a festival like this is bringing people together to experience it. As a committee we had been contingency planning and had to hand access to virtual exhibition software by Animal Vegetable Mineral, so that we still had a platform to showcase the art. From the start, Emily and I had intended the festival to be more interactive and visible, so we had to think about ways that we could still reach out to people who were now spread across the country. We have planned to change the nature of our social media presence by using it as a means of easily-accessible display, but also to produce a zine that will allow people to experience the art (in an interactive way) at home.

Artwork showcased at QAF2020 MORE FUTURE!: 'A History of Sampans' by Cécile Ngọc Sương PerduCécile Ngọc Sương Perdu

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Mountain View

The Peterhouse Poetry Workshop, or how I started writing poetry for fun

Rather than cancelling the physical festival, we have decided to postpone it until the beginning of Easter term (if all goes well). It has been an incredibly frustrating time to organise a festival (or even our own lives) but we are lucky to have access to modes of presentation that can show work in ways otherwise not possible in Cambridge. I think that these might even be more engaging and more widely seen than what the festival has done before, and hopefully the festival will continue to explore these new avenues in years to come.

Submission deadline for digital exhibition (2D work, recorded performance, film, audio) is 13th February 2021 and for the physical exhibition, it is 21st March 2021. For further details please see Facebook and Instagram